Project Description

Napa Farmhouse

Rockstar Ray Manzarek moves from Beverly Hills to a Napa Farm making a radical shift in lifestyle. From shopping on Wilshire to sipping Savignon Blanc rocking on the front porch and growing all the vegetables needed, Ray passes away suddenly. The house is sold to Francesca, a born dirt farmer and vintner who wants to complete the vision without altering the Manzarek design. The distinguishing aspect of the project was making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear accomplished by re-purposing a 1980’s house and garage into a credible farmhouse and barn.

When observing the rural Napa countryside, one can find the same kit of farm parts as can be seen across rural America. Organizing and re-defining the kit of parts would be the bigger task but one of the earliest decisions was to re-purpose the existing house and garage rather than bulldoze it. The challenge was the two different programs were pushing well past the original 1980’s envelope. Formerly known as the Lil Ole Modern Farmhouse, the architecture conveys at a glance the classic qualities until the front door opens. Here one is facing an open steel stair and airy interior with steel beams and pipe columns.

The solution emerged with the Manzareks where adhering to covenants of farm shapes, materiality and color references led to the transformation of a quality farmhouse with some playful adaptations of farm parts. With the second owner, the outbuildings loosened those tethers for the Koi pond, pool, party barn and art studio.

Napa Farmhouse Checklist:
√ Red Barn Tractor Shed
√ Metal Silo
√ Clapboard Farmhouse
√ Palm Trees
√ Greenhouse
√ Chickens
√ Fruit and Nut Orchard
√ Vegetable Beds
(Livestock, Windmill, Water Tower not included)

The innovation comes from understanding the patterns and adapting them to the story of this property. Ultimately, the Napa Farmhouse is hedging toward self-sufficiency. The owner grows an enormous amount of food here and raises laying chickens reducing the trips to the market. When sun goes down, the farmer kicks off her dusty boots and relaxes in comfort in a fully stocked family home. While this working farm uses a kit of functional parts to reduce the reliance on the outside world, this farm is not without creature comforts.

Comforts of Home Checklist:
√ Party Barn
√ Pool and Spa with fountains for grandchildren
√ Hot tub and outdoor shower
√ Art Studio
√ Outdoor kitchen and pizza oven
√ Tailored landscape and Koi Pond
√ Art Gallery
√ Extra Bedrooms for visiting family
√ Accessory Dwelling Unit

Relate how the project came to be including the client’s goals and what impact the finished project has made on the client, users, and/or the community.

For Farmer #1, there was a contrasting act with the crisp interiors, cedar and cherry woods, periwinkle steel beams and windows and the more iconic exterior of the farmhouse. The wrap around porch with rockers, a friendly leaning rail and a pale blue ceiling to contrast the white siding. Views to the classic palm trees. The metal silo is clad in box rib siding.

A new bathroom addition breaks out of the farmhouse box projecting towards the pool. It is wrapped in a cement fiber board rainscreen on a completely different module than the clapboard house. The inside plays with a modern take on skipped sheathing – a common barn roofing solution. The cabinets are all made of cedar and the ceiling detail is cedar with a pal periwinkle paint to connect the bold big window over the tub.

Phase 1 – Manzarek’s Big Moves:
Existing structures gutted to studs and re-envisioned
All new layout, porch details, and materials inside and out
Upper floor addition doubles as covered porch
Garage attic is turned into an accessory dwelling unit
First garden and chicken coops are installed

For Farmer #2 there was a hierarchical study to not overshadow the farmhouse. The addition of the pool and landscape, party barn and art studio opened up some challenges with the property line angling in against the grain of the logical and orthogonal relationship to the road. Holding the square relationships worked with the house views and the sun angles for the pool patio.

The Party Barn has a chicken coop shape with board and batten siding in deference to the farmhouse. The design twist was the roof solution. Using a transclucent insulated panel, the shadows from the oaks are appreciated from inside and the evening glow of lighting inside is experienced when outside. Three custom steel trusses support the roof. Opeing up to the pool deck with a pair of 10 foot glass doors, a steel canopy provides shade for soft seating.

Another humble outbuilding, the Art Studio hinges off the Party Barn to open to distant views over the field with a glass roll up door. The orientation is due south for the solar panels that heat the pool.

Phase 2 – Francesca’s Big Moves:
Ground floor bedroom suite is added
All landscape is new except for existing trees
Living room expanded to part of wrap around porch
Pool and Party Barn is added
Art Studio is added with PV for pool
Relocated larger growing area to front property including chicken coops, greenhouse


Napa, CA