A family with a one-acre lot on an old pear orchard in the Sacramento Delta approached us requesting a Mission Style – English Manor – French Provincial home. However, in a region where the typical house of any size is built of wood, their desire for a formal, historically referential dwelling was at odds with the realities of their program and the character of the site. While developing a workable plan, we sought a vocabulary that would meet their needs for comfort and privacy while taking full advantage of the surrounding landscape.

Together, we designed a courtyard house with deep-eaved, shallow-pitched rooflines, in which interlocking volumes define living zones and wrap around a central open-air room, dissolving boundaries between interior and exterior while at the same time creating natural borders between family areas and private space. Family-centered rooms open generously onto the courtyard while private rooms look away, providing for a balanced way of life.

PHOTOS BY Tim Street-Porter