mahabis architecture // sustainable luxury in a californian ranch

This sustainable house in California (the West Marin Ranch), somehow carries us back to wagon trails and the prairies when the West was still the new frontier. As well as giving a sense of peace, optimism and freedom, this unique mini ranch is modern, sustainable and rather clever with a shell made from handsome Western red cedar and a corrugated zinc roof.

We think it is more of a farmhouse or barn style than a grand ranch, but we do love how it is both sprawling and cosy. 



Designed by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop and situated in Marin County, California, almost everything within the house is  sustainably sourced and highly energy efficient. The house is almost independent from the outside world with a net zero thanks to a remote photovoltaic system providing solar power. Other sustainable features include high R-value insulation, reclaimed wood floors, and zoned radiant heat with passive cooling. 



On the inside, with its lean soft wood panelling and lengths of cushioned benches along big bright windows, it's even more striking and inviting. Interior designer Jeannie Fraise  who is renowned for her fresh contemporary decor with warm vintage touches, kept the furnishing simple, natural and with the feel of country craft.

You'll also notice the old fashioned fireplace. We can imagine putting up our feet in the evening and toasting our slippers on cool starry nights.



The white wooden planks make a nice transition from the rest of the house to its heart- the kitchen. It seats up to 16 people comfortably for festive cooking sessions. Dotted around the complex is an array of bedrooms for guests to sleep over in, some include bunk beds suitable for kids big and small.



The house wraps around itself creating its own enclosed courtyard. This also serves the purpose of shading the insides from gully winds, and creating a still and stunning area to take a refreshing dip or read a book.



West Marin Ranch blends into the landscape and keeps the inhabitants almost hidden from the rest of the world in their own oasis. 

Turnbull Griffin Haesloop is an award-winning architecture firm, led by owner and architect Mary Griffin FAIA in San Francisco. They specialise in sustainable, site sensitive design for houses as well as wineries, churches, libraries and independent schools. Projects are rooted in their environment with a holistic approach to topography, microclimate, vegetation and solar orientation. 

For more of their work see their website at


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