Magazine article Sunset

The Fab Life

Magazine article Sunset

The Fab Life

Article excerpt

while visiting New Zealand with their three kids, Grant and Shaya Kirkpatrick fell in love with what the locals call the bach lifestyle. "We'd see Kiwis pack up their car, throw a kayak on the roof, and head out to a rural cottage to spend the weekend," says Grant. "It was a big inspiration." So when they returned to their home in Los Angeles, they started seeking out their own get-away-from-it-all space- and found it on a 30-acre lakeside parcel of golden grass and stately oaks near Paso Robles, California.

The landscape was so pristine that the couple couldn't imagine tractors and bulldozers wreaking havoc on it. Consequently, Grant, who's an architect (kaadesigngroup. com), designed a low-slung, 1,000-square-foot prefab dwelling inspired by Cliff May's iconic ranch houses. Constructed from redwood and Cor-ten corrugated steel-materials that blend in with the landscape-the home was partly assembled ahead of time to minimize construction on the property. "This cabin has the lightest touch on the land," says Shaya, who helped found nonprofit environmental organization Grades of Green. Two years later, the couple added a second entirely prefab structure on the property to make room for guests.

Since 2005, Split Rock Ranch, as the Kirkpatricks call it, has been a beloved gathering spot (kids Jack, Ryan, and Allie are now 22, 19, and 16, respectively). Weekends are spent hanging out by the lake and playing board games; the Kirkpatricks also host an annual friends-and-family Olympics, complete with vineyard dash and paddleboard race.

Next year, Split Rock will surpass its humble beginnings with a full array of solar panels, taking the homestead- which already has its own groundwater supply and septic system-completely off the grid. "We feel a real sense of accomplishment here," says Grant. "But we realize that much of that came from the ability to appreciate the serenity."


Maximizing the views-and increasing their usable living space-were top priorities for Grant and Shaya (left) as they dreamed up their pair of prefab homes. Made of untreated, naturally decay-resistant redwood, a wraparound boardwalk and three large decks add approximately 800 square feet of space to the main house (above). The decks are furnished with weatherproof pieces made of nautical rope. Horn prefab structures, homlife style. …

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