Hennessy House

Napa, California

It’s a bit of a drive from downtown St. Helena, but the feeling of isolation and the spectacular views of Lake Hennessy make the journey well worthwhile. The low-slung contemporary plaster and steel home was originally designed in 1979 by Napa architect Andrew Batey to be nestled into an oak-studded slope facing the sun and the view. The current owner undertook a major remodel in 2015, and engaged Roche+Roche to rethink the landscape immediate to the house, and design an ‘Argentine Room’, inspired by the owner’s images.  The outdoor pavilion features stone walls, a wood decking floor, a woven-willow roof, a wood-burning fireplace and a sliding barn door that can cover either the grilling nook, or the steel firewood storage shelves.   At 400 s.f. of interior space, it comfortably accommodates lounge seating in front of the fireplace, and an 8-person outdoor dining table.  Additional stone walls connect the Argentine Room to the detached garage, separating the vehicular space from the pedestrian space, and creating a sense of arrival.

A series of stone steps and pads flanked with ‘No-Mow Fescue’ meadows leads past the Argentine Room and under a mature live oak, past a custom stone and steel water feature, to the main terrace and front doors.  A retractable fabric shade and comfortable sectional seating group create the ideal late afternoon hangout space, convenient to the kitchen and overlooking the pool area below and Lake Hennessy on the valley floor.  Beyond the main terrace and convenient to the master suite, a new outdoor shower allows for alfresco bathing with amazing views.

Stone stairs lead down to the existing pool on its own terrace. Construction of stone-gabion retaining walls, a green-roof covered pool equipment pad, new wood decking, and No-Mow-with-stepping-stones pool deck are scheduled for 2020.


Architecture:  Andrew Batey Architecture

Construction:  Bruce Tucker Construction

Landscape Construction:  Oxbow Landscape Contractors, Inc.

Photography:  Eileen Roche Photography