It Takes TwoAuthor:Lindsey Shook
“With all projects we try our best to listen, and translate what we hear into a place,” says architect Nick Lee. “We’re listening to our clients, the contractor, the land and place, site conditions, consultants and our own thoughts. The best idea doesn’t have to come from us, but we need to open enough to hear it and use it.” This approach not only helps Lee and his team achieve their client’s goals but also enables effortless collaboration with partners on the project who share his same sentiment including designer Jennifer Wundrow who worked in tandem with Lee on the design of this Sonoma retreat. “We approach each project with the belief that every space should reflect the people who inhabit them,” notes Wundrow. “We believe it is our expertise that helps guide them and hone in on what that final vision for their space becomes.”
The clients—who are based in Mountain View—were looking for some time to purchase their dream vacation home in Wine Country. We believe it is our expertise that helps guide them and hone in on what that final vision for their space becomes. “This is our clients’ second home and one that they hope to move to full-time once their children complete schooling,” says Wundrow. “They are avid travelers, very family-focused and love to entertain, especially when it comes to entertaining their extended family.”
After searching for years, they decided to start from scratch and build a custom home that would suit their lifestyle and feel fully immersed with the outdoors. “We spent a lot of time getting the house placed in the correct location on the site,” says Lee. “We moved the house far enough South so we could capture views to the North and the East.”
The 5,200-square-foot modern farmhouse home provides ample space for hosting family. “Indoor/outdoor entertaining is a way of life in this Sonoma home,” says the designer. “Our clients can host events seamlessly with plenty of space for each family member to enjoy and spread out. The home can sleep up to 16 people and really has any amenity you could ever need.”
Wundrow and her team clad the home in repurposed barn wood that added an enveloping warmth while falling in line with the clients’ desire to design a home utilizing environmentally friendly materials. “The finishes used throughout the home feel natural and earthy which ground each space aesthetically to the home’s environment. Understated and well-curated but also keeping a consistent theme throughout the house,” says Wundrow.
Like most projects challenges arose and solutions were discovered including configuring an integrated sliding door system and creating a nook for the family room TV, however, Lee’s perspective on the overall achievement remained focused on the clients’ happiness with each space. “Ultimately, we’re excited when our client loves the house,” he notes. “I feel that we’re about creating places for people, rather than creating objects to be looked at. This means really listening to the clients about ideas on how to maximize storage, to defining the outdoor spaces with the structures.”
Wundrow shared Lee’s passion to please the clients and during the big reveal shares, “The client cried, they were so overwhelmed and excited to see the house completed. They walked around saying they couldn’t believe it was theirs. It was a very special moment to see them appreciate all of the details we had worked hard to achieve.”