The secluded mountain ranch property sits an elevation of 1380 ft. and is is composed of two gently sloping terraces. The upper terrace is covered with mixed conifers and hardwoods with the house and outbuildings overlooking a creek, pond, meadows and open pine forest below. The area was settled in the 1850’s, and was likely a favored spot for the Native Americans with it’s year round water in an area with hot dry summers.
The clients sought to create a country getaway for family that would have enough room to serve as a retreat for larger groups. Restoration of the original Victorian era farm house was considered, but found impractical due it’s poor condition and some clumsy additions that had destroyed its original charm. The overriding initial goal in the design of the new home was for it to fit harmoniously in this special site. In preliminary visits it was conceived as emulating a sheltering grove of trees. This concept was reflected in the design with the use of heavy timber posts and beams on the wrap around covered porch, and open roof frame trellis in the rear. In the interior, timbers were used to frame opening portals, loosely defining the rooms of the open floor plan.
The theme of the design was a reinterpretation of local vernacular farm house, which fit the historical context and site well. As the design evolved, and we explored options, and came to know the site and clients better we incorporated elements of mountain cabins we have known, great Western lodges and reviewed Palladio’s classical country villas as the ultimate “second home” found in architectural history. We also made a point to pay attention to the principles fung shui and study design elements of traditional Chinese homes as a reflection of the clients heritage.
A wrap around porch and low spreading roof enclose the home nestled an opening in the forest. The first floor is primarily a great room opening to the to the wrap around porch with a grand staircase leading to the pond. The kitchen opens to a garden courtyard and the morning sun. The second floor master bedroom has a balcony overlooking the pond and sunset.
The original design program included these goals and objectives:
- design in harmony with the site
- take advantage of view of pond
- work well for family gatherings as well as retreat for business associate & guests
- provide ample room in living areas with separation/privacy for bedrooms
- indoor/outdoor living areas
- integrate with other buildings to create cohesive overall design
- orient main living areas with views toward west and pond with courtyard area facing east toward proposed garden area
- quality local craftsmanship
- passive solar and cooling
- sustainable materials & energy efficiency
- include extra measures for seismic & fire resistant construction
- Bedrooms: 3 bedrooms, each with a bathroom
- Living Room: large enough for grand piano, good acoustics
- Dining Room: to also serve as business meeting/conference space, open to outdoor dining
- Kitchen: to accommodate catering large events
- Decks/porches: wrap around deck facing pond, covered area for outdoor dining, covered porches for natural cooling
- Outdoor kitchen
- Size: approx. 3000-4000 sq. ft.
- Target Budget: $200-225/s
- Style: California vernacular farm/ranch house, straightforward but with refinement in detailing and design
- attention to prinicples of fung shui and familiarity of elements of traditional Chinese houses
Accross the Pond