Sonoma Residence

1996, 2010 | Sonoma, CA

  • Sonoma Residence Main House and Observatory Photo: Jacob Elliot Photography
  • Sonoma Residence Main House Photo: Jacob Elliot Photography
  • Sonoma Residence Outside Seating Area Photo: Jacob Elliot Photography
  • Sonoma Residence Main House and Observatory Photo: Jacob Elliot Photography
  • Sonoma Residence Living Room Photo: Jacob Elliot Photography
  • Sonoma Residence Kitchen Photo: Jacob Elliot Photography
  • Sonoma Residence Library Photo: Jacob Elliot Photography

This private home and observatory is situated in a small, wooded meadow on a secluded 20-acre site on the southern slope of Sonoma Mountain, west of Sonoma, California. Located at 1,600 feet, the property provides sweeping views of the Sonoma Valley and the Bay Area.

The design for the steel-framed main house incorporates large expanses of glass, Sonoma fieldstone excavated from the site, and zinc shingles. A deep sunscreen on the southern elevation protects the 100-foot glass façade from the summer sun yet allows for solar gain during winter months. A year-round roof terrace and walkway stretches the length of the house, providing an outdoor living room in addition to exterior circulation.

Interior spaces were carefully planned to maximize views; nearly every room in the house faces out to the southern elevation. The open floor plan, high wood ceilings, skylights, warm maple millwork and slate floors create a light and airy environment.

The guest house/observatory houses a large astronomical telescope under a rotating metal observatory dome. The simple volumes of the architecture evolved naturally out of the rectangular house, the circular observatory and the triangular kitchen, and the bowstring roof structure. Adjacent to the guest house/observatory, a slate terrace extends the house flooring to create ample space on which to entertain guests outdoors. All exterior retaining walls were also constructed from fieldstone found on the site. Rows of lavender and grasses separate the two buildings.