Inspired architecture for modern living—that’s how San Francisco–based firm Walker Warner Architects characterizes its work, and the rugged Portola Valley Barn is no exception. Tucked amongst the eastern hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Portola Valley is renowned for its quiet, rustic charm. So, naturally, the team at Walker Warner wanted to pay homage to it in a chic, contemporary way.
The four-acre property serves as a retreat of sorts, with the clients looking for both a comforting getaway, as well as a spot for work. "Our clients reside next door to this project, but love their existing home and did not want to make substantial changes that would disrupt their current lifestyle," explains Greg Warner. "They were able to acquire the adjacent property with the vision to design an ‘annex’ of sorts, to accommodate this program without impacting their lifestyle."
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The result is a myriad of three constructions, housing an office, a guest suite, and a great room—the perfect combination of work and play. "We intentionally diluted or ‘pulled’ the overall project program apart by featuring three distinct ‘barn-like-pieces,’ each associated with the primary programmatic elements," says Warner. "The three primary pieces are ‘linked’ or connected via a program that is situated in recessive and/or low-slung portions, intentionally downplayed, visually."
The expansive windows near the den area allow sweeping views the envelop the space. The architects used the barn-like structures to pay homage to the rituals of Portola Valley, where one is likely to find a stable full of horses one day, and a business meeting full of investors the next.
"At a distance, the barn has a rural character, but as you get closer, the building becomes much more sophisticated and contemporary," Warner says. Sleek metals juxtapose with reclaimed oak wood to create a space that’s playful and different, yet neutral enough for the views to grab all the attention: "Nothing about the design competes with the natural beauty of what you see out the window."
Related Reading: A Hardworking Home Puts a Modern Twist on the Farmhouse
General Contractor: Gentry Construction, Inc.
Landscape Design: Denler Hobart Gardens
Lighting Design: Eric Johnson Associates
Interior Design: Selby House Ltd.
Cabinetry Design: NorthStar WoodWorks
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