It’s like living a bit outdoors,” says Jim Bruner about the Territorial-style home he built in North Davis Farms. Designed by JSW/D Architects of Berkeley, the house has a corrugated roof with deep overhangs that provide much-needed shade on hot Central Valley days. Inside, doors and windows swing wide open to capture cooling Delta breezes and offer floor-to-ceiling views of the landscape. “Even when I’m shaving in the morning, I can see the turkeys and pheasants going by,” Bruner says, explaining that the design is a traditional takeoff on homes built in western Texas, New Mexico and Colorado and then adapted for California during the 19th century.
One of the home’s most striking interior spaces is a window- and door-lined great room, with a fireplace at one end and the kitchen at the other. To blend a sophisticated look with a hefty dose of utility, Elma Gardner of By Design in Davis specified concrete counters, custom-designed cabinetry, frosted glass, stainless steel appliances and storage everywhere. Whatever you need to cook, serve, eat or entertain is close at hand but tidily stowed out of sight. In fact, the kitchen has no overhead cabinets at all because Bruner wanted—guess what—windows. “Jim has wonderful ideas of his own and is also extremely open-minded,” says Gardner, a certified interior, bath and kitchen designer. “You get instant feedback so you don’t have to be afraid to come up with something out of the ordinary. He will give everything complete consideration. And that’s one of the reasons this house is so special.”
Could you get any closer to a sleeping-outside experience than bedroom doors that slide open to the pool? “It’s a great house in any climate, but when it gets warm, it’s so pleasant to come home from work, sit out there, plop in the pool or grab a beer, do some reading or do nothing,” Bruner says.
And when running into the house from the pool, it’s great not to worry about what you’re tracking in on your feet. Concrete floors were the answer, though no one could predict exactly what they were going to look like. “It really was a leap of faith,” Gardner says. Bruner explains: “When the concrete is drying, they put a machine on it that has a blade, kind of like a fan, and it’s the polishing that brought up swirls of the darker charcoal color. It was an experiment. A really big experiment.” One that went with the territory.