The hospitality suite at Paul Hobbs Winery is everything the surrounding production buildings are not: crisp, refined, and detailed to a T. Owner and international winery consultant Paul Hobbs stays here comfortably when he’s in town, but the long, linear building also is a corporate meeting center and a stylish setting for wine-tasting events, often with food pairings by celebrity chefs.
Dubbed Lindsay House, it was phase two of a master plan for the 19-acre property, whose working buildings have barnlike shapes and pitched metal roofs. “The form of the winery buildings is based on their function,” says architect Howard J. Backen of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects, Sausalito, Calif. “The Lindsay House became a foil, a very simple wall.”
The house’s segmented walls express the floor plan. To the left of a formal foyer is the most public realm—a cozy, art-filled room for intimate wine tastings. To the right, two vestibules lead into a larger living/dining area. This room, where Hobbs hangs out, also can be arranged for corporate events. On opposite walls are a 750-bottle wine refrigerator for displaying sample releases, and a long, slotted fireplace. Full-height pivoting doors flanking the wine fridge lead to a professional-grade kitchen. An office and Hobbs’ bedroom and bath are located behind the kitchen. “The full-height doors continue when you enter the private area,” Backen explains. “You don’t end up coming to a different aesthetic.”
Builder Jim Murphy and Associates (JMA) rose to the challenges of Hobbs’ exacting expectations. While the wood-frame building’s construction was straightforward, its strong axial symmetry, where every line ties back to something else, meant mapping out the smallest details before construction began. Cleanout plugs in the honed-concrete kitchen floor, for example, had to be centered on the control joints. “We knew a control joint would come off the pocket door and cross the kitchen,” says project manager Michael Quesenbury. “The cleanout was perfectly placed 10 months before we put the casing on the door.”
Features and finishes were chosen to engage the senses. Floors are white cement mixed with bronze lapis sand. To bring out its color and texture, the concrete was lightly honed with a rotary machine, and, once cured, a handheld machine fitted with finer and finer grinding pads. The dramatic gas fireplaces created another construction puzzle. Their openings are so large that a concealed air curtain was necessary to prevent them from pulling conditioned air out of the room. A make-up supply fan located on the roof distributes air through chases concealed in the walls and discharges the combustion air out of grilles hidden in the fireplace surrounds. An exhaust fan in the fireplace flue draws the hot air and carbon dioxide out of the firebox.
Even flawlessly planned projects encounter conflicts, though. The day before the hot tar roof was to be installed, Hobbs decided the acrid smell would spoil the scheduled grape crush, so JMA tarped the building until the crush was over. “We respected his wishes,” Quesenbury says. “When we understood the level of perfection he was requiring of us, he became easier to work for.”
Builder: Jim Murphy and Associates, Santa Rosa, Calif.; Architect: Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects, Sausalito and St. Helena, Calif.; Engineer: Summit Engineering, Santa Rosa, Calif.; Landscape architect: Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture, Berkeley, Calif.; Fire features: Colombo Construction Corp., Brooklyn, N.Y.; Project size: 3,840 square feet; Site: 19.2 acres; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Tim Maloney. / Resources: Countertops: Redding Metal Crafters, Silestone; Dishwasher: Miele, Hobart; Entry and patio doors: Arcadia; Exterior siding: Fleetwood; Garbage disposer: Insinkerator; Hardware: Hafele, Valli&Valli, FSB, d line; HVAC: Carrier; Insulation: Owens Corning; Interior doors: Healdsburg Door & Sash; Interior walls: TBC Artisanal Plasters; Kitchen and bath fixtures/fittings: Dornbracht; Kitchen cabinets: Lasertron; Motorized shades: Lutron, Phifer; Oven: Wolf; Paints/stains: Benjamin Moore; Pizza oven: Mugnani; Refrigerator and freezer: Sub-Zero; Windows: Fleetwood.