Dixon Home – Occidental, CA (Sonoma county)

by Doug Murray on May 3, 2011


Bob Dixon, is a tall man, 6 feet- 7 inches, who is forced to duck under normal height doors. His wife is also tall. Bob wanted something unique for their quiet, private, 10 acre site on a western facing slope in the coastal hills.

“It occurred to me the redwood ‘fairy rings’ could be the basis for the plan of the house design.”

A notable feature of the site are some stately second growth redwood tree “fairy ring” clusters encircling the original first growth “mother” tree that was logged at the turn of the century. In discussing the first preliminary design, Bob mentioned he liked the iconic Sydney Opera House. Returning to the drawing board, it occurred to me that the redwood “fairy rings” could be the basis for the plan of the house design.

As can be seen in the circulation drawings and model, the design of the house became a cluster of tall towers gathered around a central space with an open circulation flow pattern. The window wall of each tower structure has its roof angled skyward, mimicking the Sydney Opera House forms. This custom architectural feature captures a view of the towering trees rather than restricting one’s line of sight to just a view of the tree trunks.

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