The intent for this project is to create a rural retreat for a prominent Napa Valley winemaker and his family on a unique, 168-acre parcel set on the wooded slopes of the Vaca Mountains in Northern Napa Valley.
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This parcel was once home to a collection of small wood-framed hunting cabins, arranged in an oval near a seasonal creek in the site’s shallow valley. Originally built in the early 1930s, the buildings burned to the ground in the Glass Fire of 2020.
Our clients’ vision is to replace the site’s five original structures – each averaging roughly 500 square feet – with two new structures. Combining the square footage of four of the five structures into a single structure allows much of the formerly occupied land to be restored to natural habitat.
Both of the structures are oriented to the south, taking advantage of down-valley views. The larger of the new structures is designed for entertaining. Modern construction systems and a pier foundation, enable a more efficient use of space and decrease the impact of the structure on the land. Two bedrooms are tucked below, with open-plan, indoor-outdoor entertaining spaces above. All terraces and decks are cantilevered, hovering above the land.
Flipping the usual script in which a smaller guest house is designed for visitors, the client chose the smaller structure as a private retreat for himself and his family. He can entertain guests, then retreat to his cabin in the woods. Set at a small distance from the entertaining house, the small A-frame is set upon the footprint of one of the original hunting cabins, even reusing the older structure’s existing chimney, (which survived the fire). A thoroughly modern rendition of the traditional architectural vernacular, the A-frame design maximizes living space within its small floor plan.
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