This 2 acre lot just minutes from downtown Hearldsburg inspired our clients looking for their home away from home. Located on a grassy, oak tree shaded hillside with a creek traveling through the southeastern portion of the lot, the site is emblematic of the Northern California landscape. A portion of the site is protected for a stream that carries the run-off of much of the neighboring properties and fluctuates dramatically throughout the year. The house is situated near the top of the gently sloped lot with its back to their west neighbors. The design takes advantage of the views towards the existing oak trees and is perched above the potential flood plain of the creek. The driveway, an arc creating the procession from city grid to country retreat, takes one over a culvert through the trees to arrive at the retreat.
The project includes the design of two structures: a garage/office structure and a main house. Together the usable space is a modest 2,340 sq.ft.. An ideal size for this couple to work remotely with a convertible office for family and guests to visit. The clients requested a minimalist retreat from the hubbub of San Francisco where they could escape and enjoy their privacy secluded in the landscape.
The natural landscape gives way to a plateau of decomposed granite and low retaining walls nestling the buildings into the earth. The two buildings bend with the contours creating a courtyard that opens to a fruit orchard. Oversized windows frame views of the oak trees while the south deck extends under the oaks for summer shading. The office, part of the first building, can be easily converted into a guest space with a Murphy bed that is part of a thickened cabinetry wall. The main house is a simple bar structure that opens toward the views on the south and east. The secondary spaces line the length of the building along the hillside blocking west light and creating privacy from the neighbors. The living area, dining area, kitchen and small office are all open to each other. Built-in shelving allow the owners to display a curated collection of pottery from frequent trips to Asia.
All cabinetry and built-ins are by Henry Built, a cabinet shop based in Seattle with a high standard for craft and detail. The architects teamed with Henry Built to achieve the simple and minimalist aesthetic goals of the client.
Exterior materials include gray corrugated metal siding, smooth cream stucco wrapping the inverted surfaces along the facade, and birch veneer at doors and lining the ceiling at the entry that slides from exterior to interior.