2021 Design Awards: Wine Country Residential Design by Amy A. Alper, Architect + Jennifer Robin InteriorsAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Architect Amy A. Alper and and interior designer Jennifer Robin each faced challenges with this Calistoga property—and both navigated them with aplomb. Alper was tasked with composing a new house with an emphasis on indoor/outdoor connections that also seamlessly incorporated existing site features like a meandering stone wall and an alfresco fireplace. “Architects typically strive for the ‘whole to be greater than the sum of the parts,’” notes Alper, “and with this project all the elements feel as if they had been planned together from the start.”
Alper’s scheme culminated in a nearly 5,000-square-foot residence with expansive windows, pocketing doors and soaring ceilings that spotlight sweeping views of the landscape, which includes a vineyard. The exterior materials—among them Napa Syar stone, cedar siding and metal roofing—were chosen for their inherent architectural beauty as well as their fire-resistive qualities. Once inside, Robin’s selections were “particularly important to balance the volume of the house,” says Alper.
“The home is strong, stunning and grand,” says Robin, who sought to “design the interiors in a way that would bring you back to earth—to humanize the experience by bringing the proportions down and comfort level up.” To that end, she maximized the scale of the furniture and lighting to imbue warmth and also introduced plenty of texture. In the dining room, for example, a plaster light fixture makes for a “dramatic statement piece that fills the negative space of the high ceilings,” Robin explains, while simultaneously creating a sense of intimacy.
Like Alper, Robin was mindful of the residence’s relationship to the outdoors. The neutral palette she chose consists of organic and muted tones along with rich, darker blues that evoke the color of the hills at dusk. “I wanted people to walk into the home and notice the natural surroundings first,” says Robin, “then slowly discover the surprises and thoughtfulness of the interiors.” – Anh-Minh Le