Eco Refuge - Ecological Architecture Surrounded by Nature


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About listing

Designed and built in the 1970s by renowned ecological architect and author Sim Van der Ryn and renovated in the 1990s, the Eco Refuge's 4,000-square-foot, three-story house—a traditional pole barn with attached Japanese-style pavilion—includes three bedrooms 3.5 baths, along with additional, informal sleeping areas. In all, the house sleeps 6 to 8 adults comfortably.    The house's ground floor comprises a yoga/exercise/massage space; one bedroom with queen bed and en-suite shower-only bath, and a 1,000-square-foot open kitchen/den/dining area/TV nook, a room that's ideal for dinner parties and talks and gatherings, with an operable window wall that seamlessly merges it with a large outdoor terrace overlooking a pond, water elements, and the forest.  There is a new pullout sofa bed as well as an alcove bed in this living area, ideal for kids & young adults, with a half-bath directly adjacent.  The ground floor bedroom is nice and dark and tucked away, with the feel of a library. The house's second floor features another living room with a work corner/desk, all of it wrapped in windows with vistas of the gardens, and an additional bedroom with en-suite bath (with tub) featuring a sold cedar wood sink.  The second level bedroom also features a Queen bed, from which you can look out the window, across the property to the treeline. A spiral stair in the living room concludes at the house's third floor, the master suite, with a Cal-King bed and full bath with clawfoot tub.  Windows on all four sides of the suite look out across the gardens with hypnotizing views on all sides.  A very nice view to greet you when you awake. Along with being Wi-Fi equipped, each room displays Van der Ryn's own paintings and other art collected over 40 years, and the house includes his personal multi-thousand-volume architecture and ecology book collection.  Guests enjoy our linens from Coyuchi and Cuddledown; quilts and blankets are from travels in India and Europe.

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Reviews (2)

  1. Aaron E.
    Such a unique property, a very special place. We loved the tranquility and relaxed atmosphere. The owner, Sim, lives just down the drive, and was around to share some amazing stories about how he built the home (he was a professor of architecture at Berkeley) with students, then there were Tibetan monks involved at one point. We loved the layout, so inviting and flowing. Grilling oysters outside while being surrounded by nature was just what the doctor ordered. By far the coolest vacation rental we've stayed at. We'll be back! 11 July 2016 - 14:24:06
  2. David B.
    This is a magnificent, rambling home, delightfully complex, and filled with surprises. The atmosphere is so attractive that, in the 4 days of our stay, we rarely ventured out to hike or beach comb. Our two daughters and their SOs joined us for our anniversary. Each couple had a lovely, slightly quirky room with private bath. The many conversation areas, excellent hot tub, garden and fruiting trees, bocce court, etc. were a continuous enticement to lounge in elegant comfort. Probably the finest feature of our stay was meeting Sim (the owner and architect) and Eden who live in the house nearby. Sim is a huggable person, overflowing with remarkable stories and knowledge. We will treasure our stay. 07 October 2016 - 03:30:59

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