The Sea Ranch’s Iconic Homes Are Now Available to Rent

The recently restored Sea Ranch Lodge unveils a portfolio of pristine rental homes by acclaimed architects, allowing guests to experience the property’s windswept coastline and ethos of “participatory conservation” firsthand.

Redwood Rise, a home available for rent as part of Sea Ranch Living. Image courtesy of the Sea Ranch

Overlooking the windswept California coast three hours north of San Francisco is the breathtaking Sea Ranch, envisioned nearly six decades ago as a community undergirded by the sole purpose of living with—not against—the landscape. Seeking to eschew the state’s fixation on sprawl, architect-turned-developer Al Boeke instead situated more than 2,000 quaint Modernist homes across a 5,200-acre site that once housed a cattle ranch and the Kashaya Pomo peoples. The modest abodes have small footprints, coalesce with the wooded environs, and offer weekend escapes for people of all walks.

Boeke enlisted Charles Moore, Donlyn Lyndon, William Turnbull, and Richard Whitaker of preeminent Bay Area firm MLTW to envision the initial batch of structures, whose slanted rooflines and shingled wood siding camouflaged them among sublime cypress hedgerows and rolling redwoods. “The Sea Ranch is made of buildings that become part of the landscape rather than dominate it,” Lyndon once said. “[They] have something to do with each other rather than being individual, show-off structures.”

Whitetail. Image courtesy of the Sea Ranch

Some are among the seven properties available to rent through Sea Ranch Living, a new portfolio of private homes on the site. The offering lets guests stay overnight in architectural masterpieces like MLTW’s historic Hines House and newer homes by Don Jacobs and Obie Bowman. 

Besides picturesque ocean views and personalized concierge services, guests will have access to the Sea Ranch’s bevy of amenities, such as a golf course and solarium. That also includes all the public spaces at the Sea Ranch Lodge—the on-site hotel recently restored to its original splendor by Mithun Architects and interior designer Charles de Lisle—as well as spa treatments courtesy of Healing Arts Gualala and in-room dining by executive chef Eric Piacentine. Not to mention loyal refreshes of Barbara Stauffacher Solomon’s joyful, large-scale Supergraphics, a veritable reason to visit Sea Ranch in its own right.

Tarp House. Image courtesy of the Sea Ranch

When the Sea Ranch Lodge reopened after its revamp, critics questioned if the coastal enclave could uphold Boeke’s utopian ideal of “participatory conservation.” Political snags and financial woes in the late ‘60s diverted the property away from that founding ethos and toward exclusivity (i.e. profitability), its skyrocketing prices out of reach for most. With rental homes starting at $600 per night, Sea Ranch Living likely won’t do much to address that. But a lucky few visitors can experience Boeke’s vision every night—and keep his dream alive. Here’s to hoping the homes don’t get completely trashed by unruly renters.

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