Cool Spaces: Triple Barn by Mork-Ulnes Architects

WORDS Cheri Morris IMAGES Bruce Damonte


Located in Sonoma County, California, and designed by Mork-Ulnes Architects for a chef and her family, this barn-style home is part residential retreat, part cooking laboratory.

Far enough from the buzz of the city to be ensconced in the peace of dense nature, yet close enough to ensure convenience, this contemporary hillside home takes cues from a chef’s philosophy and inspiration from the rural buildings seen in the area.

The location of the 160 m2 home was picked for its sweeping views of the unspoiled Sonoma Valley. Built almost into a grassy knoll, its metal cladding – dressed in the rusty, iron-red of the indigenous soil – is a stark contrast against the luscious surrounding greenery. Here, the home’s inhabitants are enveloped in uninterrupted forest vistas from almost every room in the house. They have access to meandering paths that take them into the depths of the evergreen forests and a five-bed vegetable garden that bears fresh ingredients to be used in the custom-made kitchen.

From the lower entry, a winding stairwell delivers you to a large window that frames the valley beyond. The kitchen, the heart of the home, expands outdoors under a large cantilevered eave and onto a fire pit in the garden. The living room leads to two guest rooms, an office and master suite. Vintage light fixtures and industrial furnishing give a nod to the home’s agricultural heritage, while a dusty, unbleached palette across the interiors allows for the play of natural light to take centre stage.

Love this nature-steeped home? Check out this Norwegian Cabin project by Mork-Ulnes Architects, here.