When I was in California recently, I caught up with one of our early clients, a couple who have slowly – but methodically – worked on their home since we started designing it in 1999. The abbreviated story goes something like this.
In the mid 80s Roger, a metal sculptor, and Carol, a business consultant, say farewell to their loft in San Francisco and buy some land on Merritt Island, south of Clarksburg, CA. They meet neighbors Carter & Dodi Sparks. Carter, they learn, is an architect. Liking the sensibility of Sparks’ regional mid-centry modernism, the Berrys plan to have Carter design a house for them, but Sparks’ life is cut short by a fatal stroke.
Two years later, over wine, the Berrys and Dodi get to talking about a house that Carter might have designed. Dodi suggests the Berrys talk to me, a native of Clarksburg and a sort of Carter’s-spirit-next-of-kin.
My training as a Sparks groupie started early; I grew up in a Sparks home a few miles from the Berry’s property, where he was a frequent guest at dinner and cocktail parties. I can remember him down on the rug in the entry hall playing Matchbox cars with me, dressed in something bright – an orange linen suit perhaps – with a martini expertly balanced on his knee. I lunched with him and my father sometimes during the summer; afterwards he’d show me the projects underway in his office. On Sparks’ recommendation, I studied at U. C. Berkeley as he had.
Interested by the coincidences, and my familiarity with the landscape, Carol and Roger contacted Locus in 1999. Shortly after, we began our collaboration. Organizing meetings around my visits to California, Locus spent five years working on design. Construction began in 2004, and continued for several years, with completion of the lap pool in 2008, and landscaping ongoing today.
Roger designed and built a number of custom pieces for the home in his studio across the driveway; the stair, 300-lb. cor-ten steel siding panels, chimney, and entry trellis were all built for the house on site.
After a dozen years of watching it come together, it’s one of my favorite project on an absolutely beautiful site for two extremely warm and talented people.
Check out Roger’s work at the link above, very thoughtful and exquisite work.