Driving to Big Sur on coast-hugging Highway 1— say, south from San Francisco—you have to be cautious. It's not just that the switchbacks give the ride the feeling of being in a James Bond movie, but that it is impossible not to be subsumed by the scene outside the windshield: the verticality of the lush and hoary mountains and the plunging cliffs that spike up again from below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
It was Fougeron’s success in conceptualizing and gently positioning an earlier, rectilinear house in a wooded valley in Big Sur—the Jackson Family Retreat—that endeared her to the clients of her recent nearby project. A Chicago-based executive and his family had been looking for property in the area since the late 1990s—he fell in love with Big Sur when he attended prep school in Monterey in the 1970s—and in 2006 they finally purchased a triangular 1.5-acre site on a bluff with a 250-foot drop to the ocean. “We wouldn’t have closed without [Fougeron] onboard,” he says. The couple knew that they didn’t want a dark stone and redwood cabin like the ones so prevalent in the area, but something daylight-filled, with a low profile, and made of a mix of materials.