Located on ten secluded acres in Napa County, this 2500 square foot residence is a second home for a writer, a painter and their two young children. The couple had a vision for a country retreat that would merge with the outdoors, contrasting their own urban residence. They were interested in earthen walls and other sustainable elements; sheet-rocked surfaces were to be avoided. A place expressive of “rural simplicity” became our collaborative goal.
A two-building scheme, linked by a covered breezeway and nestled into a 100-year-old grove of oaks, forms the general plan for the home. The breezeway acts as a point of organization and contemplation, linking the entry path to the pool and golden fields beyond. East and west from the breezeway are the two buildings—one for living, one for sleeping. The intent is to add additional small structures over time, continuing the vernacular of multiple buildings with a variety of types, use, and ages.
Sixteen-inch-thick shot-earth walls comprise the east-west portion of the living building, while the north-south walls are wood, sided inside and out with cedar. The living room, with large double doors at each end, becomes a similar space to the breezeway. The roof framing is all exposed, a combination of reclaimed old-growth cedar and painted structural steel. Ground-level floors are integral color concrete with hydronic radiant heating