A San Francisco family of four asked us to create a retreat from their urban lifestyle, reusing the footprint of an existing 1950s ranch house in Glen Ellen, California, while building in a consistent way with the area’s rolling hills and agricultural structures.
Glen Ellen has many barn-like houses that confusingly mash up two design vocabularies, pasting residential-style overhangs and fenestration on barn forms in a kitschy blend. In contrast, this 3,900-square-foot house, dubbed the “Big Barn,” draws authentic inspiration from the site’s existing Tack Barn, which we had previously renovated into a bunk house. A simple, rectangular, two-story form emerged with an asymmetrical gabled roof. The shorter side of the roof faces the southwest sun and reduces heat gain to the structure. Fenestration is limited to this exposure as well and is organized as thin, full-height ventilation shutters that reference traditional barn building.
The entry, a larger version of the vertical slit elements, is recessed for shading. The fireplace and chimney, foreign to the barn typology, are displaced from the structure with glazed joints. The east side is more open to the view and morning sun.
Location: Glen Ellen, CA
Team: Greg Faulkner
Civil Engineer: Adobe Associates
Contractor: Redhorse Constructors
Landscape Architect: Michael Boucher Landscape Architecture
Photographer: Joe Fletcher
Structural Engineer: CFBR Structural Group
Jones, Lauren. “A Barn-Inspired Retreat in Northern California Hangs over a Hillside.” Dwell, 9 March 2020. Web.
McKnight, Jenna. “Faulkner Architects Perches Big Barn House on Sonoma Valley Hillside.” Dezeen, 20 March 2020. Web.
Jesus Revilla, Maria. “Esta Casa de Vanguardia se Inspira en Los clasicos Graneros.” Elle Decor Spain, 06 April 2020. Web.
Karpukhina, Ekaterina. “House in Sonoma Valley.” Architectural Digest Russia, 3 April 2020. Web.
Barandy, Kat. “Faulkner Architects’ Modern “Big Barn” Echoes Rural California.” Designboom, 13 April 2020. Web.
Jewell, Nicole. “Reclaimed Wood Home Resembles Barns in Sonoma Valley.” Inhabitat, 3 April 2020. Web.