Houzz Tour: A Farmhouse in the Dell, Via Houzz.com
Modern style and a barn look mix in a most unusual Sonoma County home
Most of the houses in this area of Sonoma County, California, are built atop the surrounding knolls. But to reach this dwelling, a visitor has to traverse the rolling hills before dropping down to the sheltered homestead. As you come up the walk to the front door (a glass portal behind traditional sliding barn doors), a sense of déjà vu comes upon you. The house seems enduringly familiar, as if the architects used some kind of sorcery to tap into our collective unconscious to channel the image of a half-remembered agrarian spread.
But this is no sleight-of-hand trickery; the barn aesthetic is woven into the DNA of the storied firm (the founder, the late William Turnbull, was one of the fathers of Sea Ranch, a community of distinctive barn-inspired buildings on the Northern California coast). Not only that, but Haesloop, an Indiana native, grew up surrounded by barns and blames his interest in watching the tractors circling in the fields through the windows of his high school with his lackluster grades in chemistry. Haesloop readily reveals the secret to creating a structure that is this beautiful, minimalist and simple. “It takes a lot of work,” he says with a chuckle.
Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and 3 kids, ages 7 to 10
Size: 2,500 square feet (232 square meters); 3 bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms
Location: Sonoma County, California
Year built: 2013
The owners named the place Hupomone Ranch; “hupomone” is a biblical term meaning “joyful endurance and steadfastness.” It’s an apt moniker, as that is exactly what it took to build a home here. “The property had been fallow for 30 years or so,” says Haesloop. “There was a collapsing shed where the house now stands. There was what had once been a farmhouse on the property, but apparently it had been used as a goat barn before being abandoned.”
Remnants of both practical farm life and mystery were everywhere; the landscape was marked by a maze of cattle fencing, a long-unused well and a surprising number of old bathtubs. “The family saw the beauty of the land,” says Haesloop. “But there was a lot of clearing and editing that had to be done to bring it back to life.”
The front of the home is nearly opaque, but peering through the front door, you see a hint of what is to come on the inside. “Entering the house, you catch only a glimpse of what’s beyond the doors,” says Haesloop. Stepping into the interior, there is what Haesloop terms a visual explosion, thanks to a back wall made of glass.
Interior designer Erin Martin “absolutely understood the grand architectural gesture in this room,” says Haesloop. “She matched it with her own bold move.”
When paired with the dramatic image, the custom leather ottoman tooled with images of flowers and a honeycomb pattern seems to speak to thevaqueros (cowboys) of yesteryear.
In that spirit the architects created a large eat-at island, a window seat where guests can relax while meals are prepared and an oversize window that can completely open to the garden.
A narrow skylight runs along the gabled roofline, allowing a ribbon of light to define it and wash down the walls.
The paneling throughout the house is rustic resawn cedar painted white. “It’s highly textured but not too rough,” says Haesloop.
Tub: Vieques, designed by Patricia Urquiola for Agape; light fixture: custom, Erin Martin
In a statement, the owners say, “The family wanted a retreat where urban-dwelling friends and family could engage in working with the land. Adults and children have been happy to plant, garden, build, operate farm equipment and join together at the end of the day to cook and share a communal meal [at two] large harvest tables. Our favorite part is the serenity and peace of the land.”
Clearly, the work has paid off — but perhaps there is a kind of magic to this house after all, as many people appear to be under its spell.
Architects: Turnbull Griffin Haesloop (design principal Eric Haesloop plus Jule Tsai and Mark Hoffman)
Landscape architects: Lutsko Associates
Interiors: Erin Martin Design
Contractor: Sawyer Construction