Project Description

This weekend house for two sisters and their very close families in the Russian River wine country north of San Francisco, has been in the family for over 60 years. A large part of our assignment was to hear the history and stories of the property. We were then able to implement a sustainable design that not only brought the property into the contemporary world, but incorporated some of the memories of young girls growing up, camping, and building on the property. We opened up overgrown areas, recreating links between outdoor spaces that had been lost over time, and added several functional activity spaces, including a small lawn for volleyball, and cleared land for seating and camping in the old horse pasture. We improved the outdoor dining area with the addition of a redwood slab counter and modernization of the old kitchen shack, and added facilities for screening outdoor movies, which are view-able while floating in the remodeled pool or new hot tub.
With new permeable paving, low water use and low maintenance plants, a weather-sensitive “smart” irrigation controller and other sustainable features, the property emphasizes enjoyment, with the majority of maintenance is from harvesting the fruit trees.

Construction by Millsap Degnan & Associates and Bertram Pools

Ecological Attributes

  • recycled and re-purposed materials
  • permeable paving
  • green walls and roofs
  • appropriate plant selection
  • solar heat gain reduction
  • edible fruits, berries and plants
  • planting to attract beneficial birds, butterflies and insects
  • planting for habitat
  • long life lamps and fiber optics
  • defensible space and fuel reduction strategies
  • recycling waste construction materials
  • recycling organic waste