a grass-covered, off-grid guest house cantilevers over california's pacific coast

a grass-covered, off-grid guest house cantilevers over california's pacific coast

sustainable architecture by anacapa and wilLson design


Overlooking the untouched wilderness of California‘s Central Coast, a newly completed Off-Grid Guest House stands with architecture by ANACAPA in collaboration with Willson Design. The project is driven by the spirit of sustainability and ecological preservation — proudly and respectfully occupying a wildlife preserve, the team showcases a sensitive dialogue between residential development and the natural environment.


The architects’ main objective was to safeguard and protect the surrounding natural environment. Located in one of California’s last remaining undeveloped coastal areas, the 1,800-square-foot guest house minimizes its visual and environmental impact on the landscape. It is tucked into a steep hillside and is shaped by a low profile and a green roof, integrating into the terrain while offering panoramic views of the rolling hills and Pacific Ocean beyond.

off-grid ANACAPAimages © Erin Feinblatt@erinfeinblatt



a ‘glass peninsula’ that blends with wild nature


With their Off-Grid Guest House, ANACAPA Architecture and Willson Design obscure the boundary between built and unbuilt space. Like a ‘glass peninsula,’ the interiors are wrapped in three-way operable glass walls to invite the beauty of the ocean and canyon inside, creating a sweeping frame of wild nature. The guest house is constructed using elemental materials such as steel, concrete, and glass, and is designed to weather and patina naturally over time. Rich walnut accents, custom fixtures, and furnishings add warmth and character to the space, further enhancing the feeling of harmony with the natural environment.


Since the structure is located on a ridge top, it’s visible from a distance,’ says architect Dan Weber, explaining the design philosophy.We didn’t want it to stand out or draw attention. We aimed for it to have the smallest possible impact on the natural environment and improve the ecological integrity of the property rather than degrade it further.’

off-grid ANACAPAthe home respectfully occupies a wildlife preserve in Central Coast, California



completely off-grid living at the coastal guest house


Both the guest house and the owner’s nearby main residence are entirely off-grid, owing to the remote location with no access to electricity. The Off-Grid Guest House is powered entirely by a photovoltaic energy system, harnessing the sun’s energy to meet its power needs. In addition, the house features LED lighting and low-usage appliances, carefully selected to reduce energy demands and overall consumption.


For water supply, the home relies on a private well and water treatment system, while wastewater is directed to a septic tank and dry well. To regulate interior temperatures sustainably, the house incorporates a combination of radiant floor heating, cross ventilation from the abundance of operable sliding glass, and an insulating green roof. The green roof not only helps the home blend into its natural surroundings but also contributes to water conservation.

off-grid ANACAPA
interiors open out to sweeping views of untouched natureoff-grid ANACAPA off-grid ANACAPA
walnut accents, custom fixtures, and furnishings add warmth and character to the space


the remote location has no access to electricity

off-grid ANACAPA
interiors are conditioned by a combination of radiant floor heating, cross ventilation, and an insulating green roof


materials such as steel, concrete, and glass are designed to weather and patina naturally over time



project info:


project title: Off-Grid Guest House

architecture: ANACAPA Architecture@anacapa_architecture

collaborator: Willson Design @willsondesign_

location: Central Coast, California

ANACAPA design team: Dan Weber, Architect

interior design: Jessica Helgerson Interior Design@jinteriordesign

general contractor: Curtis Homes | @curtishomessb

landscape designer: Danielle Gaston

structural engineer: Ashley & Vance Engineering | @ashleyvanceengineering

civil engineer: Braun & Associates

photography: © Erin Feinblatt@erinfeinblatt

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