Newport Beach, California
Architect/Designer | Brandon Architects
Builder | Legacy CDM
Landscape Architect/Designer | David A. Pedersen, Inc.
Interior Designer | Hawk & Co.
Photographers | Chad Mellon | Manolo Langis
The Signal Residence is a modern interpretation of French countryside manor architecture. Located in the neighborhoods above Newport Beach, a fundamental challenge became how to site and mass the building such that it could draw inspiration from the bold forms found in French design while not feeling out of scale and cumbersome on the compact site.
The configuration of the main living spaces and the connections with the open space in the backyard was the initial design challenge to overcome. A concept was devised such that the areas surrounding the rear yard should feel like a series of additions added onto an older, existing home. The language for the “existing” home became a two-story structure clad in white stucco, capped with simple gable forms and metal roofs. This became the base design language to which contemporary additions could be added.
The focal point of the home is a wood clad “addition” that functions as the great room. This room is surrounded by 10-foot glass pocket doors connecting the interior space with the lawn, pool and adjacent courtyards. Additionally, the space features 21-foot vaulted ceilings with exposed wood trusses that frame a series of clerestory windows between the structural elements. The ample glass and extra height allow the primary living spaces to be fully daylit and minimize energy use, while providing a spectacular and unexpected architectural moment for guests.
Additionally, a small guest house was included that borrows the same gable forms as the “existing” home while using an earth-toned stone block reminiscent of traditional French building construction. The guest house is connected to the main house by a contemporary glass “bridge” element that functions as the dining room. The assemblage of these various “additions” creates an interesting narrative for how the home could have been built over many generations while simultaneously breaking down the overall mass of the building to a more intimate scale.
Playing off the design language developed in the rear, the front elevation uses two simplified but strong gables to bookend an entry courtyard. The entry door sits recessed between the gable forms within a post-and-beam system of stained wood infilled with steel and glass windows to create a sophisticated and private entry sequence. The elevation sits proud and inviting without dominating the adjacent homes in the community.
The interior design is heavily influenced by the exterior design and material choices. Stone blocks have been utilized throughout the interiors as accent walls. Stained wood beams are splayed across the double height ceiling of the foyer. A rounded, wood paneled staircase was crafted to elegantly contrast the clean, straight lines of the architecture.
All these elements combine to form a contemporary, tactful, and refreshing home that maximizes the compact site constraints and enables outdoor, healthy living.