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Hollins Estate House,
Santa Cruz, CA

In 1931, noted golfer-turned-developer Marion Hollins retained Berkeley architect W.W. Wurster to design her home. This would be the first of many homes eventually defining her great contribution to the Northern California architectural tradition, the Pasatiempo Estates. Our own commission resulted from the decision of her successors to split the original Hollins property into an upper and lower lot. The upper associated with the original home, and the lower made available for Pasatiempo House.

Out of deep respect for this rich context, we designed the exterior massing and detailing of this house to be serenely understated—a composed interplay of wood siding, white plaster, and glass—materials sympathetic and responsive to that great contextual precedent nearby. The house steps nimbly down an oak-covered slope, resulting in a “split-level” of not two, but four major levels. In doing so, the house successfully engages with the slope, flows down it in low profile.

This simple exterior belies the drama inside, where the visitor encounters a carefully orchestrated interlocking of spaces with lofty volumes and dramatic overlooks. A rich and complementary palette of finish materials—white textured walls with clear Douglas fir trim, wood and stainless steel guardrails, clear maple cabinetry with black lacquer wood trim, and stone tile kitchen tops—completes this composition.

Pasatiempo House, inspired by the heritage left behind by Marion Hollins and William Wurster,  is enriched by, and succeeds as a design because of, wholesome respect for that rich legacy.

“When a hillside is given to me on which to place a house,
I embrace it and do not long for a meadow”—W.W. Wurster

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