Playa Retreat - Summer Lake

This project was a collaboration with owner's who became friends through previous projects (Bill Roach and Julie Bryant). They dreamt of creating an artist retreat out of a rural inn on a special oasis at the edge of basin and range country, and I was happy to join them. We spent a year or so planning and designing the initial project for the significant site improvements and central commons building, caretaker's housing, and shop buildings. After construction was under way, we moved onto addressing additional buildings on site, in all constructing or rehabilitating 17 structures over the course of a busy two years.

Google Earth

The commons building is the heart of the project. It saved an old building that served as the central lodge, and added onto it substantially.

Fire-pit area toward lake with commons in background

Main entry w/ salvaged door and light fixtures from former inn

looking toward kitchen with loft above

loft railing inspired by wind-swept grass and rural fences

Raw Douglas Fir, pine, local stone, and metal are the predominant interior finishes. We used metals as the accents, adding patterns inspired by local petroglyphs and natural world motifs, welded into and cut out of steel flatbar.

This new shop--a hybrid steel pole barn--houses the main site infrastructure, including a generator for backup power and sun-drenched workspace.

The townhouses were part of the second phase of work, and we took a looser approach to them as artist-focused residences and studios.

Using metal parts we also created the townhouse railings carrying on from the ideas set up by the commons building.

Some interventions, such as in this live-work studio maintained even the purple carpet and shades, but we introduced a proper handrail and guardrail embellished with a variety of patterns and forms.

I recall after creating this wall sconce from an extra section of steel pipe that I was inspired to try a similar infill form in the guardrail section.

By this time we had our light fixture program down, and could quickly produce flatbar patterns featuring natural forms or petroglyph-inspired patterns.

We created a series of six light fixtures for the individual cabin entries based on the local flora. The owner's guided the initial concept, Jeem helped me sketch the forms, and I laid out and cut them into the steel boxes:

From top left (clockwise): Sugar Pine, Black Locust, Willow, Ash, Juniper, and Russian Olive.

Late in the project, after expanding and rehabilitating the pond we also built a bridge across it with juniper decking, bending fence posts for benches at its waypoints. It is a serene place to stop and appreciate the natural world from.

One of the last items built was the site fence with its wild juniper pickets, rock cairns and a main entry gate feature.

And the back gate

There is a nice story about the founders of this project on the retreat website: