The 20-acre plot occupied by the Retrospect Vineyards is located in Windsor, California and it produces pinot noir grapes for the nearby wineries. In 2010, its new owners bought the property and decided to make a few changes. They wanted to get more involved in the wine-making process so they decided they wanted to have a home there.
The building was designed by Swatt Miers Architects and was intended to serve as a vacation home so it had to be easy to live with. The architects applied all the major concepts that define their practice. They paid attention to the way that the building relates to the land and the surroundings, they designed it with open plans both vertically and horizontally and they made sure there’s a smooth continuation between the indoor and outdoor spaces.
But there were also a few particularities that made this project unique. This modern family retreat is located at a working vineyard and the architects had to keep the two functions separate while offering the owners a sense of privacy.
They designed three structures: a main house, an adjacent barn and a detached guest suite. The barn contains the equipment and the materials for the vineyard and is clad in the same type of stone as the main house so there’s continuity between the structures.
The main house has the barn on one side and the beautiful views of the vineyard on the other. The team envisioned it with two distinct facade treatments and a T-shaped plan. The northern side of the house features an opaque entry court with a vertical wood screen while the southern side features double-height glazing instead of solid walls. Two driveways separate the commercial and the residential activities and there’s also a large parking pad for trucks.
The design and the structure of the main house are simple and modern. The public and the shared spaces are on the ground floor. The living and dining areas feature a huge sliding glass door that connect these spaces to the outdoor pool terrace.
A fireplace wall is the main attraction for the casual lounge area which also features two vibrant red armchairs that break the neutral chromatic palette.
The dining table and chairs are black, sleek and lacking unnecessary details or ornaments. The low-hanging pendant lights add a touch of sophistication to this area.
The spacious kitchen also opens to the pool terrace and had views of the beautiful vineyard through floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. The color palette here is simple and neutral with warm tones matching those used in the living area.
A similar design approach defines the office space. A long, continuous window spans the length of the minimalist desk, offering expansive views of the landscape and letting in natural light. Again, the warm, neutral colors and the choice of materials make this a very welcoming space.
The spacious bathroom is open and airy, with a transparent glass shower, an oval freestanding tub and a warm gray palette throughout.
The bedrooms are on the upper level. The master suite and the kids’ room are separated by a bridge overlooking the double-height living space. This level features full height glass windows that open the rooms to the outdoors and the expansive views.
In addition to the main house and the barn there’s also a detached guest suite. It functions as an independent structure but it’s connected to the main structure through a low roof. The space between these volumes serves as a shared outdoor kitchen and lounge area with a terrace and views of the vineyard on two sides.