Oak House

Napa, California

For this contemporary home, the clients – an art gallery owner and entertainment industry executive – wanted a simple architectural expression to provide a background for their collection of contemporary indoor and outdoor art. Iconic, without ornamentation or color, the home provides a foil for both art and landscape. Set back a distance from the road, the family compound is designed with a strict geometry. The goal for the landscape design was to keep the effect simple and modern to support the architecture.

Set on a nearly six-acre site, the long, narrow property is distinguished by existing oaks lining seasonal creeks and a grove of mature redwoods. Roche+Roche tended to the existing oak trees and augmented the small grove of redwoods with additional trees to create a stronger presence, underplanting the grove with Dogwoods, Oakleaf Hydrangeas, Sedges and Feather Reed Grass. Gradual steps of poured concrete lead to a bocce ball court set in the afternoon shade of the redwoods. 

The long approach to the home winds through mowed meadows punctuated by perpendicular lines of plantings, including Lime Tuff, Mat Rush and Slender Veldt Grass, while a double rank of October Glory Red Maples encloses the art barn and helps to obscure the view of the house from the street. A fruitless Olive tree marking the main entry is one of numerous olives placed throughout the property. To the rear, the house overlooks a large, rectangular lawn, bordered by broad swaths of grasses, in a composition that is simultaneously formal and informal.

 Both indoor and outdoor artworks are carefully incorporated into the architecture and landscape plan, and views to the landscape provide cohesion. A floor-to-ceiling window in the entry reveals architectural Corsican Hellebore in the foreground with a view of a distinctive Pyramidal European Hornbeam in the distance. The outdoor dining pavilion is lined with groupings of Japanese Anemone, Slender Veldt Grass and Cape Rush, and a kitchen garden with raised beds fulfills the wife’s long-held dream.



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Architecture: Nick Noyes Architecture

Interior Design:  ABD Design Studio

Construction:  Tim Agapoff Construction

Landscape Construction:  Bertotti Landscaping, Inc.

Photography:  Matthew Millman