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Grace Boudewyns

Better Know an L|F Project: Yee Residence

Posted by on 9/6/13 at 02:28pm

Conceived as a modern farm complex in northern California, the Yee Residence is designed to maximize both views and breezes. Structures are independent of the main barn to accentuate a farm-like complex. Different buildings, and a dry stacked-stone wall, form a sanctuary within a landscape of rolling hills and oak groves.


Answers by Karla Greer

The Story:  Sarah and Jason Yee started this process before they were married by purchasing an incredible site in the Santa Lucia Preserve, a 20,000 acre development located in Carmel Valley, California. The Preserve is managed by Santa Lucia Conservancy, which has provided an innovative model for sustainable development and conservation of private lands.

Project Team:   Karla Greer, Ted Flato, Tobin Smith, Trey Rabke,
LF Scope:  Concept, DD, CD, CA
Year Completed2007
Most Valuable Consultant:  Structural, Datum Engineers

Program:  The program included a great room with emphasis on the kitchen as the heart of the house, a generous outdoor entertainment area, library/dining room, 3 (future) children’s rooms, master bedroom, and a pool cabana/guest room, small office and 3 car garage.  Several dreams came true over the next few years, including the addition of two lively boys.




The Crux:   The design inspiration came from the modest, rural, vernacular buildings and compounds of the early California farms and ranches. The goal was to lightly and peacefully occupy the open, rolling, grassy landscape.

Interesting Material:  While we have experimented with other rusting metals, this metal is really from Cor-ten, which is designed to “heal” and stop the rusting process.

Favorite Detail:  The outdoor entertainment arbor feels like the ideal outdoor room that we always strive for.  The views are great in several directions and the relationship of the kitchen/living with the large rolling doors that open to the arbor is perfect (see above).




If I Could Change One Thing:  Energy! While completely passive in its design so that A/C  is not required, this project was completed before photovoltaics became a viable source of electricity. Given the very high electricity costs in California this would now make for a rapid payback.

Project Update! Sarah and Jason sold their house in June. LF has helped them select a new piece of property in the Santa Lucia Preserve. With two boys in school, living closer to the front gate and having access to flatter land for playing fields was a goal. Sarah has fully embraced sustainable/healthy concepts and organic gardening, so a huge emphasis will be on the careful selection of materials and in the creation of edible gardens. Jason’s goal is to work towards a Net Zero project.



2012 – Dwell (Oct)
2009 – New York Times (Mar 5)