Sea Ranch Gone Adrift? - Page 2

Price cut to historic Turnbull home poses question of seaside community’s market
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
Hines House historical images, 1960s.

Furthermore, she said of the home's place in the community, "There are very few properties that have retained the original design [integrity]. In that way, I think it's really important."

Then how, with all this physical beauty and iconic mid-century modern credibility, can she explain initial interest in the property last spring having faded come summer? For another perspective, we asked architect Geoff Campen of Klopf Architecture, the San Francisco-based architectural firm, who is investing in Sea Ranch in his own way, building a new two-bed home of his own design there.

"Usually the more architecturally inspired ones [like the Hines House] go a little bit quicker," he observed of the Hines' prolonged stay on the market. Asked if he concludes that the allure of Sea Ranch is dimming, Campen demurred: "I don't think so. I've kind of kept up [with home sales] on Redfin."

Posed the same question, Gafni said the remoteness of the community is an issue for some, as well as the slower-than-freeway speeds necessitated by windy, coastal Highway 1. "People say, 'Oh, I've heard of Sea Ranch,' but they really don't get it," she said. "You kind of need to get up there and see how beautiful it is."

Campen and his architect wife, Diana Ruiz, will keep their rental in San Francisco, where they anticipate staying during the workweek after their new Sea Ranch home is completed later this year.

"Otherwise, that would be painful," he acknowledged of the 100-mile commute. Still, they are "really looking forward to getting up there."

"We love the city and we've lived here a long time…but we also like hiking," he said of the lifestyle change, relishing "the quiet, less traffic, less city life" with anticipation of "getting away a little more often."

Campen said his project is one of a few new builds right now in Sea Ranch. He also speculated that the Hines House may be a bit overpriced, pointing out that $2M or a little below is typical. "But [even the Hines House reduced price of] $2.275M is on the high end for Sea Ranch," he said.

For Campen and Ruiz, the lure of city life and its conveniences are balanced by the location and wonderful seaside architecture by MLTW and others. "I just like the ideas they've come up with there," Campen said of Sea Ranch. "For an architect, it's very architectural."