Sonoma County, California
This 5,800-square-foot residence, situated within a protected-oak meadow in the hills above the city of Sonoma, overlooks the owner’s private vineyard with panoramic bay views to the south.
Design concept and solution:
The house consists of three separate single-story pavilions, interconnected axially by a series of terraces that descend the subtle slope of the hilltop site down toward the lap pool and valley views beyond. The private living and working areas—the master suite in the main house, and the studios and guest suite in the studio pavilion—are located at the west and north ends of the site, which are more densely wooded. The master bathroom and the studio rooms have views of a small clearing of tall grasses edged by the surrounding brush of spider oaks and manzanitas. The more public entertainment areas—the main house living and dining rooms, kitchen, and adjacent terraces—are oriented toward the south, sharing views of the pool, expansive open meadow, vineyard, and the distant San Francisco Bay. The southeast-facing kitchen, kitchen terrace, and vegetable garden with fountain take advantage of morning sunlight, while the southwest living room terrace with outdoor fireplace engages sunset views in the evenings. A long, winding road up the hill from the city below approaches the house from the southeast, and just as the driveway to the grass-covered auto court flattens out beyond the entry gate, the neighboring vineyards and mountainous pastures to the northeast come into view.
Monolithic board-formed cast-in-place concrete and cement board rain screen cladding blend the house into the sand and olive hues of the surrounding arid landscape. Alaskan yellow cedar trellises above outdoor lounge areas, walkways, and door openings provide protection from heavy rains and the hot summer sun. Spatially, the trellises create transitioning spaces between the outdoors and indoors, and visually they help to extend the interior living areas out to the exterior. A large skylight aligned to the main house’s central axis brings natural light into the heart of the main living area, while floor-to-ceiling glazing creates uninhibited views between interiors and outdoor scenery. Respect for the natural environment extends from restoration of the native landscape and the selection of landscape-inspired concrete and wood materials, to the use of a flat-plate solar thermal system for hot water and an array of photovoltaic panels to supplement incoming local electrical power.
The interiors reflect the owner’s interest in collecting contemporary art as well as a palette of muted earth tones. The bleached afrormosia casework, white oak floors, and tinted concrete countertop and shower surrounds all have a slightly aged quality that complement the sandy hues and texture of the board-formed concrete walls. The olive back-painted glass in the kitchen reflects the exterior meadow during daylight hours—when lit at night the glass glows a grassy green. Studios have warm grey terrazzo-ground concrete floors and clear finish plywood veneer millwork. Bedroom furnishings and bathroom finishes are monochromatic tones of beige and olive with painted cabinetry and terrazzo-ground concrete floors.
Total construction cost: Withheld
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Project Architect: Tara Bremer
Design Team: Jimmy Counts, Tom Houston, Noah Shepherd, Emily Atwood, Taylor Aikin, James Lim, Ching Tai, Wayne Norbeck, and Rob Edmonds / Edmonds+Lee
Kailua-Kona HI, and New York, NY
CAD system, project management, or other software used: AutoCAD Architecture
Windows & Doors
Counters & Baths:
Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project:
UltraTouch denim insulation
Solar thermal panels