This beautiful country farmhouse located in Calistoga, California, was designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.
Description by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Located in Calistoga, a small town in Northern California’s Napa Valley, this renovated farmhouse is placed gently into a landscape of grape vines and matured walnut trees. The clients, local winemakers, desired a modern dwelling that would complement the small estate while working within the structure of the former residence. With the home’s new design, the relationship to site and ambiguity of the plan are simplified through the subtle shifting of openings and partitions, and the addition of key unifying elements.
While the previous residence and its newly renovated form share a similar programmatic layout, the inhabitant experience has been reimagined through the clear definition of public and private spaces. The main entry, which once awkwardly directed visitors to the second-floor master suite, has been shifted to the center axis of the house and now guides people directly into the open living room and dining area. A cedar-clad utility spine reinforces this articulated boundary and guides one’s view through the communal space to the vineyards beyond.
The use of cedar siding throughout the renovated portions of the home helps to define the interventions and accentuate the traditional gray-painted cedar shake, punched windows, and white trim of the former design. This same wood detailing is repeated in the cladding of the expanded kitchen volume, the catalyst for the renovation, which takes on new prominence as the hub of the house and gateway to an expanded deck, rectilinear pool, guesthouse, and renovated water tower. The yard includes numerous opportunities for entertaining, including a built-in barbecue, fire pit, and bocce ball court, with views of the vineyards beyond.
Materials used help to define programmatic elements throughout the dwelling. Durable basalt floors in common areas, a nod to the geology of the region, contrast the softness of reclaimed Doug fir used in private spaces. Warm hemlock cabinetry and rich copper tones of the fireplace surround reflect the hues of the exterior landscape and balance the clean lines and crisp expression of white painted drywall.
The extensive redesign of this dated farmhouse turned modern residence, with its many connections to the surrounding landscape, creates a contemporary home for the clients to enjoy for many years to come.
Raised above the valley floor, the house captures wind from the adjacent vineyards. Openings in the exterior envelope have been increased with the addition of large operable windows and sliding glass doors leading out to a wrap-around porch, allowing the clients to take advantage of the Mediterranean-like climate and natural ventilation. Deep overhangs of the hipped roof help shade these areas during the hottest times of the year and buffer interiors from direct solar gain.
Enlarged window openings and new skylights provide significant day lighting throughout the house, decreasing the need for supplemental lighting. Preexisting incandescent lights were replaced with LED fixtures, reducing electrical demands, while the addition of solar panels on the roof of the detached garage are expected to further offset the resultant power usage.
The resource efficient upgrades within the house are carried into the surrounding landscape as well, where native plant selections and strategic zoning areas have been decided based on sun exposure and water usage, helping to limit the site’s overall water demands.
Photography by Matthew Millman