Designed in 1980, the partially sunken Sunburst Residence keeps a low profile—and a low carbon footprint.
In Applegate, California, halfway between Sacramento and the mountains of Lake Tahoe, a passive solar home known as the Sunburst Residence emerges from the trees. Built in 1980 by SeaGroup architects David Wright and Dennis Andrejko for an older couple on the cusp of retirement, the wood-clad house is low impact and environmentally conscious.
“Because there is no central heating or cooling, the home was built into the hillside to take advantage of natural temperature control,” says Jasmine Eaton, the current homeowner. “Couple that with the slanted roof to encourage airflow through the many windows and skylights, and we have little need for AC in the summer—even in the Sierra Nevada foothills.”
Measuring over 1,600 square feet, the dwelling spreads across two levels with the primary living spaces on the first floor. Caramel-toned wood paneling spans the ceiling, capping the connected kitchen, dining, and living areas. Windows and glass doors line the south-facing wall, illuminating the floor with ample natural light while blending the lines between inside and out.
Jasmine purchased the Sunburst Residence from the original owners. “The wife was very cautious to sell, as she didn’t want the original design to be ruined with add-ons or renovations that were not true to the style of the home,” she remembers. “While we’ve done some restorations and upgrades to bring the home back to what it should look like, there’s still more work to be done to return the space to its original form.”
In addition to large, bright gathering areas, the home offers two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The primary suite is located on the upper level and features a private balcony along with a newly installed terrazzo floor in the connected bath. Throughout, a neutral, organic palette merges with clean lines, enhancing the home’s overall connection to its natural setting.
“From the downstairs tile and cedar-clad walls, to the floor-to-ceiling windows in nearly every room—we love so much about this home, and we’re heartbroken that we have to sell,” says Jasmine, whose family is relocating for work. Keep scrolling to see more of the property, currently listed for $610,000.