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California Barn Vernacular Contemporary

Howard Bankston Post

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Postmodern, Howard Bankston Post

Project Name

California Barn Vernacular Contemporary


500 Palomar Drive


Project Status


Year Completed



4,102 sq. feet


Kate Fitzgerald andTom Rice


  • General Contractor: Castillo Construction

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Project Description

This new contemporary residence, an all new design done for previous clients, combines its' heritage as horse country with a modern flair for volumetric drama and innovative lighting solutions. The high form running the length of the living room and master suite, which we call the monitor, is strategically punctuated by windows which bring light into the center of these major spaces as well as providing arresting visual interest. This form was derived from the traditional "California barn" vernacular, thus blending the old with the contemporary.

The design incorporates numerous energy efficient features including passive convective cooling via remotely operated windows in the monitor, whole house ventilating fans, and super-insulation values via monolithic expanding spray foam.

A design theme making innovative uses of glass runs throughout. The totally glazed gallery space running along the front of the house, from the living room to the master suite, prevents an intrusive sightline from the street directly into the living room by a triple laminated glass panel. The middle layer of this panel is tempered glass, which was deliberately broken, which crazes almost uniformly throughout, just like a tempered glass door. This crazed layer was then encased on both sides by laminated glass layers, thus producing a screen that is both visually arresting and utilitarian for the owners' privacy.

Another glass feature are the "his" and "hers" toilet rooms at one end of the cathedralled and skylit master bath. Each toilet room's "walls" are full-height fogged glass, giving the owners visual privacy while still admitting the dramatic natural light. In addition, in the 2 headed master shower, glass block walls on 3 sides are of a more obscure pattern below and a less obscure pattern above, to increase natural daylighting while protecting privacy.
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