Keller Court Commons

MAD Architecture
Chris Lynch, Principal, Lead designer

Project Location: Petaluma
Completion Date: May 2018

Builder: Mike Jacobs, Jacobs Classic Construction

Architects Involved:
Chris Lynch, Principal, Lead designer
Chris Heath, Associate
Sandy Reed, ZAC Landscape Architect

Engineers Involved:
Marianne Wilson, Zucco Fagent Associates, Structural Engineers
Alan Fulkerson, SJLA and Assoc., Civil Engineers

Additional Team:
Jim Soules, Planning
Milli Fredricks, Interior Finishes
Mike Jacobs, Jacobs Classic Construction
Jenny Lynn Hall, Artist
Josh Spaulding, Custom metals, Spaulding Metalworks

Project Description


SITE PLANNING- The concept of a courtyard project is to cluster small houses around a shared community green space.  The courtyard, devoid of vehicles fosters a friendly, quiet, pedestrian environment where neighbors engage in conversation while retrieving mail or sitting on their porch. For this infill community, vehicular circulation is routed to the West where the driveway, garages and open parking are strategically tucked amongst mature Oaks along the perimeter of property generally out of sight but within a short walking distance to the dwellings.  The Oaks trees were retained as amenity for the Site as well as a buffer to the surrounding neighborhood.  The houses are arranged to enclose the courtyard and to maximize the views of Sonoma Mountain to the east.

ARCHITECTURE -The house designs are inspired by the old farmstead from which this property was subdivided. The goal was to respect this site by designing smaller, more sustainable structures not unlike the pre-existing farm ‘outbuildings’ once standing here, as well as other agricultural structures that are ubiquitous throughout Sonoma County.

The new buildings’ massing and scale are reminiscent of this agrarian vernacular; yet a modern interpretation. The houses are built to emphasize quality over size.  The materials used ~ exposed concrete, corrugated galvanized metal roofs and siding, metal windows, raw cedar board siding, weathering steel, colored lime plaster –  are consistent with this approach and are intended to age gracefully- maintenance free.

HOMES– All homes are two bedroom, two and one-half bath. Each plan has a large, usable covered porch facing the courtyard that serves as three season room. There are three floor plans with elevation changes to fit the site. Plan A (#1, #8) is a tuck under daylight basement type plan to minimize height on the easterly slope. Plan B (#2, #4, #7) are two-story homes. Plan C (#3, #6) are on the corners of the courtyard and feature a tower space.  A private garden will be landscaped by each owner to ensure diversity and unique character.

COMMONS BUILDINGS- A small clubhouse is provided for private community meetings and functions. In addition a small fitness Room is located above one of the garages – for yoga and exercise equipment.  The clubhouse and entry portico were designed to reflect the developers’ love of color.  The clubhouse cladding was designed in collaboration with an Artist, Jenny Lynn Hall, who used colored lime plaster as her medium.

SUSTAINABILITY FEATURES– The most important feature is that the homes are a modest size (+/- 1500sf). Because the greatest impact of new home construction is the extraction, transportation, and long-term maintenance of building materials, these will use less resources for construction.  They will be constructed of low-maintenance, recyclable materials (minimal paint and caulk) to reduce environmental impacts from long-term maintenance.  The homes are provided with a minimum 2kw PV system which powers mostly electric appliances including a He hybrid heat pump for hydronic heating.  Each home has an EV charger.  As an infill project, the homes are located within walking distance to the Historic downtown and transportation.