Preview: Dwell Home Tour in San Diego

The owners were well on their way to starting the remodel of a Mission Hills 1970s-era house when architect Bill Bocken got a phone call.


“At the eleventh hour, the owner called me just to help with the interior design — the furniture selection and that sort of thing,” he said. “I saw what they were about to do, and I said, ‘Wait, you gotta give me the weekend.’ I took a few photographs and went away for the weekend. I came back with an idea that I think was really what they were looking for.”


The 1978-built house — once considered dark, dated and claustrophobic — possessed one unique architectural feature: Its core structure consisted of telephone poles cantilevered off the canyon floor.


“The idea was to respect the original structure, let it sing the song and be the star of the show,” said Bocken of Bill Bocken Architecture and Design. “Everything I did was meant to reduce the visual noise ... that was hiding the structure’s true beauty. It was fairly straightforward and simple, and everything followed a formula. The goal, simply, was to celebrate the structure.”


The 2,700-square-foot home, remodeled in 2009, now stands proudly, high atop Mission Hills, with stunning views of Mission Valley and the Pacific.


Next weekend, the Bocken-designed house — dubbed the Mission Hills Treehouse — will be one of 10 San Diego County homes featured in the first-ever Dwell Home Tour in San Diego. Dwell magazine, considered by many as the purveyor of all things modern, already has had successful tours in Marin County and Los Angeles. Thanks to their popularity, the magazine has expanded its roster to include San Diego, New York City and Silicon Valley.


Five North County homes will be showcased on Saturday, and another five, in central San Diego County, will be featured on Sunday.


For Bocken, being chosen as part of the tour is an honor: “It’s a big deal. I was kind of shocked, personally. My style ranges from historical to contemporary, and so I wouldn’t be the typical person to be on the Dwell tour. It was quite an honor to be picked.”


Dwell Home Tour

When: Saturday, Nov. 10, and Sunday, Nov. 11

Where: North County tour on Saturday, Nov. 10; Central San Diego County tour on Sunday, Nov. 11

Tickets: Purchase a two-day pass ($150) and receive one free ticket to a “Meet the Architects” reception on Friday, Nov. 9. Single-day passes, $75. A portion of all ticket proceeds will benefit Dwell Home Tours nonprofit partner, Architecture for Humanity.



Read Michael Rocha's full story and more on


Pictured: Harris Residence, Encinitas. Architect: James Brown & James Gates, Public Architecture & Planning



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