The ambitions for this small home in rural Sonoma, CA extend far beyond the domestic concerns of its owners. Having recently relocated from the East Coast to the San Francisco Bay Area, the couple, in conjunction with Mork-Ulnes Architects, sought to create a space to appreciate and foster a connection between the individual, community, and landscape.
In many ways, the Triple Barn is influenced by the form and historic social functions of the farm, many of which dot the landscape in Sonoma. The thrice gabled building, clad in a modest rusted metal, define three zones associated with the farm: workshop, retreat, and forum. The workshop centers around the large and free-flowing indoor-outdoor kitchen with adjacent vegetable garden, used by homeowner and chef Hollie Greene Rottman on occasion to host healthful cooking seminars for parents and children. The retreat is the private living quarters of the couple, located in the east where the morning light enters and which is the most private part of the building. The forum is located in the heart of the building, where the workshop and retreat meet. It is a more intimate setting for friends and guests to gather in good company in front of a wood-burning stove while taking in an expansive view of Sonoma’s rolling hills, forests, and farms.
Built with an open floor plan, the house and its furnishings were cleverly designed to provide the family with many small private nooks. The orange chairs in front of the big picture window, the seating area in the kitchen, the deck off the kitchen, the chairs by the garden, and the fire pit, all offer serene spaces to retreat to. Vintage light fixtures and industrial furnishings were strategically placed in the home to root it to its agricultural heritage.
The interior furnishings of the house were selected with a dusty sunbleached palette to allow the brightness of the house to reign and suggest that the furnishings had been in the space for a long time. Since the house can read as one room, the palette of each room needed to be complementary to the next.
The wooden patio and indoor living space merge thanks to the clever design of the patio doors, thus doubling the space for hosting dinner parties (up to one hundred guests) or one of Hollie’s informative cooking classes.
The kitchen thus becomes the heart of the house.
“This was the first time we had the opportunity to design a kitchen,” says Hollie. “A few elements were important to us: space to prep food together and have space to move freely but smartly – everything within easy reach, which by definition doesn’t require great space, just well thought-out design”.
One of the key features of this custom-made kitchen is the hidden pantry that stores dry goods, appliances, and the many pottery dishes, platters, and glassware the couple have collected over the years. The open-faced drawers are easily accessible for cooking equipment and daily use, keeping the kitchen space clean and spacious. A handmade walnut farm table was designed for the couple and their friends to dine together.
Photography by Bruce Damonte.
If you enjoyed this project be sure to check out this “micro-farm” inspired farmhouse.
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