Residential Design

Vol 4, 2017

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Vineyard Farmhouse SONOMA, CALIF. AMY A. ALPER, ARCHITECT When it comes to renovations, pulling threads is an expensive proposition. A client comes to you with a house on a pretty piece of land. They're price sensitive and they think to themselves, "All it needs is a few tweaks to tailor it to my needs." Amy Alper, AIA, had such a client for Vineyard Farmhouse in the Russian River appellation of Sonoma. His main prize in purchasing the property was its established vines, but he also needed a house that support- ed his remote work in the tech field and his aspiration to grow pinot noir grapes for the wine industry. The existing house was a rather lackluster single-level build- ing, mostly likely sourced from a plan book—but that was not its worse trait. "My client bought the property for the view and the vineyard," says Amy. "The house was cold, it was dark, and it didn't engage the landscape." Custom builder Andy Bannister of Earthtone Construction describes it this way, "It was a funny old house built in the 1970s. It wasn't very well put together—really it was more like a cardboard box." Nonetheless, it was at the tail end of the recession when the design work began, so everyone was concerned about costs. "When we started, some clients were still pulling the plug on proj- ects. Others went ahead, but looked for places they could cut," Amy recalls. So, she and Andy set about saving what they could of the existing structure. "We leveraged a lot. Everything came down to the foundation, and a handful of main-level walls that we were able to leave intact and work with." At least the funny old house was sited on the sweet spot of the property. VOL. 4, 2017 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGAZINE.COM 59

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