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.

A Villa Courtyard Terrace is Decorated With Subtle Pool Furnishings

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 Round Glass Table Takes Center Stage In A Downstairs Dining Room

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?”

An Open Air Living Room Lighted By Solar Powered Candelabras

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

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.

A Lemon Tree Frames An Entryway To A Secluded 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 Swimming Pool Reflects the Vibrant Energy of A Subtle Courtyard Feature

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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Simple, Sophisticated Exterior

With sweeping verandas, wooden columns and a saline swimming pool, this two-story villa in Point Loma, Calif. becomes an idyllic retreat. The exterior is kept simple and neutral to highlight the lush landscape, while solar panels on the roof ensure that the home is eco-friendly.

Earth-Toned Living Room

Stepping inside, visitors will find a soothing, neutral-toned living room where plush wicker chairs allow for unwinding. Green accents pair with wooden features to bring elements of the outdoors inside, as well as breathe color into the white setting. 

Indoor Dining Room

Downstairs, a round glass-topped dining table and wicker-backed chairs wait at the ready for guests. A round chandelier accentuates the high ceilings, while a hand-carved wooden column adds texture and detail to the clean space. 

Marble Kitchen With Eat-In Counter

Powered by the solar-paneled roof, two pendant lights brighten this contemporary kitchen and help balance the large eat-in counter. Where the marble top adds movement and energy to the space, three wicker chairs ground the setting.

Symmetrical-Style Kitchen

A more detailed look at this vast kitchen island reveals storage below for wine and other party essentials. As the chef prepares dinner, guests can enjoy a front-row seat behind the counter. Identical container plants, branches and light fixtures tie the space together.

Outdoor Dining Room

With sunny skies to enjoy year-round, an outdoor dining area is ideal for entertaining in California. Here, a rustic table complements the nearby greenery, thus creating an easy flow between the indoors and out, while a modern fireplace warms the setting. 

Poolside Views

Just a few feet from the dining area, the saline pool glitters like crystal in the backyard. This allows some guests to converse over dinner while others swim at length; in turn, the home feels like an oasis where time moves at a leisurely pace. 

Open Air Living Room

For a truly immersive indoor-outdoor experience, broad French doors connect the pool to the living room. As natural light washes over the white walls, the transitional setting seems larger and airy, with plush furniture providing comfortable seating. 

Modern Fireplace

On either side of the fireplace, upholstered armchairs and ottomans evoke symmetry and balance. Purple throw pillows complement the hydrangeas on the coffee table and infuse the neutral room with warmth and color. 

Courtyard Cabana

At the edge of the saline pool, a modern cabana with weatherproof furniture provides shelter and shade from the afternoon sun. Carved pillars not only define the entryway, but also create a ripple-like reflection on the water.

Photo By: Shelley Metcalf

Secluded Seating Area

Flanking the cabana on either side, various lemon trees create a natural wall and so establish peace and privacy for the residents. Two wicker sofas allow for reading and lounging no matter what the weather. 

Split-Level Garden

Just beyond the sitting area, a split-level garden adds natural color and sound to the landscape. Three fountains in the middle of the wall have a calming effect on the setting while also keeping the plants hydrated. 

Photo By: Shelley Metcalf Photographer

Wooden Footbridge

To ensure maximum enjoyment of the backyard, a wooden footbridge crosses the private pond and into the garden. Fountains and trimmed hedges line the way, guiding visitors along their journey.

Photo By: Shelley Metcalf

Split-Level Garden Features Pergola

An eagle-eye view of this split-level garden reveals rolling green plants dotted with vibrant purple flowers. Sidewalks lead between the different sections toward the dark gray pergola, which provides a subtle contrast to the lush landscape. 

Innovative, Eye-Catching Pool

At night, this modern cabana transforms into a treat for the eyes, with the fire's glow dancing on the water. Because the residents keep the pool covered during the day, they both conserve water and keep it warm late into the evening. 

Photo By: Shelley Metcalf

Interior Illumination

Interior lighting from the villa and cabana casts a warm glow across the backyard, accentuating the home's serene nature. With the house on one side and the garden on the other, residents can relax in total privacy from their neighbors. 

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Bill Bocken

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