Sitting upon 12 acres of land along with a barn and a swimming pool, The William Wurster Ranch is a prime example of California Cool. Interior designer Charles De Lisle and architect Ian Moeller worked together to rework the original home and update it into a smart balance of retro and modern. Created as a summer home for a family of four from San Francisco, the ranch is all together sophisticated and fun. Architect Moeller decided on keeping the original Adobe walls but updated the design by juxtaposing clear cedar paneling on some interior walls and exposed cedar beams from the living room ceiling with concrete floors.
The interior is airy and spacious. Vintage pieces from France, Italy, and the U.S. share the space with custom pieces made by the designer. Earthy colors throughout the residence anchor the more whimsical pieces (a tear shaped bubble hangs above the kitchen table) to successfully tie it all together. Throughout the ranch there is a dynamic between the large empty areas of a room and the clusters of furniture placed purposefully in a corner or slightly off center. This “trick” gives the interior a true feeling of a family gathering place. The furniture itself starts to take on the shape of a small family cuddled together looking out onto the room. Interior designer De Iisle found pieces that further add character and history to these welcoming sitting areas; a Jean Prove card table, a French resin and amber table with butterflies and vintage wall sconces.
Judging by its design, the kitchen is meant to be the busiest room in the house or the central gathering place (as are the kitchens in most summer homes). A multi-colored tiled wall, the large island, the out of the ordinary-shaped table (custom built, solid Douglas fir) and funky chairs all provide for layers of fun. The kitchen extends itself to a lounge area on the other side of the room where one can “flop” themselves onto the vintage steel daybed after a delicious meal and rest their glass of wine on one of the natural wood side tables.
Perhaps the most striking work of art is that which sits above the dining room table. Made by De Iisle himself, it is a brass chandelier created “in the shape of a branch, made up of hand braised hexagonal brass tubing” which gives off a warm, glowing light. Glass doors open onto the garden where there is a giant concrete fire pit and large wooden lounge chairs that eagerly await story time.
Both the designer (De Iisle) and architect (Moeller) left their signatures on the William Wurster Ranch, but the most impressive element of all was their ability to tell a story. These two artists created a design that needed no words for an explanation, no speculation as to “why”. Their design flows and fills the room just enough, with only one ingredient missing that will complete it; the family of four to come and reside there.