California Villa Embraces Easygoing, Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

Captivated by the natural beauty of a neighborhood in Point Loma, Calif., architect Bill Bocken couldn’t resist purchasing a lot for himself. His vision for the land: build a sweeping, sustainable retreat that complemented its lush surroundings inside and out.

The archway terraces of a villa home overlooking a courtyard pool

A Villa Courtyard Terrace is Decorated With Subtle Pool Furnishings

The garden courtyard terrace of this Point Lorna, California, villa home is decorated with subtle pool furniture in neutral tones that complement the property's minimalist design and allow the natural surroundings of the lush garden, with its verdant floral and topiary features, to color to the space. Wicker chairs and chaise longues feature plush striped cushions which highlight the earth tones of the building's facade while blue umbrellas reflect the daytime sky and swimming pool below.

Photo by: Shelley Metcalf

Shelley Metcalf

In a Point Loma, Calif., neighborhood marked by towering pine trees and quaint, curbless roads, architect Bill Bocken envisioned building a quiet retreat for himself. Drawing on elements of the natural landscape, he designed a streamlined, sustainable villa that felt like a private oasis.

"The idea was to completely engulf the home in the landscape," Bocken explains. "I wanted the house to fit into this beautiful setting, as well as be responsible to it."

A vase of budding branches tops a round glass dining table

A Round Glass Table Takes Center Stage In A Downstairs Dining Room

The downstairs dining room of this Point Lorna, California, villa home capitalizes on its high ceilings with the use of tall budding branches which tower above a round aqua blue glass dining table. Cushioned dining chairs feature woven seat backs which complement the texture of the space's architectural details including the stair's railing, stone wall trimming, and an earth toned stone pillar.

Photo by: Shelley Metcalf

Shelley Metcalf

Taking cues from famed architect Irving Gill, whose designs consist of clean lines without embellishment, Bocken drafted a modern home with Spanish-style arches and deep-set windows.

Where the simple facade accentuates the complex beauty of the property, the arches and windows fill the home with natural light and encourage ventilation.

In turn, the home visually and physically complements the landscape, allowing for the seamless indoor-outdoor experience that Bocken desired.

“I’m from Hawaii originally, so I don’t understand how people in California can spend so much time inside,” the designer says. “When it’s seventy degrees and sunny, why wouldn’t you want to have all of your doors and windows open?”

A pair of plush sofas take center stage in an open air living room

An Open Air Living Room Lighted By Solar Powered Candelabras

The open air living room in this Point Lorna, California, villa home spills out toward a courtyard terrace. Plush sofas and wing back chairs dominate the interior, where seating is accented with plush lilac pillows to complement vases of flowers decorating a low marble coffee table. The cylindrical vases throughout the room complement modern solar-powered candelabras overhead.

Photo by: Shelley Metcalf

Shelley Metcalf

That philosophy shines best in the kitchen and connecting sitting room, where floor-to-ceiling glass doors open the home to the backyard. Comprising an entire wall, these panels help capture the natural light and balmy breezes outside. 

To further draw the outdoors inside, Bocken selected a color palette rich with earth tones, from shades of green and brown to deep violet hues reminiscent of wildflowers. In the living room, these accents pair with wood and wicker furniture to warm and enliven the white interior.

A living room highlighted by flowering branches and firewood

A Floral Painting and Firewood Complement A Villa Home's Gardens Through Interior Design

The living room of this Point Lorna, California, villa home features interior details which allow accents of the verdant courtyard gardens to carry throughout the house. Here the chartreuse of a floral painting complements the sun-lighted flowering branches framed by a window, while below, a fireplace is lined with firewood, its texture reflected in plush wicker lounge chairs decorated with soft teal pillows that match the greenery peeking inward through a glass door.

Photo by: Shelley Metcalf

Shelley Metcalf

The result is a soothing space that thoughtfully balances modern technology and design with the abundant beauty and serenity just outside. 

To keep the home comfortable without creating a large carbon footprint, Bocken looked to eco-friendly solutions, such as over-insulating the walls and using split-level heaters to warm indvidual rooms. He also added solar panels to the roof, which power the home and its cabana.

The branches of a lemon tree frame a garden courtyard terrace

A Lemon Tree Frames An Entryway To A Secluded Garden Courtyard Terrace

The garden courtyard terrace of this Point Lorna, California, villa home is made more secluded by the use of topiary, as the branches of a lemon tree frame a side entrance. Through the branches lies a pair of cushioned wicker sofas centered under a covered archway and facing a swimming pool lined with verdant shrubbery.

Photo by: Shelley Metcalf

Shelley Metcalf

The designer's thoughtful, environmentally focused approach led to similar solutions in the backyard. Rather than remove the lot's plants, Bocken incorporated them into his design, using trees and shrubs to create natural shade and privacy.

By building the home in an "L" shape, he also preserved an 80-year-old Torrey tree in the center of the property, which gives the lot an instant sense of history. 

Further, the split-level garden boasts a drip irrigation system, while the saline pool has an automated cover that actually helps to conserve water from morning to afternoon. 

"People always assume that a swimming pool is the worst in terms of water wasting," Bocken says. "If you keep it covered, though, that pool uses less water than a drought-tolerant garden." 

A courtyard fireplace is reflected in the swimming pool before it

A Swimming Pool Reflects the Vibrant Energy of A Subtle Courtyard Feature

A minimalist covered courtyard lounge reveals its intensely colorful interior when it's reflected by the swimming pool beneath it, revealing the warm glow of a lantern candelabra and a central fireplace otherwise contained by the room's pillared archway. In the background, a palm tree reveals a resemblance to the archway's textured pillars, demonstrating how the garden's topiary features carry through the property's architecture.

Photo by: Shelley Metcalf

Shelley Metcalf

Of the home's many noteworthy features, the architect reveals that his favorites are the hand-carved wooden columns in the cabana, which he designed himself. With intricate grooves, the cedar columns reflect wave-like patterns on the water, adding significant beauty to an already idyllic setting.

Together, these details create an oasis that both reflects and respects its environment, a slice of paradise that Bocken never imagined he’d part with.

“I wasn’t planning on selling it,” he says. “But a realtor friend was showing the house behind mine and wanted her clients to see what they could do with the size of the lot. They called the next day and said they wanted to buy my house instead.”

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Bill Bocken

Bill Bocken

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Bill Bocken AIA San Diego, CA 92106 619-260-1162