Hupomone Ranch, designed by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects.

Hupomone Ranch, designed by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects.

Credit: David Wakely


For many, the idea of a perfect weekend retreat is sun, surf, and sand. But for one young San Francisco family with three children, the idea of hoeing, planting, and working the land had a much greater appeal. They chose a nearly 160-acre plot in the Chileno Valley—a Homestead Act land grant that was kept intact over the years—that is a mere 3 miles from downtown Petaluma, Calif. The area continues to be more actively agrarian than its famed wine country neighbors of Sonoma and Napa to the east, and it was that ranching spirit that drew the family to a retreat inspired by a barn, which is arguably the most iconic farm building of them all.

“Our office has worked with the barn typology a lot over the years, going back to Bill Turnbull’s Sea Ranch houses. That is in the firm’s DNA,” says principal Eric Haesloop, FAIA, of San Francisco–based Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects, which designed the house. “There’s something about the quality of barns, they sit really well in the landscape.” Working with landscape architect Lutsko Associates, Landscape, the lush land tract was curated, removing dilapidated old structures and some trees to enhance the expansive views that run the length of the valley. The modestly sized 2,498-square-foot house was sited to take advantage of those views.

But for all of the agrarian influence on the structure, “this isn’t a barn, of course,” Haesloop says. “It’s a house. We drew on the barn but framed it in a really minimal palette. That became the organizing principle.” That palette included western red cedar walls and a corrugated metal roof, all painted white. The angles of a traditional barn structure were abstracted to allow for a large double-height central living area with a loft, and family spaces such as the kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms were placed under the lower eaves to either side, in what Haesloop terms “the saddlebags” of the house.

The interior finishes of wood, concrete, and stone maintain the minimalism, as do the furnishings, which were selected by Erin Martin Design. The aesthetic conceals a rigorous sustainability strategy: A 4-inch-thick concrete floor is inlaid with radiant heating and cooling, and the painted cedar-panelled walls are filled with closed-cell spray-in insulation. The combination of these systems created enough thermal mass to allow the house to be naturally ventilated through large windows, and to receive LEED Platinum certification. A 10-kilowatt solar array offsets the family’s energy usage, and a field of geothermal piping, buried 6 feet under the meadow to the rear of the house, provides the heat and hot water.

Behind the house, past the meadow, is an in-ground pool, complete with a pool shed, solar hot-water heater, and built-in benches that the owner fashioned from eucalyptus trees harvested from the site. (An outdoor dining table for 30 from the same wood is next on his to-do list.)

As for the family’s farming aspirations, they are starting small: A kitchen garden is the sole focus of their food production for now, but they hope to expand it to the scale of a community garden. They’ll likely not take on agro-giants any time soon, but there may yet be a Haesloop-designed roadside farmstand in the future.

The clients were interested in a very minimalist palette, so the architects clad the abstracted barn form in western red cedar, painted white, topped by painted Nu-Wave corrugated metal roofing from AEP Span. The monochromatic approach creates a striking contrast to the surrounding landscape.

The clients were interested in a very minimalist palette, so the architects clad the abstracted barn form in western red cedar, painted white, topped by painted Nu-Wave corrugated metal roofing from AEP Span. The monochromatic approach creates a striking contrast to the surrounding landscape.

Credit: David Wakely

The 274-square-foot pool shed also draws from the barn typology, but with more classically modernist lines than the main house. The structure features a storage space, an outdoor kitchenette with stainless steel countertops, and a solar hot-water heater to heat the pool.

The 274-square-foot pool shed also draws from the barn typology, but with more classically modernist lines than the main house. The structure features a storage space, an outdoor kitchenette with stainless steel countertops, and a solar hot-water heater to heat the pool.

Credit: David Wakely

Living room with view of kitchen and adjacent meadow.

Living room with view of kitchen and adjacent meadow.

Credit: David Wakely

The double-height central living room is the core of the house, and a loft over the entry porch allows for a bilevel gathering. The 4-inch-thick concrete floors of the ground level give way to salvaged white oak from Restoration Timber on the stair treads and loft floor above.

The double-height central living room is the core of the house, and a loft over the entry porch allows for a bilevel gathering. The 4-inch-thick concrete floors of the ground level give way to salvaged white oak from Restoration Timber on the stair treads and loft floor above.

Credit: David Wakely

The kitchen opens out onto the living room and is lined with Belgian Bluestone countertops. Windows overlook the meadow, pool, and garden.

The kitchen opens out onto the living room and is lined with Belgian Bluestone countertops. Windows overlook the meadow, pool, and garden.

Credit: David Wakely

Living spaces such as the master bedroom, children’s bunkroom, and master bath are also located under the eaves on either side of the central living space. Finishes remain elemental throughout, with operable aluminum windows and painted wood walls in the bedroom.

Living spaces such as the master bedroom, children’s bunkroom, and master bath are also located under the eaves on either side of the central living space. Finishes remain elemental throughout, with operable aluminum windows and painted wood walls in the bedroom.

Credit: David Wakely

The master bath features Carrara Marble countertops and handmade clay tiles from the Grove Brickworks collection at Waterworks.

The master bath features Carrara Marble countertops and handmade clay tiles from the Grove Brickworks collection at Waterworks.

Credit: David Wakely

Drawings



Project Credits

Project  Hupomone Ranch, Petaluma, Calif.
Client  Withheld
Architect  Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects, San Francisco—Eric Haesloop, FAIA, Jule Tsai, Mark Hoffman (project team)
GeneralContractor  Sawyer Construction
LandscapeArchitect  Lutsko Associates, Landscape
MechanicalEngineer  Meline Engineering
CivilEngineer  Adobe Associates
Structural Engineer  MKM & Associates
Geotechnical Consultant  Bauer Associates
Energy Consultant  Loisos + Ubbelohde Associates
LEED Consultant  Michael Heacock + Associates
Interior Design  Erin Martin Design
Size  2,498 square feet (main house); 1,051 square feet (garage); 274 square feet (pool house)
Cost  Withheld

Materials and Sources

Countertops  Belgian Bluestone (kitchen); Carrara Marble (bath); Stainless steel (pool house kitchen)
Doors  Liberty Valley Doors libertyvalleydoors.com
Exterior Siding  Western red cedar, painted
Flooring  Concrete radiant floor; Restoration Timber restorationtimber.com
Tile  Waterworks (bath) waterworks.com
Roof  AEP Span aepspan.com
Skylights and Windows  Wasco Skylights wascoskylights.com; Blomberg Window Systems blombergwindowsystems.com