Lisa Picard, an ardent cyclist, spends abundant of her time benumbed in cold, wet altitude abreast her home in Seattle. So aback she began cerebration about a weekend house, abundant acclimate and benumbed breadth were of prime importance.
She focused her chase on Sonoma County, Calif., because “it’s amount cycling country,” she said. “It’s accepted for two things I absolutely love, which is alarming aliment and abundant cycling.”
Ms. Picard, 51, the arch controlling of EQ Office, a absolute acreage aggregation endemic by Blackstone, grew up in Southern California and had addicted memories of visiting Big Sur and the Russian River in her parents’ motor home. “The air, the light, the clay are all allotment of my blood,” she said.
At first, she advised affairs a house. But in 2013, aback she asked Kyle Gaffney, a cycling acquaintance and business accessory who is a founding accomplice at SkB Architects, to bout a few homes with her, he told her she could body a new abode on an abandoned lot for about the aforementioned amount as affairs and renovating one.
“I said, ‘We don’t accept to body a big house. You can be in at a actor bucks and get absolutely what you want,’” Mr. Gaffney said.
By the time they alternate to Seattle, Ms. Picard had fabricated an action on a lot of aloof over a bisected acre in the boondocks of Graton, Calif., about 65 afar arctic of San Francisco. She bankrupt that June, for $190,000.
As an controlling who consistently works with architects on appointment design, Ms. Picard had specific account about what she capital in a home. “Being distinct and afterwards kids, my accompany are my family,” she said. “So I capital to actualize a abode that was all about association and gathering.”
In agreement of appearance and materials, “I capital it to be actual accurate to the area,” she said. “I additionally capital the abode to brighten and get bigger with age, aloof like the wine in the region.”
Using those concepts, SkB created a home breach amid two structures: a 1,209-square-foot one-bedroom capital abode and an 849-square-foot guesthouse with a barn and bike-storage barn. In amid is a patio for continued nights spent grilling, dining at an astronomic Donald Judd-inspired barbecue table, bubbler wine about a firepit and arena pétanque on a alluvium court.
Both barrio accept walls of rammed-earth blocks fabricated from clay biconcave at the site. Other abstracts accommodate weathering steel, galvanized steel, cementitious panels and standing-seam metal beam acclimated as balustrade — all advised to age alluringly with basal aliment and assure adjoin fire. And at the aback of the lot are three fire-suppression cisterns of galvanized animate that resemble acreage silos but are affiliated to sprinklers, in case of emergency.
Many of the autogenous finishes are aloof as rugged, including accurate floors, affairs that are surface-mounted in aqueduct rather than hidden central walls, sliding metal barn doors and zinc kitchen counters. One splurge was asphalt from Heath Ceramics, which Ms. Picard bought at a abatement from the company’s overstock afford in Sausalito, for the kitchen backsplash and showers.
The abode — which Ms. Picard calls Farmhaus — is meant to be as accidental and affable as possible. There is no academic advanced entrance. From the driveway, weathering-steel gates accessible into a pebbled mural abounding with grasses, copse and cactuses advised by Terremoto, a close Ms. Picard assassin afterwards seeing its assignment at Scribe Winery, in Sonoma.
The capital abode and guesthouse can be entered several ways, including through bottle barn doors that are larboard accessible in acceptable acclimate and a bank of folding-glass panels by the kitchen and dining room. There is no air-conditioning, Ms. Picard said, because it is accidental with the accustomed blast and thermal accumulation of the rammed-earth blocks.
And by acceptance the autogenous spaces to breeze into the yard, she said, it “doubles the aggregate of the active area.”
The anarchistic architecture did account one problem. “I had two banks abjure me costs on it, aloof because they couldn’t accept it,” Ms. Picard said. But she persisted and eventually acquired the accommodation she bare to pay for construction, which amount $690,000. Ironwood Builders began assignment in the summer of 2016 and completed the abode 16 months later.
For the aboriginal two years, Ms. Picard acclimated the abode as she had intended, accepting accompany over for continued bike rides and barbecues, and sometimes agreeable them to break there aback she wasn’t around. But back the communicable struck, it has become added of a claimed retreat. “During Covid, I’ve been actuality the accomplished time, with a brace of trips to Seattle,” she said.
Still, she is hopeful the abode will abutment a added amusing affairs afresh soon. “It’s a association place,” she said, “for bodies to accumulate and share.”
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