This agricultural property in Sonoma is the home of two scientists who are involved in a number of farm projects: olives and olive oil; bee keeping and honey production; extensive gardening and other endeavors that take advantage of the area’s climate, soils and siting. As part of the “locavore” movement, they bring their produce to local markets and restaurants.Since the 25-acre site had no infrastructure, we buried utilities, improved grading to eliminate erosion, and built a solar array able to power the entire property and equipment. Excess electricity is directed to the local provider, Pacific Gas and Electric. Work also involved forest management, as this is an area highly susceptible to fire.This small house is actually 850 square feet. Situated at the high elevation of the olive orchard, the north façade faces north towards extensive views down to Lake Sonoma. The structure is anchored, to the steep hillside with a series of retaining walls and cascading exterior decks, each linked to an interior space. This act of at once embracing the hillside and relating inside and outside at every level is an ambitious concept for such a small house yet the one least intrusive to the natural topography. The vertical circulation always directs you to the views while the fenestration protects from the hot southern sun.At once grand and intimate, openings between levels allow for conversation and unexpected views from place to place. It is a delightful house in which to explore and live - a precisely crafted structure in a rustic landscape. The house is organized on three levels descending with the steep hillside. A 30-foot-high concrete wall skewers the interior dividing public and private spaces. One enters along this wall from the south at the uppermost level where there is a guest bath and the bedroom/bath. The mezzanine level has a kitchen and eating area, where one can site and look out to the view. On the lower level there is a living room.The interior is based on a reductive soft grey palette. All floors and steps are limestone. All cabinetry is oak, with inserts of clear acrylic resin in randomly placed vertical bands. Steel is used for exposed structure window mullions and the countertops an eco-composite. Though soft in tonality, it is a bold house in terms of form. With its splaying geometry one is pulled ever outward toward the wide views and the owner’s surrounding orchards.The exterior is predominantly grey zinc expressed in horizontal panels with articulated reveals running horizontally and overlapping joints in the vertical direction. There are areas of local redwood delineating the southern and western façade compositions that work with the texture of slatted sunscreens. The horizontal skylight over the stair creates dynamic shadows against the concrete wall in a house that otherwise is shielded from direct sun.Furnishings are mostly custom built-in pieces as the room dimensions are\ quite small. The bedroom has a floating white sofa cantilevered from the concrete wall. Its bathroom features a shower with a window that is the full width of the room and 10-foot high overlooking the valley.We realized early in the design process that the expansive spirit we were looking for required the use of open corner windows and shifts in the geometry in order to break the sense of enclosure. These features with cantilevered, open glass-on-glass connections required special attention. Specific attention to earthquake movement, heat transfer, condensation andother environmental issues required careful detailing. The roofs of the triangular windows are steel plate, flashed to work with the zinc wall system. Flush detailing at all places where materials come together highlights the work of superb local craftsmen.