Our clients for this project are old friends, a couple who had worked with us on an earlier residential renovation before moving to Silicon Valley. When they decided to return and settle in Petaluma, we picked up where we had left off. Set in town, the site for this project lies between old farms and new development, surrounded by homes but with a clear view of the hills to the west.
Our intent was to create a contemporary retreat that embraces the land and views, taking full advantage of the site while mitigating the visual impact of nearby homes and tempering the effect of Petaluma’s infamous afternoon winds. Placement on the site was important to simultaneously capture the views of the hills and obscure the views of neighboring development. We rotated the house, setting it diagonally on its east-west facing site to orient it toward the westerly views and away from the afternoon winds that blow in from the east. This orientation also obscures the view of the neighboring houses, which are sited fairly close by.
The organization of the house is straightforward. Two strong axes form the core of the project. The first, which lies directly in line with the view, is expressed in walls of native stone. The second, set perpendicular to the first, is sheathed in stucco. The main entry, which is completely transparent, lies at the intersection of the two axes, immediately revealing the distant views and the pool set on axis with the view.
With just two bedrooms and a separate studio, this is not a large house. Public and private areas align themselves on either side of the main entry, taking the form of separate pavilions linked by the glassed-in entry. The architecture is contemporary, with flat roofs, deep overhangs, clean lines, and earth tones that connect it to the land. A delicate trellis system composed of black steel shades the rear facade. The interior’s 11-foot ceilings and minimalist finishes form a light and airy interior.