I revisited a home that I first photographed over 32 years ago to make new photographs, and I was struck how the timeless design has endured.

The home is located in Springville, California, a community of fewer than a thousand people in the Sierra foothills of southern Tulare County on wooded ranchland with mature oaks. An art museum is planning an exhibit on the work of noted architect Arthur Dyson, AIA. Dyson is recognized for his original organic designs, meaning a building that ties in to the contours, vegetation, character, and materials of the land on which the building is sited.

Admirers of Dyson’s work love the jutting cantilevered overhangs, the views captured by the windows, the connections to outdoor living, solar performance, and the surprises in angles and forms. All these can be found in this home.

It’s a surprisingly compact home, given there is a three-car garage needed for its function as a home on a ranch. A low overhang shades the entrance to the left of the garages, and the floor plan is semi-open. Numerous doors open from the living area lead to outdoor living spaces, which are partially shielded for the evening gusts as the foothill air exchanges. The inclusion of the kitchen in the open plan was unusual for the period of time when the home was designed, and the openness makes the home feel much more recent. A beam support has open shelves to lessen any visual obstruction.

The kitchen redesign was part of a big upgrade the new homeowners lovingly undertook with interior designer Roseanne Guaglianone, owner of Hemisphere Furniture & Interior Design Studio in Fresno, California. The upstairs family area coordinated the updated furniture with the colors of the natural stone and wood particularly well. Guaglianone has a knack for finding dramatic furniture that is exceptionally comfortable.

The master bedroom is adjacent to the family room and located over the three garages like a treetop longhouse, and Guaglianone’s approached the design by maintaining an airy spaciousness. The reclining chairs are a favorite a reading space on rainy days, but in sunny weather, you can find the homeowners outside.  The master bathtub set on the black stone floor is one of my favorite bathtubs. With a skeleton steel frame and mitered glass ceiling, I wonder if looking up from the tub into the trees might feel a little like a baby bird in a nest.

I included the last bathroom, which is located downstairs by the guestroom because it seemed like such a design challenge for an update given the starting point of stained concrete floors and the extensive tile work. It reminded me of a game where one person makes a mark and the next completes it into a picture. 

I am looking forward to the exhibition and the accompanying book on Dyson’s work, and this is just a sneak preview.

photos and words by: Scot Zimmerman

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