When Jodi Lynne and Matthew Adams loaded up their car and made the 3,000-mile journey from East Coast to West, they were entranced by the big skies and rolling ranches of Montana and Wyoming. So when the couple settled in Oakland—not exactly Big Sky Country—they couldn’t shake the idea that they needed a little more room to roam.
The couple began exploring what is left of California’s unexplored—or at least uninhabited—land and fell in love with an 80-acre parcel near Paso Robles’ San Antonio Valley.
When Jodi and Matthew purchased it in 2004 with dreams of planting a vineyard, actually building something there was almost an afterthought. “Our plans were always more about the land and less about the structure,” says Lynne. But the couple knew they needed a house, especially when they found out a baby was on the way. So after tearing some of their favorite images out of magazines, they reached out to Aidlin Darling Design, a San Francisco firm known for masterfully blending site sensitivity with innovative (and often award-winning) designs.
Partner Joshua Aidlin and firm principal Pete Larsen kicked off the project as they do almost all of their others: by packing up their tents, sleeping bags and sketch pads and heading out to the site for a 24-hour camping trip. As they tracked the pattern of the setting sun in the evening and saw how the valley filled with fog as dawn approached, they realized this project would be a tremendous study in subtleties. “Ten feet in one direction or the other would actually end up making a huge difference,” says Aidlin.
As the concrete-block walls of the single-story residence went up, the vast and all-encompassing view became more defined: The frames created striking landscapes, graphic vignettes and soothing backdrops.
The layout of the home followed the pattern of the sun, with the day’s earliest rays filtering into the master bedroom, the midday glare hitting the pool deck and the sunset playing out dramatically in the windows of the dining room.