Modern Meets Japanese Farmhouse

La Jolla Shores 2012

This custom home is situated on a small, infill lot one block from the destination beach of La Jolla Shores, in an upscale neighborhood known for its restrictive zoning ordinance and subjective design guidelines.

Our clients’ programmatic aspirations required an architectural balance between maximizing livable space (both interior and exterior) and minimizing the apparent massing (making a big house look small), while combining the aesthetics of Japanese and Modern.

The structural post-and-lintel construction is inspired by the interior framework of a traditional Japanese farmhouse. The street exterior is defined by white rectangular planes and forms, articulated and divided to reduce the massing, floating atop a heavy base of wood and stone. Large gliding doors and windows reference proportions found in shoji screens, sliding away to connect the exterior to the fountain, gardens, and ocean views. This lack of separation between inside and out is strong in Japanese buildings, as in Southern California, making the structure, to a certain extent, part of the environment.

The wood stairway, a floating abstraction of a stepped tansu cabinet abuts, yet is separated from, a stone wall and is lit from above by clerestory windows bringing light to both levels.


The dining room is designed as an outdoor eating pavilion, supported at each corner by a triad of reclaimed, centuries-old posts, which converts to an interior formal dining room during inclement weather.


Well-proportioned forms of natural materials including wood, stone, plaster, glass, and water bring a relaxed, serene environment to an otherwise bustling beach neighborhood.

Typology Residential
Location La Jolla Shores, La Jolla, California
Status Completed
Date 2012


Architect DuCharme Architecture
Contractor Wardell Builders
Structural Engineer SDSE
Interior Design McCormick & Wright



  • Riviera San Diego
  • San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyles