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It was off a tiny cul de sac of very nice but routine ranch styles in this South Bay neighborhood, lying undeveloped save for a horse corral long gone. It had been waiting just for them, they were sure. And when the Dexheimers decided to build about six years ago, they spent hours just sitting on the property with architect David Stark Wilson of Berkeley based WA Design envisioning, pondering, listening to the murmur of the creek.
"You couldn't just buy one like that," Wilson says, "so we weren't sure what to do at first. Lorilee and I stood there with paper mock ups to get the shape just right. Then we had everything rendered in 3 D."
Back downstairs, to the left around the blue wall is the dramatic dining area, plus the sitting room, media room and kitchen. A monolithic slab of black soapstone serves as the kitchen island. It could seem heavy and overwhelming, but the African mahogany cabinets supporting it set back from the edges of the slab provide a sense that the island is merely hovering above the floor. The stainless steel hood for the stove was specially designed and crafted curved to follow the arced ceiling.
Roof lines mirror the curves of a nearby creek at this modern South Bay home. (WA Design)
Wilson absorbed this inspiration, translating it into a structural homage to the natural surroundings. And from the curved driveway weaving around the oaks and the ribbon of red tile sweeping up the front path, to the arced ceilings and walls one a deep river blue ebbing and flowing through the space like a coursing current, every element of this modern masterpiece echoes some aspect of the land and the creek, whether in shape, texture or color.
"We wanted a really modern home, but we didn't want it to feel Omega Watches Seamaster Planet Ocean
Wilson's firm also designed the landscaping mostly drought tolerant grasses and lavender as well as pieces of garden sculpture scattered around the property, such as a striking wave of vertical steel rods, mirroring the shape of the creek. "It was a first for me," Wilson says, "to do something completely sculptural. But I might try it again."
Likely the most unusual element in the house is the closet in the master bedroom an imposing, black plaster, three level round tower just off the master bath resembling a massive oil drum. The concept was Lorilee Dexheimer's idea, and Wilson made Omega Seamaster Vintage Black
Contemporary stunner reflects its pastoral environment
"During construction, we had this part of the room all framed out with somewhat traditional square shapes," he says. "But Lorilee wanted something more interesting."
The kitchen of a modern South Bay home incorporates a massive slab of black soapstone as an island, and a custom curved range hood to mirror the curved ceiling. (WA Design)
Functional items have become works of art. The massive, bronze front door a collage of geometric shapes weighs about 500 pounds, Wilson says, but swings silently on specially designed hinges, opening up to the blue wave of the central wall. Off the curve to the right are the bedrooms for the Dexheimers' twin 18 year old sons and 12 year old soccer loving daughter. The master bedroom is up a flight of nearly invisible acrylic stairs, resembling a waterfall.
This modern "narrative of creek and land," as Wilson calls it, was completed in 2010. It's a four bedroom, 7,700 square foot structure that defies its Omega Seamaster Blue Dial Leather Strap
Each of the vaulted ceilings of the main living areas are fitted with a Omega Watch Seamaster Professional 007 bronze, backlit soffit, its riveted plates reminding the Dexheimers of an airplane wing. The soffits, though metal, have a glowing patina that surprisingly adds a more intimate feel to the otherwise cavernous rooms.
like we were in an operating room," Brian Dexheimer says. "So the fact that we used the soffits and we used wood for window frames it's still nice clean lines, but warmer."
own data measurements and rooms mean little, since windows from floor to the 18 foot ceilings pull the outdoors in. Pieces of the house are separated, but connected with glassed in walkways. "It's kind of a series of little pavilions," Wilson says. "We took the building and pulled it apart a little to maneuver around the oaks, to preserve them."
One look at the lot roughly two acres of gentle slope smudged with shade from old oaks and eucalyptus and bordered by a seasonally surging creek and Lorilee and Brian Dexheimer fell in love with the land.
"We call it the creek house," says Lorilee Dexheimer, an artist who had a hand in nearly every detail of the home, working closely with Wilson. "David was really mindful of where we put the house. He sat with us out here; we looked at the sun, the shape of the creek, the way it weaves around the property. It was a beautiful experience."
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