Farmhouse Build – Inspiration

Here is what this blog is really all about. Dominique and I, and the build of our “forever house” in the Wine Country of the CA Central Coast. We have found our 10 acre parcel, at an affordable price. What remains is to design our house, develop the plans, apply for permits, and then build it!

When it came to picking a style for our house, it was pretty clear cut. It would be built in the Modern Farmhouse style. Dominique and I fell in love with Modern Farmhouse on a trip to Austin TX in 2014. This style blends in quite well with California wine country surroundings.

There is one particular house which has inspired the design of our own. It is located in Healdsburg CA, the Russian River wine country.

Healdsburg House with Multiple Connected Structures
Central Courtyard at Healdsburg House

When if comes to design, if you like something, copy it. The concepts we relate to on the Healdsburg House, and plan to implement in our own design, are these:

  • Single Story Throughout
  • Large Central Courtyard
  • Single Home made up from Multiple Connected Structures
  • White Exterior with Metal Roof

Here are a couple of not-so-great snapshots from Google Earth showing how the Healdsburg House is composed:

Satellite View of Healdsburg House
Another Satellite View of Healdsburg House

These pictures clearly show the bullet points listed above. This house has a rather large pool. We would like to have a pool eventually, but much smaller (just a dipping pool). One can also see that the architect here stuck to very strict proportions, in terms of the width of the structures and the pitch of the rooflines (app. 12:12 it seems). Although this is true to the authentic modern farmhouse style, it limits the interior spaces as they become quite narrow. One can see that here:

Rather narrow interior width of Healdsburg House.

The width issue is probably why the architect added a bump-out for the dining area (to the right near the back of picture). Dominique’s design for our house takes some liberties with strict modern farmhouse design to better accommodate the interior spaces. This makes the structures wider, and necessitates that rooflines be somewhat less steep (lest they become awkwardly tall at the peak). So our design may lean a bit towards something that might be termed “Modern Farmhouse-Ranch” (you heard it here first).

Were there any other homes that we have taken inspiration from? Heck yes, too many to shake a stick at. We have hundreds of pictures that we’ve collected from various sources that provide large or small snippets of inspiration. Could be a color, a layout, a wall, a roof, a window. Here are just a few:

Contemporary Farmhouse in Napa. Note assemblage of structures, standing seam roof, white exterior (batt on board), gravel driveway, drought tolerant landscaping, square window in gables. All features we like.
Same house as above. Note central courtyard with outdoor eating and lounging areas, water feature, industrial shade structure.
Same house. Cool vegetable garden (farm to fork). Note narrow door with characteristic window pane pattern. Square window in gable, typical lighting fixtures above door ways. Galvanized downspouts.
A different interpretation of the “assemblage of structures” concept. Here we see two-story structures lined up in a row.
Can’t you just see yourself chillin’ in this spot? I sure can.
Gallica Winery (Napa Valley). Assemblage of structures, different colors and textures. Drought tolerant landscaping.
We love the board-formed concrete walls, the Corten steel (rusty metal), the Bocci Ball court, and the wispy grass.
Perhaps a tad sparse for our taste, but still spectacular. Note the very effective shade structure in the upper right. We do plan on incorporating something similar.
Cool Corten roof. Copper downspouts. Shou Sugi Ban siding. We love black homes, and this charred cedar siding is one way to do it. Not sure if it would pass muster with our County in terms of fire resistance. Although Shou Sugi Ban is fire resistant, you still have to convince officials about that. All they see is wood.
More Shou Sugi Ban. We love the way the two colors contrast, light and dark. Again in the farmhouse theme, making it seem as though the structures were added at different times.
Another take on Shou Sugi Ban siding.
Check out these sliding shutters. Very clever.
Dominique would love to do metal doors like this. I would even be capable of building them. But they are horrible for energy efficiency and difficult to get past California Title 24, Part 6.
Board formed concrete, Corten steel planter, and super cool Gabion wall (metal grate structure filled with stones).

So far I’ve only discussed the exterior. This is what I tend to gravitate too. The interior, that is Dominique’s realm. There will be plenty to come on that as we progress.

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