This new accessory dwelling unit (ADU) takes inspiration from the dilapidated farm structures that dot the landscape of the Sonoma wine country –legally preserved from outright demolition and thus in a state of constant decay. These relics have their own strange elegance though; their original steeply sloped roofs now drooping into low slung structures, peeling apart allowing in unexpected puddles of natural light, and revealing fragments of their interior framing to the outside elements.
How might we use the qualities of these decaying, yet compelling utilitarian buildings as the jumping off point for a modern wine country design? Especially as the “modern farmhouse” style proliferates for many new houses in wine country, it seemed worth asking whether another type of historic reference might serve us well here. The reference is of course strategic for this site as well. The property already has a number of outbuildings and a main house, each competing for attention. Relative to these, we lowered our structure into the landscape and compressed its visual impact with the low-pitched roofs.
From the road the home appears relatively conventional. Yet from certain angles the conventional looking roof entirely disappears and the structure takes on a lighter, more refined pavilion-like character. From the family’s main social space, the ADU seems to be hiding behind a tree.
At the rear the ADU is carefully tucked within the existing oak groves. Inside, the space cleaves in two with a linear skylight the full length of the home. Capturing the quality of the site’s natural light is the prime design agenda here. Neither an unconsidered “modern farmhouse” nor the literal ruins of a de-constructing rural barn, we hope this modern country home feels alive –complete but always in process.