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Exclusive Film | Saddle Peak Residence by Sant Architects

Taking its post atop a ridge on the coast of Topanga, California, a secluded home echoes the rugged beauty of its natural surroundings.

Tucked away in the Santa Monica Mountains, with unobstructed views stretching across the Pacific Ocean, Saddle Peak House was originally designed by architect Michael Sant of the eponymous Californian studio as his own personal retreat. Shortly thereafter, LA-based film producer and design enthusiast Goktug Sarioz purchased the home and opened its doors to the public, offering a destination where people could come and appreciate the role of architecture in deepening our connection to nature. “Why create beautiful architecture if not to share it?” Goktug says.

To access Saddle Peak, located just 30 minutes from Santa Monica, one meanders through a series of winding canyons, ascending to the 2,500-feet-high ridge where the home is perched. “The journey up to Saddle Peak is in itself very special,” Goktug says. “As soon as you turn the corner into the property, you are enveloped in this feeling of seclusion and silence.”

The interior spaces integrate seamlessly with the outdoors through spectacular views and thoughtful material selections.

The home features VOLA tapware throughout, including in the kitchen, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

The architecture explores several contrasting relationships – heavy versus light, transparent versus opaque, rooted versus floating – that together create a sense of balance akin to that found in nature. One side of the L-shaped house overlooks the Pacific Ocean, while the other takes in the massive rock formations reflected together with the sky above in the infinityedge pool. Externally, the interplay of concrete, glass, steel and solid Garapa wood harmonises with the site’s topography, integrating the building into the landscape. “The home evokes the natural essence of California – the beauty of the mountain ranges against the sea,” Goktug says.

Internally, the material selections create a surprisingly intimate atmosphere amid the expansive backdrop of the mountains. Concrete walls frame full-height sliding doors, forming open, light-filled spaces that fade into the outdoors. “You become totally immersed in the California landscape, with the outside world swirling around you,” Goktug says.

 

The furnishings are sourced from all over the world, chosen not only to complement the architecture and landscape, but also to reinforce the home’s design integrity, with iconic mid-century designers such as Hans Wegner and Jasper Morrison among them. Meticulous attention has also been paid to the details within the home, such as the concealing of all plugs and switches to help minimise distraction and encourage guests to completely disconnect. 

At Saddle Peak, one has the privilege of having a heightened awareness of what’s happening around them – the sounds of the birds as they stop to drink from the pool, the temperature of the air as the day grows older, the shifting hues of the sky as the sun slowly rolls overhead, and the smells of the native plants as the breeze passes through. “There’s nothing more restorative than being in a place like this,” Goktug says.

This feature originally appeared in est magazine issue 52: The Nature of Design.

e15 Backenzahn ST034 Stool
e15 ch04 Houdini Dining Chair

The L-shaped house embraces a courtyard planted with native flora and an infinity-edge pool – a feature that enhances the building’s sense of ‘fading’ into the landscape. Inside, Goktug’s keen eye for mid-century design manifests in the Backenzahn™ stool by Philipp Mainzer for e15, Model GE-375 lounge chair by Hans Wegner for Getama, FortyForty side table by Ferdinand Kramer for e15, Glo-Ball floor lamp by Jasper Morrison for Flos and Houdini side chair by Stefan Diez for e15.

The interplay of concrete, glass, steel and solid Garapa wood harmonises with the desert-like terrain, integrating the building into the landscape.

Perched atop a ridge, Saddle Peak House provides a rare glimpse of California’s Channel Islands. At sunset, its striking silhouette becomes almost as formidable as that of the neighbouring mountains.

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