This house in Healdsburg embraces the outdoors with large pivoting walls that blur the boundaries between inside and out. Created in collaboration with Arterra Landscape Architecture, the project comprises a 195-sq-metre main home and a 79-sq-metre guesthouse.

Aiming to secure an escape away from the buzz of Downtown San Francisco and the pressure of working in a tech company, the owner purchased a rural plot north of the city in Healdsburg. It was a quiet haven of tranquillity, offering solitude which was exactly what they were longing for.

Feldman Architecture were brought on board and, with nothing but a mobile home left on site, their scope for innovation was without bounds.

Their original design comprised of a compact kitchen, primary bedroom, and guest house perched atop a hill overlooking Healdsburg. The graceful addition seamlessly expands the home’s private wing east, inserting an updated, secluded primary suite overlooking expansive views of the valley floor and distant hills.

A new kitchen designed for both entertaining and family meals is nestled into the protected intersection of the public and private wings, spilling out onto the outdoor living, dining, and pool spaces. Additionally, a new detached structure housing a yoga and Pilates studio, doubling as a media centre, sits close by, creating a calming hideaway tucked into a wooded grove.

The home’s public wing runs along the ridge of the hill and houses at the heart of it: the Great Room, under a simple shed overhanging roof, immersed in multidirectional views and both morning and afternoon light. With soaring ceilings granted by a slanting roof and the defining feature of generous glass walls, it is a refined, light-filled space which is ideal for entertaining. This innovative operable window system allows this contemporary build to welcome the striking landscape inside. Perforated panels line its lofty ceilings which discreetly absorb sound during larger social events.

The four oversized counterweight glass doors open dramatically on each side, transforming the space into an outdoor pavilion whose flush concrete floors extend into a poolside patio to the west and a terrace and fire pit to the east, offering comfortable outdoor living in both hot and cool weather.

With the oversized doors drawn, the site offers one sweeping, continuous view from the pool, through the great room, and down into the distant town below. Subtle architectural detailing in the space adds both refinement and functionality – sound absorbing perforated panel ceilings and discrete stone strips across the floor visually delineate zones without physical barriers.

From its intersection with the great room, the home’s private wing reaches towards views; to the west, the programming flows from the garage to a media room opening onto the pool and the second bedroom at its rear. The bedroom looks out through another oversized operable glass door into the landscape beyond. To the east, the new primary suite integrates a private study that opens onto a meadow as well as the firepit and terrace.

With dark-stained cedar siding, softly glowing plaster walls, and low stone landscape walls that anchor the building, Sonoma Wine Country 1 offers an updated, confident and thoughtful response to both its site and the client’s changing needs.

location: Sonoma, California, USA | architect: Feldman Architecture – Jonathan Feldman: AIA LEED AP + project principal; Leila Bijan Kuehr: project architect | interior designer: Ann Lowengart Interiors |landscape design: Lutsko Associates | general contractor: Jungsten Construction | structural engineer: Strandberg Engineering | photography: Adam Rouse