Butler Armsden revisit the courtyard model popular to the early architecture of the Sonoma Valley region, with a home that spills into the valley environment while offering a refuge from it.

When first arriving at someone’s home, it would seem only natural to look for the front door. But husband-and-wife-led architecture firm Butler Armsden have erased that convention altogether in their Valley of the Moon project, located in Sonoma Valley, northern California. Overlooking what was traditionally called the Valley of the Moon by Native American tribes, this family home forms a series of cedar-clad structures positioned around a central courtyard. In a move that reflects “the Spanish haciendas of Mission-era California”, the home is characterised by a fluidity, by entering “into conversation with the spatial language of the valley it sits in”.

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There’s no questioning the tranquility of a home when its closest neighbours are said to be native oak and redwood trees. On this secluded site, a concrete platform acts as the pillar to uninterrupted views of the valley, topped by the Alaskan yellow cedar volumes; an exterior chosen for its durability, low maintenance and ability to blend as it weathers light grey overtime. The two-storey portion includes the open living spaces and bedrooms for the family of four, while the single-storey houses the guest accomodation and pockets to really find your zen, such as the dedicated yoga space.

The family are proud to be off-the-grid, combining the latest technology with the oldest sustainability methods. The home generates its own electricity and hot water while keeping temperatures optimal with long roof overhangs.

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The home bows down to the expansive outdoor space, emphasising from the sofa to the bocce court and saltwater lap pool. This move lets you be truly captivated by the valley below but also helps to naturally segment the home. Each section is accessed from the courtyard, letting the home function equally well for larger gatherings. Glass sliding doors are to thank for this, as well as tonnes of glass defying the square window norm. In an effort to not subtract from the surrounds, the interior is blanketed by neutral tones and kept by a restrained material palette. This scheme is easy on the eye, without sufficing on designer objects such as the Vertigo Suspension Lamp by Constance Guisset for Petite Friture.

Valley of the Moon is a laid-back, entertainer’s oasis, spread out with plenty of quiet spaces to enjoy your own company too.

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