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Located in the remote hills of Sonoma County a Washington DC couple commissioned this modest, residential compound that includes a 2,800 sq. ft. main house, detached 500 sq. ft. guesthouse, carport and pool. Currently used as a vacation home the owners are transitioning for use as their full time retirement home in the future.
The collection of buildings is situated on a steep, south facing, down-sloping, wooded site; the structures are slowly revealed from the winding driveway approach. In order to satisfy programmatic desires, site conditions, and work within the framework of a $1,200,000. construction budget, the site plan and floor plans are rational and organized, the building footprints small, and materials timeless. The siting and materials of the new, built elements create a dynamic relationship to one another, the natural and designed landscape, and view. Stepping down-slope in section, the double height living space with full height glazing connect the upper entry level directly outward to views, pool terrace, and guesthouse below.
The long bar of the main house volume is set into the hillside, parallel to the site contours, clearly organized around a separation of public and private spaces. All rooms orient to the view except a band of transom windows that line the upper entry hall and serve to pull in Northern light from the top level.
The detached two-story guest house is shifted away in plan from the main house and pool terrace, set amongst a group of old growth oak trees. Resting lightly on the ground with the sleeping loft set amongst the oak branches like a tree fort from our youth, with the ever-present view to the south. The interior of the guesthouse is sheathed with a taught surface of redwood siding, giving the feel of being inside a jewel box.
At pool level both the main house and guesthouse serve to wrap the patio, creating a dynamic indoor/outdoor relationship, all open out to the view of valley and hills beyond.
The landscape design blurs the line between structured landscape and hardscape, used primarily at the entry and carport level, with more natural and unstructured areas of native grasses and plantings on the surrounding hillsides. The landscape design integrates the new structures with the mature tree grove, brush and grasses.
The design of the buildings bring a modern, urban sensibility adapted to a remote, rural site set amongst a grove of old oaks and landscape. Materials and detailing were intended to express a modern, craft sensibility, but maintain a warm, comfortable quality. The primary exterior finishes – Corten siding, cement plaster and galvanized corrugated siding are intended to be durable, non-combustible, and maintenance free and evoke the rustic quality of the surrounding rural community.