An Award-Winning Home With a Prefabricated Metal Shell Asks $2.3M
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An Award-Winning Home With a Prefabricated Metal Shell Asks $2.3M

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By Kathryn M.
Designed by Sander Architects, this gallery-style residence in Northern California features a dramatic, curved steel wall at the entrance.

Located in the heart of California's wine country, this Galvalum metal-wrapped, hillside home was originally the residence of an area sculptor, whose clay work inspired aspects of the home's distinctive design. Current owners Che and Cairenn Voigt, both fabricators and designers themselves, have filled the home with their own creative style.

After 14 years, the couple have decided to move on, but not without admiration for the distinctive qualities of their long-time home. "While we did not design the house, we feel the open space and light interaction has been key for inspiring our own creativity," says Che.

The approach from a cul-de-sac and down a long driveway reveals the home's horizontal placement along the hillside. Says Whitney Sander, principal and architect, "As you drive up the hill, you have a feeling there might be a good view to be seen from your destination. Once out of the car, I didn’t want to give away the view too soon, so I placed the entry behind the house."

The approach from a cul-de-sac and down a long driveway reveals the home's horizontal placement along the hillside. Says Whitney Sander, principal and architect, "As you drive up the hill, you have a feeling there might be a good view to be seen from your destination. Once out of the car, I didn’t want to give away the view too soon, so I placed the entry behind the house."

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5767 Trailwood Drive was originally built in 2003 by Los Angeles–based Sander Architects and awarded the AIA/LA Merit Award later that year. The home has been featured in numerous design publications over the years—including Dwell in 2004.

The frontal approach alludes to a deeply linear layout, while the exposed steel beams reinforce the home's industrial style. The exterior siding is actually a roofing product, dramatically lowering the home's maintenance costs. "It also has a clean look. The vertical, standing seams provide texture to the surface," adds Sander.

The frontal approach alludes to a deeply linear layout, while the exposed steel beams reinforce the home's industrial style. The exterior siding is actually a roofing product, dramatically lowering the home's maintenance costs. "It also has a clean look. The vertical, standing seams provide texture to the surface," adds Sander.

As you enter on the ground floor, expectations are transformed—from the horizontal outward appearance to the verticality of a dramatic, 22-foot torqued steel wall and floating staircase.

Sander describes his classical inspiration for the progression of spaces: "I learned this delayed gratification from Vignola's Villa Giulia in Rome. In Santa Rosa, we called this 'choreography' of the entry sequence."

The twisted, inward-focused gallery entrance was inspired by structural qualities of the original owner's tall-neck clay pots.

The twisted, inward-focused gallery entrance was inspired by structural qualities of the original owner's tall-neck clay pots.

A grated steel bridge at the top of the stairs leads to the home's main living areas.

A grated steel bridge at the top of the stairs leads to the home's main living areas.

Che reflects on the view, one of his most cherished features of the home: "You have no idea what you’re going to see when entering the front door, but once you begin to ascend the floating, curved staircase, you get an idea for the incredible view that awaits."

A large great room is framed by exposed beams and expansive windows that provide a first glimpse of the home's picturesque view overlooking the "Valley of the Moon." 

A large great room is framed by exposed beams and expansive windows that provide a first glimpse of the home's picturesque view overlooking the "Valley of the Moon." 

"Looking out over the treetops is a favorite of ours, but the absolute best is seeing a full moon rise over the mountain across the valley," adds Che.

The torqued steel wall provides a backdrop to the living and dining spaces, adding a rounded dimension to the otherwise linear forms.

The torqued steel wall provides a backdrop to the living and dining spaces, adding a rounded dimension to the otherwise linear forms.

A spacious kitchen sits behind the living room and is open to a smaller family room that features a wood-burning fireplace and built-in bookshelves.

A spacious kitchen sits behind the living room and is open to a smaller family room that features a wood-burning fireplace and built-in bookshelves.

Exposed steel beams and vaulted ceilings continue into the master suite, which also features bamboo flooring, large windows, and a walk-in closet. 

Exposed steel beams and vaulted ceilings continue into the master suite, which also features bamboo flooring, large windows, and a walk-in closet. 

The couple made several key upgrades since purchasing the property in 2005, allowing them to fulfill their own design vision for the home. When considering a new outdoor patio, they were both inspired by the striped pattern of the Galvalum metal siding: "The exoskeleton was originally prefabricated, brought in, and put together like an Erector Set. You know, like the toy we played with when we were kids," says Che.

"The light gauge metal frame is one of our early Hybrid House constructions," says Sander. "The prefabricated frame was also extremely economical." The cost for the entire frame was around $50,000 at the time.

Underneath the shade of an old hardwood, the lush patio is easily accessible from the kitchen and features an entertaining area with hot tub. 

Underneath the shade of an old hardwood, the lush patio is easily accessible from the kitchen and features an entertaining area with hot tub. 

The couple worked with a masonry team to design the outdoor space and rebuild an original stone retaining wall. The final concept continued the linear pattern of the metal siding down and across long rows of slate tile. Custom wooden benches were also added for seating. "The result helped punctuate our outdoor space, while allowing the natural surroundings to encapsulate the property," comments Che.

As if rising up from the hillside, the smooth metal facade adds a sculptural quality to the home. 

As if rising up from the hillside, the smooth metal facade adds a sculptural quality to the home. 

5767 Trailwood Drive is currently listed for $2,300,000 by Mary Anne Veldkamp of Coldwell Banker.

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