Vineyard Oaks, Napa Valley
One of the first design projects I took over on arrival to Napa was a small subdivision of 14, fairly conventional residential homes. Healthy Buildings wanted to make these oustanding, high-end wine country getaways, and so a rethink of the floorplans to a more contemporary, resort-style open concept design began. What we ended up with was 5 unique floorplans, with giant kitchens complete with wine-bars, 16′-wide sliding glass doors that opened to the vineyards, and much more generous bedroom suites with walk-in-closets and 5-piece spa-style bathrooms. Every unit is targeting LEED Gold for Homes, and will include net-zero-energy PV systems, and rainwater/greywater systems. After a long discussion about whether to pursue Passivhaus goals or not, we decided that the airtighness ration of Passivhaus (0.5 ACH@50Pa) were simply too onerous, and did not provide any significant energy savings when compared with R2000 standards of airtightness testing (1.5 ACH@50Pa). I had hoped to slip in some more contemporary styling on the elevations, but since the project was approved with the elevations drawn up by the previous architect, all we could really do was tweak the fenestration and materials a little bit – oh – and lose the chimneys of the original design, since chimneys are an artefact of the ‘carbon-burning-era’ and these homes don’t need them.
Major green features here are increased thermal mass (double-layer-drywall) to take advantage of night-time cooling, tall automated awning windows and clearstorey windows to dump heat at night, and xeriscape or drought tolerant landscaping, as well as green and healthy materials and robust insulation to exceed the new Title 24 requirements. As the marketing team wished for a more naturalistic rendering style we asked my friend and former employer Jon Worden (of Jon Worden Architects) to provide a hand-drawn overlay (on top of ArchiCad generated perspective images) rendering complete with people and plants, and the results illustrate the wonderful humanistic drawing style he is so well-known for! See the PDF Documents with full descriptions and floor plans below: