Nestled in among a redwood ring and the live oak clusters that crown a hill on this 400-acre former cattle ranch in the Sonoma Valley, this 6,000 square foot indigenous house for a family of four is designed as a contemporary version of the vernacular of the region. As mandated by the county, the house is carefully sited on its hillside so as to be invisible from across the valley.
Environmental concerns as well as county regulations informed the material selection of zinc cladding. Its low toxicity, matte finish and impressive longevity as well as its ability to heal itself makes it a major plus for the environment. Solar panels concealed below the hillside heat the domestic hot water that is sourced from an underground natural spring. Aligned along the south facing roof, photovoltaic cells are so highly functional that the owners are able to return or sell power back to the grid. All of these sustainable elements make this home completely self-sufficient on its remote hilltop.
The interior cladding from the radiant flooring to the wall and ceiling paneling is farmed birch. The great room was designed for family interactions both within the space and without on the adjacent blue stone terrace that sports a hot tub. The plan also provides for his and her private offices and a sky-lit painting studio for the wife, an accomplished artist. Other amenities include an “endless” swimming pool and sauna geared specifically to a family member with health issues. For this reason also, all rooms on the ground floor are accessible. A steel bridge spanning the great room leads to an overlook where on a clear day, San Francisco bay shimmers in the distance and at night the lights of Santa Rosa twinkle across the valley below.
The landscaping was a concerted effort by the architects and a local landscaper. It complies with local fire codes and uses all native plant material such that the house will settle seamlessly into the land as per the owners desire to be good stewards of their quintessential Northern California landscape.