LEED-Certified Home: Caterpillar House on the Santa Lucia Preserve

This California structure features a plethora of windows and gorgeous views.

Anyone who has ever dreamed of sitting on a porch while drinking their beverage of choice and enjoying an expansive view of rolling hills needs to look no further than the Caterpillar House.

Located on the Santa Lucia Preserve, a gated community close to Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, the Caterpillar House was designed by San Francisco-based Feldman Architecture and was the first LEED Platinum Custom Home on California’s Central Coast, according to the firm’s website. The house was completed in January 2010, according to Design Rulz.

“The Caterpillar House implements sustainable elements while exploring a contemporary version of the ranch ideals: massing that is low and horizontal, an open plan with a strong connection between indoor and outdoor spaces, and main living areas that center informally on the kitchen,” the architecture firm states on its website.

Bottom line: It’s pretty awesome.

A long driveway curves in front of this flat-roofed structure, and the surrounding land is so green and beautiful that visitors might want to literally roll around in the grass before they even step inside.

And step inside they must. This house has large and airy rooms with mostly windows for walls to take in the surrounding views. The kitchen alone is enough to whet the most HGTV-fueled appetite with its light wood and sunniness. That kitchen looks over a combined dining and living room area that is complete with a very modern-looking fireplace.

Jonathan Feldman described his firm’s style when it comes to keeping it green in a 2013 interview with Curbed San Francisco: “We always pay attention to the easy and low-tech stuff first: keeping the buildings no bigger than what is needed, orienting the building and placing windows and shading devices to take advantage of sun angles for heating and to prevent over-heating, using thermal mass and ventilation for cooling and maximizing insulation. Then we think about the rest, efficient and resource-conscious lighting, heating and plumbing. We also think a lot about materials, where they come from and how healthy they are.”

The Caterpillar House was partially inspired by the work of late California architect Cliff May, who was known for designing ranch-style houses. The Feldman Architecture client wanted a home that had a similar feel to May’s work and was also environmentally-friendly, according to the firm’s website.

“I was aware of May and some of his more famous houses, but I had a whole lot more to learn,” Feldman said, according to a California Home + Design report. “His ideas of low and horizontal massing, open plans with a strong connection to the outdoors and main living areas that center informally on the kitchen became our manifesto for the project.”

The structure has won several awards, including an EcoHome magazine Grand Award in 2011 and a 2011 Citation Award from the Monterey Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

A beautifully designed edifice with serene views of lush hills make the Caterpillar House the kind of place that will never get out of your head—and we mean that in the best way possible.

If you're interested in learning more about the specifics of LEED-certification, take a look at USGBC's Guide to Certification.