Written by Victoria Van Vlear
Napa Valley in Northern California is known for its luxury houses and vineyard getaways. When Greg Faulkner of Faulkner Architects came on to help a family reinvent their vacation home, they went with a modern barn home look that suited both the property and the nearby winery culture. Here’s a Q&A with Greg on the process of the home building, and the results of this beautiful modern barn home.
American Farmhouse Style: Was this modern barn home a complete rebuild of a house that was already there?
Greg: This is a complete rebuild on the footprint of a 1950s ranch house that had been remodeled many times.
AFS: Did the homeowner want to incorporate the old house into the new modern barn home design? If so, how did you do that?
Greg: As a first step, that was the direction. After the an initial concept was developed, the owners felt it was too complex and wanted a simple, minimal barn-like atmosphere with lessons taken from the old design. The kitchen is located to the east, close to the original cooking place, to take advantage of the morning sun and distant view to the mountains that form the Napa valley. The living area and fireplace are similarly informed by earlier patterns of settlement on the site.
AFS: How did you design the modern barn home to fit so well into the surrounding countryside?
Greg: Grading and moving of earth were minimized—the barn-like form was buried into the hillside and cantilevered over it in order to leave the slope of the site intact. Redwood repurposed from a nearby mill on the California coast is left unfinished. Corrugated steel roofing oxidizes in patterns created by the local weather. Together they are live materials that change with the weather and show their history in patina over time, connecting them to place.
AFS: What made you choose the modern barn home look?
Greg: The client was inspired by the feeling of the old tack barn on the site that we renovated into a hang out with screened sleeping porch. The family of four stayed there during the design and construction of the Big Barn. The feeling of staying there had a “return to the simple things” type of effect on them that nourished their urban conditioned souls. They keep a garden and bees. The agricultural environs of Glen Ellen are populated with a rich history of barns and farmhouses. It is how just how they build here. To do anything else would be out of place. Barns in general are modern in their minimal presentation that excludes things like overhangs, windows and fireplaces. We built on this direction and were committed to achieving the necessary components required to make a comfortable house while working within the familiar vocabulary of the barn.
Like the look of this modern barn home? See this renovation rescue a 100+ year old barn! Of course, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for more daily inspiration and farmhouse style.
Victoria is the brand leader and editor of American Farmhouse Style. She shapes the editorial direction of the brand, both through the physical magazine and digitally on the brand’s website and social media platforms. As a home décor enthusiast and DIYer herself, she knows what a little paint and patience can do for a room! Victoria is also a wife and mom to two little ones: one on earth and one in heaven. With any (not so spare) time, she devours book and dabbles in fiction writing. You can follow her on Instagram @victoriavanvlear