Pre-fabULOUS: Sonoma Residence by CSS Architects

I keep saying I can't afford to buy the type of house I'd like here in California. But these prefabs are getting more beautiful everytime I look. Granted, one still has to pony up quite a bit of dough for property in the sunny state, but if I could find an affordable piece of property, I'd love to plunk down a house like this one in Sonoma.

This new 2000 square foot house is on a 5-acre flat parcel within an existing grove of walnut trees. An existing house, which was on the edge of the property, was demolished and replaced with this in the heart of the site to take advantage of the orchard beauty.

The site:
The house was carefully located to nestle up to the existing trees and to be within the field, so that it became a pavilion in the landscape. Hardscape, softscape and trees were added to create a blended effect and to provide outdoor living spaces. The swimming pool is located on axis with the house and further takes advantage of the setting.

The house:

The design is rooted in the notion of radical simplicity for aesthetic effect and for budget. The house is a 20ft by 100ft box with a slightly sloped roof, which is then counter-posed with the metal roof for effect, and for shade. This metal canopy is also there to link the house to the legacy of ‘farm vernacular’.

The house has exterior walls and a roof built from SIPS (structural insulated panels), which replaces typical ‘stick framing’. This expedites construction, provides for higher insulation, and is a more sustainable way to build than typical methods.

The interior and materials:
There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and one large open space for cooking, eating and living…all of which open up equalaterally on both sides to the site.

Off-the-shelf 8ft high sliding glass doors are the windows and the doors – proving light, views, and vivid connections to the land. Cabinets are painted MDF to blend in with walls and ceilings, while floors are pre-finished bamboo and carpet. The two fireplaces are gas only to avoid the burning of firewood. Light fixtures are standard exterior types with metallic finishes. The exterior walls are clad in vertical slats of stained cedar over painted plywood.

Location: Sonoma, CA, address withheld per owner’s request
Type: new home, 2000 sf
Completion: May 2005
Owner: Carrie Neiderer
Budget/Cost: under $200 per square foot
Architectural, Landscape & Interiors Team:CCS Architecture (Cass Calder Smith)

Design Principals: Cass Smith, Aaron Maret
Landscape Contractor:
Sonoma Mission Gardens Landscaping; Sonoma, CA

Metal Canopy Roof
Stoltz Metals; Richmond, CA

Engineer: Paul Geddings; Grass Valley, CA
General Contractor: Jim Allen; Sebastopol, CA
Photographer: CCS Architecture (scouting shots)

C'mon people, it's only a dollar.