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Ashford weeHouse

Santa Rosa, CA

This minimalist, modular-friendly design indicates “artists live here”. It provides for seeing all the way through the house to The View from the entry door.

The 2017 Tubbs Fire erased the previous dwelling and all of its contents, all of the artists’ work. The paving and patio infrastructure needed to be preserved for practical and permitting reasons.

Two boxes conceptually make up the plan: one public box, wrapped in a custom formed copper, for the kitchen + dining + living rooms, and one private box containing two bedrooms and two baths. The public box is a tube connecting the South side entry with The View to the North. These two boxes pull apart to create an entry, a gallery, a screen porch, and circulation.

At the seams between the boxes and highlighted cuts into the shells, are birch wood skins and recesses forming skylights, a stair, a screen wall, and the living room wrap that give relief to the otherwise mostly all-white palette.

The house is a quiet place without being sterile—embracing the owners’ own graphic black and white and highly colorful art. It reveals changing conditions in a place with benign weather most of the year. A heavier concrete plinth contains additional gallery space, an artist studio, guest quarters, a bathroom, and the mechanical and storage spaces.

Photos: Alchemy, Kotono Watanabe, Edward Caldwell

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