The “lay of the land” played an important role during the master planning phase of this project. When we walked and studied the land with the owner and the landscape architect, it became apparent that the ideal location for the main residence was on the south facing slope with amazing views and allowing natural winter light to flood the courtyard.
The Ranch blended in naturally on the gentle south facing foothills of Ashland and developed beautifully into a home for horses, cattle, alfalfa production, and a grape vineyard.
The water flow on the property, in the form of natural drainages and creeks, led to a master plan of interrelationships of multiple existing and new structures, riparian restoration and a clearer definition of uses on the property. The conversion of a substandard agricultural facility into the owner’s office, shop and auxiliary entertainment area (aptly named the “annex”), serves as the entry focal point to the ranch. The main residence was inspired by traditional barn forms abstracted into a contemporary ranch house. The master and sleeping areas create a courtyard facing south to capture winter sun and shield the great room from harsh northerly winds in all seasons. Features include ultra-high performance triple glazing, hydronically heated thermal mass concrete floors, and a masonry stove to offset heating and cooling loads throughout the seasons.
Across the creek to the south, the main barn houses both the owner’s horses and guest’s horses as well as incorporating a ranch manager’s office and living quarters. The barn represents a hybrid of conventional wood framing and heavy timber framing to bring an authentic historic quality to the building. Our role in coordinating consultants, contractors and the owner’s depth of experience with multiple equestrian facilities and applying it to the site specific location, relationship to the natural features, and the new residence, exemplifies the team approach we seek in our projects. We enjoyed and embraced the input of the owner, ranch hands, the contractor, and subcontractors to arrive at durable solutions while achieving the aesthetic goals of the project. Views and connections to the future covered riding arena, orientation towards winter sun along the length of the main stalls, daylight strategies via skylights, and orienting the traditional gable roof prow towards the entry approach informed our design decisions.