Parti Shot: Cavedale Renovation + Addition by Amy A. Alper, Architect

When the October 2017 Tubbs Fire tore through this property in California Wine Country, it destroyed the guest house and heavily damaged the entry façade of the main house—an ’80s contemporary with wood and stucco siding and failing commercial storefront windows. Neither the guest house nor the main house took advantage of the stellar, 270-degree views from Mount Tamalpais to Sonoma Mountain. 

“Until the fire, the couple who own the house considered it ‘good enough’,” says architect Amy Alper, AIA. “They live in Silicon Valley and go up on weekends.” But the fire provided a tabula rasa to reinvent what the property could do for the owners. 

The first order of business was to fortify the existing house for greater fire resistance. Neolith sintered stone on a high-strength mortar bed replaces the wood siding and is coated to resemble Cor-Ten, and “a layer of fire resistive was added with a three-coat elastomeric stucco finish,” says Amy, in place of the original stucco. All new windows and doors and a landscaping refresh were also part of the scope of work. 

A new guest pavilion, however, is the dream space. Atop a first-level guest suite, an elevated entertainment room takes full advantage of the view sweep with indoor and outdoor lounge areas. Materials for the pavilion will mirror the new skin of the main house, with an additional metal mesh screen to shade the terrace. “The design intent of the whole project was born of designing the pavilion first,” says Amy. “The aesthetic goal was to be as fine-boned as possible.”

Cavedale Renovation + Addition

Sonoma, California

ARCHITECT: Amy A. Alper, Architect, Sonoma, California

BUILDER: Skaggs Construction, Santa Rosa, California

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Merge Studio, Sebastapol, California

PROJECT SIZE: 2,900 square feet (existing house); 2,000 square feet (addition)

SITE SIZE: 19.25 acres