Committed modernists, the Von Steins wanted a house that engages the site and circumstances of its Sonoma Valley location, and hoped to spend as much time outside as inside. Primarily for two people, this house also accommodates visiting family and guests. A wall slicing through the site serves as a spine to organize circulation and structure. Alternating indoor and outdoor rooms step up the hill: at the bottom a sunny court and at the top, a shady garden. At the center is an outdoor room for living/dining, wrapped by the butterfly-roofed main living spaces and master bedroom. An entry tower contains bedroom/study and an observation/sleeping platform. A smaller tower serves as a guesthouse, and forms the walled Philosophers Garden. Fixed sunshades, operable awnings, and trellises keep the sun at bay.


Photography credit: Richard Barnes, Cesar Rubio