An Inspiring Outdoor Wine Country Venue For The Mid-Century Design Lover


In Napa, a town known for its concentration of 19th century Victorians and rustic farmhouses, the 2,050 square foot Telesis House stands out as the only post-World War II home with Cultural Landmark status. It was designed in 1950 by Jack Hillmer, co-founder of the Telesis Group, a group of designers filled with post-war optimism who believed in sustainability and communal collaboration in making the world better place.

Joe Fletcher image

Hillmer saw architecture as art, seeing beauty in simplicity and in the natural finish of bare wood. He was so particular that he never designed more than 10 completed homes but the ones he did drew wide acclaim in architectural and lifestyle publications like LIFE magazine. The Napa home – a fine example of his contribution to Bay Area modern design of that era – is light and open, and crafted with natural materials that bond with the landscape and views: old-growth, unfinished redwood, local Basalite blocks, floor-to-ceiling glass panels and stainless steel. The dynamism of the design is inspired by an unravelling hexagon spiral of 120 degree angles that opens up to the outdoors, crowned by a folded-plate ceiling.

All the rooms face outdoors. Joe Pugliese photo

By 2014, when SF architect Katherine Lambert of Metropolitan Architectural Practice and business/creative partner Christiane Robbins acquired it, it was in need of major renovation and they made extensive repairs while re-designing the kitchen and baths for modern day living and better circulation.

Joe Fletcher photo

The passive solar design include wide, cantilevered overhangs and south and east facing exposures that give beautiful views of the eastern range. The home is insulated with recycled denim.

Jetztzeit Studios photo

The couple now rent out the one-of-a-kind space for events, said Lambert “The Telesis House harkens back to something more – an embrace of the social.”

The home is located in the cooler southern Carneros region of Napa Valley, suitable during the hot summer for this outdoor-only events venue. For details, check the Telesis House website.


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