PERCHED HIGH IN THE HILLS, A THOUGHTFULLY DESIGNED NAPA VALLEY HOME PAYS HOMAGE TO MOTHER NATURE.
Warm, gracious, and full of trust and purpose are not words often associated with residential projects. But the creation of an Upper Napa Valley home by Signum Architecture, Shawback Design, Cello & Maudru Construction and Jack Chandler Design warranted such descriptors, and many more that speak to a truly symbiotic and fulfilling partnership. "It turned out to be an unbelievable team of artisans and craftspeople and businesspeople," says Shawback Design's Penny Shawback. "The stars lined up."
The homeowners—a couple who moved from Southern California—spent three years searching for the perfect site for their next home. "When this property came up, [the husband] felt it was the right property for them," says Signum Architecture's Juancarlos Fernandez of the 40-acre forested site. "They had a spiritual reaction to it."
After presenting three different models to the clients, a decision was made to create a home with two pavilions divided by a glassed-in breezeway. One pavilion houses the family's private spaces: the primary bedroom suite, offices for the husband and wife, and a meditation room. The other pavilion—the main building—is a three-level space that contains the living, dining and kitchen areas, and the guest quarters downstairs. An infinity-edge pool overlooks the valley, while the pavilions surround a heat-and-wind-protected central courtyard used for entertaining.
At 10,000 square feet, the home is large but doesn't stick out in the landscape or feel overly massive. "It looks more like a 4,500-square-foot house," says Fernandez. "We didn't want to have this big mansion competing with nature." A clever floor plan—like putting the guest areas out of sight downstairs—made that possible, as did the home's placement. "It doesn't look impeding in any way," adds Shawback Design's Damon Savoia. "It's really just a couple of rooflines. And then when you step into that courtyard you realize you're in a sanctuary."
The home's interior design also honors the land. "We had bark from the oak trees and other pieces of earth from the site in our office for a year at least, and that helped guide our process," says Savoia. The interior's soft yet modern feel comes courtesy of the materials used throughout: limestone sourced from outside Venice, Italy; French oak; and plaster. The stone played a big part in the overall design scheme. "One of the material highlights is the Italian limestone used extensively in the project, from a rough-split stone on the building's walls to the more refined paving stone used throughout," says Bill Schaeffer of Cello & Maudru. "With the architect, we visited the Grassi quarry in Italy to see the material quarried, discuss finishing options and see firsthand how the designs would be brought to life."
Understated, classic furniture and fabrics in a light palette were key. "They wanted the architecture and the views to be the prominent [feature] of the house," says Savoia. "The house had to embody easy living, functionality and simplicity, and everything had to be soft, really comfortable and built to last."
When reflecting on the project, all parties involved agree that it was extraordinarily special and pushed them to do some of their best work. "Every project has its own personality and holds up its own sense of values," says Savoia. "This project was warm, gracious, and full of trust and purpose."
Upper Napa Valley
Cello & Maudru Construction
Jack Chandler Design
Living room sofa
Kitchen cabinetry and stainless steel countertop
CAMERON DESIGN HOUSE
Primary bedroom pendant
DESIGN WITHIN REACH
Kitchen bar stools
FIRST, LAST & ALWAYS
French oak flooring throughout
Living room rug
Living room coffee and side tables
TBC PLASTER ARTISANS
Wall treatment throughout
Powder room fixtures and pendant lighting