Swatt Miers Architects have designed a home at a family’s vineyard in Windsor, California.
The architect’s description
Retrospect Vineyards, a 20-acre plot in the Russian River Valley, has been producing pinot noir grapes and selling them to nearby wineries for fifteen years. However, when the new owners bought the property in 2010 they knew they wanted to have a greater involvement in the winemaking process.
The result was a modern home designed to function as both a family retreat and a working vineyard, respecting the privacy of the residents without hampering the functionality of the land.
Equipment and materials for the vineyard are stored in the adjacent barn, clad in the same Windsor Stone as the main house, and a large parking pad accommodates trucks picking up new harvests. A second driveway separates the commercial activity from the residential, but traffic to and from the barn passes in front of the main house.
Faced with these business operations on one side and an expansive view of the surrounding vineyards on the other, the building was designed with two distinct facade treatments on either side of a narrow, ‘T’-shaped plan: to the north, a relatively opaque entry court provides privacy while admitting daylight through a delicate vertical wood screen, while the south facade eschews solid walls in favor of double-height glazing.
The plan of the house was designed to respond to family living, with public or shared areas on the ground floor and bedrooms above. The master bedroom is separated from the children’s rooms by a bridge spanning the double-height great room that takes up the majority of the lower level.
Below, the kitchen and office both open up to the pool terrace, and in the great room a twenty-one-foot wide span of full-height sliding glass doors seamlessly extends the living space out onto the St. Tropez limestone pool terrace.
The detached guest suite, envisioned as a glass box projecting beyond the terrace edge, functions as a separate building while remaining connected to the main house by the low roof that spans between the structures.
The guest house is screened from the main building while enjoying completely unobstructed 270-degree views of the landscape, and the interstitial space is used as a shaded outdoor kitchen and lounge with terrace and vineyard views on two sides.
Architect: Swatt Miers Architects
Architectural Team: Robert Swatt, FAIA, Principal in Charge; Julie Liberman, Project Architect; Audrey Hitchcock, Ivan Olds, Kimie Nakamori, Mike Eggers
Builder: Jamba Construction
Landscape: Bernard Trainor & Associates
Interiors: Connie Wong
Photography: Russell Abraham