A rectangle on end on the Great Highway

Sometimes it doesn’t have to be on the market to catch our eye. We’ve known about this beach house designed in 1950 by Ernest Born for quite some time (we have a surfer in the house), and also known about its pending publicity in Dwell Magazine, and NY Times, but we kept our lips sealed.  But now, the cat is out of the bag, so Duggo, here you go, this post is for you.


The present owner, Tom Lloyd-Butler, first spotted the place after a day riding 20-foot waves on the far side of that road, called the Great Highway. “I was changing, and I looked up and saw this tiny ‘For Sale’ sign,” he recalls. “It was totally different from any other house at the beach…

Like Cosimo in Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees, the [local] architects perched in the branches of the cypresses and pines, observing where the canopy was dense and where it was porous, noting various perspectives and view corridors to the ocean. Then they came down again and, removing only one tree in the process, planted a three-story, 24-by-24-foot steel-sheathed glass pavilion next to the house, tethering it by means of a translucent bridge connected at the second stories.

We were sold even before this article ran…now we get a look inside, and we’re wondering when it will sell again, so one of our readers can buy it and throw a huge Indian Summer beach party for all of us…we’ll bring the limes. 

(More photos in the magazine.  You might want to pick one up.)

Highway Hideaway [Dwell]

Aidlin Darling Design [website]

-(Photos: Aidlin Darling Design and Dwell Magazine)

5 thoughts on “A rectangle on end on the Great Highway

  1. This is a great example of what logical, elegant modernism is all about. No pretense. No silly architectural tricks trying to mimic Victorian. No tricks trying to be a Mc-mansion.

    It’s using simple materials in an honest way, exposed rather than hiding them. There is no superfluous trim.

    Of course, our illustrious SF planning department can barely deal with good design such as this.

    This is architecture that uplifts the spirit. Now I dont want to hear any talk about flipping this and making an obscene profit. leave it alone.

  2. Sorry guys, its not for sale, but thanks for the interest.

    Its a wonderful house, in a part of the city which most San Franciscans turn their back on…but being from Southern California, I saw it differently.

    You’re right too about the un mcmansion…its a house which is understated, and reserved, and AD got that right when they added 1800 square feet to it too…they got the scale, and the purpose of the addition right.

    [Editor’s note: If not for sale, can we at least stash a few spare boards in your yard for da big days!? Thanks for checking us out. Great choice on the Architects.]

  3. Wow! I’ve always admired this house and wished to live in a place like this. I’m surprised that there is a blog with pictures of it! :) It’s a beautiful home!


  4. it’s beautiful! something tells me they have a few patio heaters out back to use all that space however. but beautiful none the less.

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