2014 San Diego Modern Home Tour

Presenting the 2014 San Diego Modern Home Tour benefitting:

SDAF logo

and sponsored by:



DATE: Saturday, September 27, 2014
TIME: 11:00am – 5:00pm
COST: $30 Online in advance, $40 Day of
LOCATION: A link to the tour homes’ locations will be posted here
TRANSPORTATION: Self-driving, Self-paced

Modern Home Tours is coming to San Diego, CA for the second time!  In a city with historic downtown and close-in residential areas, as well as stunning oceanside hilltops, it’s no surprise that stunning contemporary design has become an integral part of the landscape.   Join us on September 27 as we return to sunny Southern California.

Advance tickets are on sale through FRIDAY, September 26 AT 8:00 PM for $30 each. Tickets purchased after that time MUST be purchased at any of the tour homes beginning at 11:00 am on September 27 for $40 each. Children 12 and under are free.

Tickets get you into all homes on the tour.

Advance tickets WILL NOT BE MAILED. You MUST pick up your advance tickets at any of the three WILL CALL locations on the day of the tour (September 27, 2014) beginning at 11:00 am. Will call locations will be announced as soon as the home lineup is finalized.


Featured Homes


2477 Presidio Dr., San Diego 92103 – WILL CALL LOCATION

Architects: Safdie Rabines Architects
Photography: Undine Prohl

Originally designed by Safdie Rabines Architects in 2004, this house is designed to maximize the views of San Diego Bay while responding to the steep canyon on which it is located. This is accomplished through the incorporation of a 35’ long light-filled atrium that acts as both a horizontal and vertical axis that connects all three levels of the house and engages the entry with the gardens below. A two-story family room nestled into the hillside opens out to terraced gardens while the living room, dining, and kitchen are situated above for maximum views. Located alone on the third level is the master bedroom graced with a gently curving roof that seems to float atop its glass walls. In addition, a guest house, pool house and gazebo cascade down the steep project site.

Safdie Rabines Architects was invited back by the property’s new owners in 2012 to update and customize the residence to better fit their lifestyle. Custom furnishings paired with bold colors and patterns are juxtaposed against the subdued interior finishes of stone floors and wood paneling. The old guest house was reconstructed to accommodate a rooftop deck and fire pit, creating additional outdoor living space.

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1710 Crespo Drive, La Jolla 92037 – WILL CALL LOCATION

Architect: Safdie Rabines Architects
Landscape Architect: Marcie Harris Landsape Architecture
Photography: Dennis Viera, Viera Photographics

This custom home is perched on a steep hillside site overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The clients’ only programmatic requirements were to consolidate all of the main living spaces onto one level, and to create a simple, restrained design that ultimately “paid homage” to the site. The width of the lot is perpendicular to the view, enabling the house to be completely oriented towards the ocean. The residence takes advantage of its difficult site by carefully stepping down the hillside to create indoor/outdoor terraces on each level with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The design uses a simple rectangular floor plate bisected by a diagonal wall running the length of the house. This wall pushes right up to the limits of the zoning envelope, allowing the main level to accommodate the owner’s spatial requirements while maximizing the views. The exterior space created by the diagonal is “captured” as a large outdoor terrace that effectively d oubles the size of the interior living space. A steel stair connecting the two levels is anchored by a two-story stone wall and lit by a large skylight. A muted palette of concrete floor tiles, plaster, stone, and walnut is used throughout the house, creating a serene space that defers to the surrounding context and provides a muted backdrop for the clients’ collection of art.


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Shayan House

3445 Ibis Street, San Diego, 92103

Design & Engineering: Nakhshab Development & Design – Soheil Nakhshab

Located in San Diego’s architecturally diverse Mission Hills neighborhood, the Shayan House was engineered, designed and built by Nakhshab Development and Design (NDD). An adept nod to mid-century modern architecture and design, the canyon home was created to house three generations of the Nakhshab family. The first LEED Certified Gold single family home in the city of San Diego, this dramatic modern home is built to ensure efficiency and sustainability as well as the comfort of its occupants, who range from 2 to 64 years old.

The Shayan House features custom amenities that highlight how building green can also be luxurious while both accentuating the home’s “classic modern” characteristics and accommodating multi-generational living. A sizable entertaining-and-living space walled by 13-foot high floor-to-ceiling windows showcases stunning canyon and city views. As the primary common area, the main floor is an open concept kitchen, living and outdoor space that takes full advantage of natural light, and beautifully blends the outdoors and the indoors. The home’s highly efficient thermal envelope includes state of the art formaldehyde-free insulation, a cool roof system, Low-E coated windows, and a design that is optimized for cross ventilation. On the roof, 21 photovoltaic solar panels supply the residence a 40% annual energy offset. Such sustainable materials as concrete flooring, used throughout Shayan House, and concrete block walls, as well as natural steel and wood elements, were incorporated to maintain the clean, modern design.

An engineering challenge because of its dramatically sloped canyon lot, the home utilizes a partially subterranean design NDD devised to avoid employing costly and more limiting traditional stilt construction techniques. The design allowed NDD to more affordably construct the home on a property that had sat for over 20 years because many considered it “unbuildable.” The site and building orientation were carefully studied to ensure maximum efficiency for passive ventilation, passive lighting, passive solar PV, and passive heating and cooling. Efficient design features also include architectural overhangs for shading, limited glazing on East and West-facing walls, and a South-facing flat roof area that maximized photovoltaic energy production.

This property gains unique advantages from both a reversed floor plan, and multiple living spaces designed to suit the varying needs of the Nakhshab family members. With multiple levels creatively built into the canyon, the home was designed with a cohesive floor plan that provides all residents sufficient privacy. Shared living spaces – the kitchen, dining room and living room – are located upstairs, while bedroom suites share the downstairs area with family and music rooms. Each of these has floor-to-ceiling windows as well as access to the outdoors, which makes the spaces simultaneously luminous, open and private. The spacious master bedroom is sized to accommodate a private and cozy “retreat” for the family’s eldest generation.

Originally from Iran, the Nakhshab family highly values maintaining and strengthening the cultural heritage passed from generation to generation. By housing three generations under one roof, not only can the Nakhshab family minimize such cost-of-living expenses as mortgage payments, utility bills and daycare, but they also can maintain strong cultural traditions.

Additional home features and materials include:
• A structure that was built to be 23.7% more energy efficient than required by California standards.
• 91% Energy Star-rated lighting package along with energy saving motion sensors in most rooms.
• Repurposed, refurbished and recycled mid-century modern furnishings throughout the home.
• Energy Star-rated appliances and low flow toilets and faucets.
• 100% drought tolerant landscaping planted with native species.
• Zoned HVAC system that uses non-HCFC refrigerants for maximized efficiency
• Tankless water heater and re-circulating plumbing system.
• Sustainable materials such as concrete flooring, concrete block walls, and 25% recycled content drywall.
• Low VOC paint throughout the house




Union 4

2430 Union St., San Diego, 92101

Design & Engineering: Nakhshab Development & Design – Soheil Nakhshab

Nakhshab Development and Design (NDD) has taken the innovative approach to single family multigenerational design they pioneered at the nationally noted Shayan House in San Diego, California and ingeniously applied it to multifamily dwellings. The newly completed Union 4 is a four unit development that beautifully unifies a restored and updated historic home with the addition of three modern loft units to accommodate multiple generations of the Nakhshab family.

Brothers Nima and Soheil Nakhshab, principals in Nakhshab Development and Design, planned their innovative Union 4 in San Diego’s Bankers Hill neighborhood to be green, virtually non-reliant upon public energy sources, respectful of an historic setting and appealing to all three generations of their family. On a small lot fronted by the George W. Osborne house, built in 1888 by an early player in the local development industry, the Nakhshabs conceived a thoroughly contemporary, three-unit addition that takes full advantage of a dramatic hillside location with sweeping views that race down San Diego Bay to the open ocean.

When restoring the Osborne house as the fourth dwelling, they mined it for architectural details that echo from the smaller original structure to the larger modern building that rises behind it to create a cohesive but inspired design. The historic home’s horizontal siding was mimicked on the new structure to unify the two contrasting design styles. The black and white paint scheme used throughout the project provides for striking visual contrast and lends a more contemporary feel to the historic home to further join the structures. In addition, NDD replicated the shape of the original elongated vertical windows of the historic home in the attached loft building design.

Each unit is tailored to the lifestyle and generation of individual family members, so that the grandparent’s penthouse has spacious areas for family dining and entertaining grandkids, and the original house has an attractive front yard in which the same children play. The appealing sense of privacy built into Union 4 maintains the appeal of the communal/family living arrangements pioneered by Shayan House, while pushing the envelope with its novel approach to multigenerational design. Very mindful of its urban setting, the development also stresses efficient and sustainable design features, such as passive lighting and ventilation and solar. Charming but 100% modern, Union 4 takes the hip attitude that the kind of family that stays together is one that plays together while respecting everyone’s privacy.

The historic house, occupied by Soheil Nakhshab, his partner Susana and their children Shayan and Sofia, greets the eye as it travels up to study the four stories of the new structure. Built with ample parking and storage space, the open-air ground level features communal attractions like a barbecue area with a massive, built-in table that easily seats a dozen and feasts on the fabulous views. A notably broad interior staircase leads to a matched pair of two-story loft residences, and then up to the penthouse that is the home of family patriarchs Sasan and Mitra Nakhshab. In every residence, the floor-to-ceiling windows, 17 feet in height, flood the spaces with light and fresh air. The view, which hop-scotches over nearby Interstate-5 to the flights ascending from Lindbergh Field, is so extraordinarily active that grandmother Mitra enthusiastically says, “I never have to turn on my television.” When her husband feels the need for privacy, he heads to the shar ed loft unit, where he reads and studies papers in a space that doubles as a music room and guest quarters. The loft next door is son Nima’s bachelor pad. All units feature an open floor plan that seems a natural in sunny, breezy San Diego.

NDD is currently utilizing this concept in other project designs it has planned in San Diego’s most dense and close-in neighborhoods. Like Union 4, all boast locations with easy access to public transportation, shops, restaurants and parks, and are very much the urbane answer to urban living. Although these newest projects are not being built specifically for blood-related, multigenerational living, NDD is designing smart, multi-unit developments whose key details will appeal to all age groups that share a desire for pedestrian-friendly, in-town living. Familial in spirit rather than occupied by generations of the same family, these projects are designed as tight-connected, interactive communities inside the much larger context of the big city.

In short, Union 4 and other new projects area prime examples of what the NDD team accomplishes when it seizes opportunities to design, engineer and build projects from concept to completion.

Additional Property Details:
• Efficient Sustainable Living Spaces – Four modern units consisting of the 1000sq.ft historic house, 1000sq.ft. Penthouse, and two 650 sq.ft Mezzanine Loft units. Although each unit has a small footprint they were designed to feel spacious through the use of minimal to no interior walls, long span beams to hide support columns and open up the floor plans, abundant windows (often floor to ceiling), glass walls and efficient space planning. The units’ open floor plans allow occupant to personalize their space with flexible furniture placement.
• Small Lot Design – Union 4 occupies a 5000 square foot lot. The existing historic home covered 1200 square feet of the lot plus square footage was allocated for a front yard, side yards, rear yard setbacks, and driveway which left little area to erect the loft units. NDD preserved the existing building footprint and utilized a podium design for the new loft units to accommodate a parking area. Podium design is a structure built above grade allowing for vehicular access at grade. This is a cost effective alternative to underground parking and allows for higher elevations which also offers improved views of San Diego Bay from the property.
• Operable windows on both sides of the building to allow for passive ventilation.
• Each unit has its own individual solar system using Enphase MicroInverters with Phono Solar 250 Watt Panels. The Penthouse has 6 panels, the Historic House has 6 panels, and each of the Mezzanine Lofts have 4 panels. Individual solar monitoring panels for each unit/tenant.
• Cantilevered bedroom hovering over front elevation that adds architectural dimension to the building and highlights what can be done with conventional structural design.
• Cantilevered roof on the Penthouse unit highlights the ascending flight path of nearby San Diego Airport.
• No drop beams to allow for clean lines, open spaces and to highlight the design’s attention to detail. Demonstrates how architecture and structural engineering can be incorporated to create more of a minimal modern design.
• European style cabinets.
• Passive lighting.
• Hardwood floors throughout (original in the historic home).
• Floor plans designed to maximize views.
• Common barbeque area to encourage a community feel and social interaction between the residents.
• Durable materials to preserve the longevity of the building including Acrylic Stucco to minimize damage from weathering, hardwood floors, Caesarstone, solid core doors, sustainable materials, and GreenFiber Cellulose.
• Security gate entry to carport area.
• Separate security access to loft units.
• Energy Star rated appliances and lighting.
• High efficiency heating and systems units.

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 3833 Megan Lane, Encinitas 92024 – WILL CALL LOCATION

Design & Engineering: Nakhshab Development & Design – Soheil Nakhshab

In San Diego’s increasingly cosmopolitan North County, a young family of four from Belgium knew exactly what it wanted built on a most desirable property: a residence focused on family living and entertaining, with certain traditional Belgian elements encased in a contemporary American design. Lauren and Christian Lahaye, the design-savvy proprietors of the popular LoLo Callisto boutiques in La Jolla, Del Mar Heights, Encinitas and San Diego’s new, upscale The Headquarters at Seaport District, were especially insistent on blending indoor and outdoor spaces to take advantage of the lot, the landscape and San Diego’s exceptional weather. Not to mention the spectacular sunsets that light the skies almost daily. With two daughters, the Lahayes also specified the residence accommodate a lifestyle that, like in Belgium, balances family activities with frequent and generous hospitality. Other concerns included privacy and maintaini ng a close relationship with nature, along with directing sight lines to maximize the finest views.

In other words, a husband-wife design team specified a very elevated design for their home – and got what they wanted by handing the challenge to Soheil Nakhshab, Principal Architect of NakhshabDevelopment and Design (NDD). The property, chosen in Encinitas’ equestrian-oriented Olivenhain neighborhood because mother and daughters are ardent riders, was essentially a blank canvas. Given full freedom to design and engineer a home perfectly matched to his clients’ requirements, Soheil created a spacious, one-story residence inspired by the distinctly American style popularized in the 1950s. A “Mid-Century Modern” home in a rural but upscale community, where ocean breezes cool the rolling hills, the Lahaye residence is not typical of the area, yet fits in perfectly. To conceive the unique property, NDD focused not just on the Lahaye’s European background and professional sophistication, but on their hip, very personal version of the Southern Californi a lifestyle. Nakhshab also designed the space to accommodate the family’s needs as its members grow older since the Lahaye’s want this to be their “forever” home. A single level and very open floor plan with indoor and outdoor spaces that seamlessly flow together along with handicap accessible features including a large shower a wheel chair can easily access and low countertops in the master bath, will allow the young homeowners to enjoy their new dwelling well beyond retirement.

LEED Gold Certified, the residence is loaded with green elements, including a rooftop solar array, LED lighting, permeable pavement, drought-tolerant landscaping and an Energy Star lighting-appliance package. NDD sourced materials locally.

At a gracious 3,000 square feet, the home encompasses 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, a family room, and a sprawling Great Room complete with the gourmet kitchen a Belgian family considers an essential to living well (even the French regard Belgians as exceptional cooks). Many surprising features, which cannot be anticipated from outside, include an indoor atrium, a sunken family room and a strong, all-stone “spine wall” that runs the length of the home. The L shape puts spaces where the family wants them, so that the family room and bedrooms occupy one wing, placing the guest suite and entertainment area in the other.

Twenty feet of retractable glass doors connect indoor entertaining spaces with notable outdoor features like a kitchen and bar, and a spacious swimming pool surrounded by a seductively comfortable lounge area. Handsome limestone flooring flows to these areas from inside, seamlessly blending shelter and open space.

By welcoming Nature into the center of the home, the atrium works as a unique focal point for almost every room. Still other types of stone, rich woods and lush native plantings elegantly fit the residence into the site’s natural landscape. Signature NDD details include custom walnut cabinets, and the custom steel cabinetry that surrounds the linear, wood-burning fireplace.

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3051 Broadway San Diego, CA 92102 – WILL CALL LOCATION

Design & Engineering: Nakhshab Development & Design – Soheil Nakhshab

With the construction of the Sofia Lofts, Nakhshab Development & Design introduces historic Golden Hill to a sharply contemporary, distinctively community-oriented approach to urban living. Appealing Mid-Century Modern design and forward-looking sustainability features (including on-site electric vehicle chargers and an innovative bike-sharing program) underline how Sofia Lofts deliberately creates an environment meant to foster both multi-generational living and an “age in place” concept intended to allow residents to move to larger and smaller units with a range of amenities over the decades, as their needs require. This way, they never need to leave home if they wish more or less living space.

These goals are accomplished by the unique mix of dwellings within the complex. A total of 16 studio, one and two-bedroom rentals have been constructed around an existing, historic three-bedroom house that is perfect for a young family. The “community within a community” objective is achieved by a layout in which all units surround an intimate common area with a BBQ grill, a lounge area, a space for showing movies outdoors and other shared activities. The idea is for all residents to mingle and interact, very much like a large family of several generations. The “age in place” concept is served by attracting young residents with inexpensive studios, and older residents with larger units, of which five are two stories. At Sofia Lofts, everyone who values Golden Hill’s setting as a quiet neighborhood that enjoys close, ultra-convenient proximity to San Diego’s stellar educational, cultural attractions never will need to leave. Given the ra nge of unit sizes and rental prices, the design allows a younger resident to commence in a studio, move to a larger unit as finances and family situation suggest, and when the nest is empty, retire to setting in which affordability, “too many stairs” and other frequent complaints never will be an issue.

Established more than a century ago as an upscale neighborhood adjacent to but distinct from downtown San Diego, Golden Hill is rich in a character distilled from historic residences and others built across the decades in myriad styles. The landscape is as varied as the architecture, thanks to a summit that rolls along in a series of slopes, and many residences enjoy sweeping views from sites well above the street. Like downtown, Golden Hill benefits from freeways that border but don’t cross it, and from easy access to San Diego City College, Balboa Park, the coastline and all other destinations.

Sofia Lofts boldly express Nahkshab Design & Development’s focus on creating “pocket” residential communities within vibrant, well-developed urban neighborhoods, among which Golden Hill is a leading example. Located near Highway 94 (yet not within sight of it), Sofia Lofts takes advantage of its sloping, 17,000 square-foot site by complementing the existing two-story house with 16 newly constructed units that range in size from a 500 square-foot studio to one and two-bedroom units, some two-story, of up to1040 square feet. Including the property’s original, 1700 square-foot residence, the rentals are priced from $1,350 to $3,000 per month.

The unit amenities and development highlights, as is true of all Nahkshab Development & Design projects, are community-oriented and as environmentally progressive as current technology allows. Intended to earn LEED Platinum certification upon completion, Sofia Lofts combine a Mid-Century Modern aesthetic and a generous helping of historic charm to create a micro-community that both reflects and enhances the surrounding neighborhood. Solar PV will off-set electricity usage, and the many “green,” passive design elements include high-density floors, floor-to-ceiling glass that floods units with natural light and windows placed for optimum natural ventilation. High-efficiency Energy Star appliances, low-usage lighting and low-flow water designs are integral to Sofia Lofts’ careful design. The expansive balconies and patios will allow residents to enjoy the breezy, shady and very hip Golden Hill setting even more.

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9410 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla 92037

Architect: Heather Johnston, AIA
Photo Credit: Brady Architectural Photography

This is a compelling story about combining the precision and speed of factory building with the unique features of a house specifically designed for the owners and the site. By building the house parts – modules – and foundations concurrently in two different locations, the house was ready for move-in just four months after the modules were delivered. The total elapsed construction time was halved in comparison to traditional building practices.

Constructing the house in a factory means better quality and less waste. Streamlined production is at the heart of every product we use today; this project brings system-oriented building concepts to the most important acquisition any of us will make in a lifetime.

Once complete, the modules – some measuring up to 60 feet in length – arrived on nine semi trailers at the 1/3 acre building site in La Jolla, before being craned into position over 48 hours. During the next four months, local craftsmen applied the finishing touches, turning a collection of individual pieces into a personalized, energy-efficient home – making our vision a reality in only 8.5 months.

During the demolition phase, existing structures, located at the site where Casabrava now sits, were deconstructed, with the materials donated to building material recycling specialists. It was important that the spirit of sustainability be present throughout the process – from the ground up.

Simple modular rectangles delineate living spaces – both inside and out. Material selection not only blurs the boundaries between interior and exterior, but between module connections. The cedar slat dropped ceiling in the living room with its flowing shape, creates warmth and intimacy, and softens the acoustics of ceramic tile elsewhere.

Casabrava’s siting maximizes natural light, ventilation and views. Major rooms have openings on four sides that brighten them at all times of day while encouraging cross-ventilation. Strategically designed roof overhangs keep the harsh summer glare out, but welcome winter sun in. The overhangs also protect the house siding, greatly reducing maintenance over time, and roof slopes are optimal for solar installation.

Only fluorescent and LED lighting is installed throughout the interior and exterior of the house – electric costs are half that of traditional lighting. Provisions from the outset include rollover thresholds, generous openings and an elevator accommodation makes the house accessible for all ages and abilities.

Casabrava’s streamlined construction process exemplifies an advanced concept in beautiful home design that sets a precedent for creating customized, yet environmentally responsible residences for years to come. The most satisfying part is hearing ‘You’re kidding, this is modular?’ from visitors to the house.

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Quonset-Stream House

4914 Ladera Sarina, Del Mar 92014

Designer: Fu-Tung Cheng, Cheng Design

Airstream trailers and Quonset huts inspired the design for this house docked against a gentle slope near San Diego. The design pits hard-edged industrial materials — concrete block, galvanized siding, steel columns, stainless steel cable and welded I-beams — against softer residential elements, such as stained-wood siding and a grid of exposed wood framing that supports the roof. The home is replete with custom details such as copper bar stock and found objects inlaid into the polished concrete floors, stainless steel Cheng custom kitchen hood that resonates with the curved roof of the house, custom concrete countertops and walls. Built by artisans and craftsmen on a modest budget, the home, while modern and set in a lush, tropical landscape, is truly a nod to a more timeless sensibility.








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