Snell Sanders Residence, Santa Ynez

A new home designed by Berkeley architects Fernau and Hartman on a remote twenty-acre hill top site consists of a series of architectural volumes ascending up a steep slope. Our primary goal was to contain the native gardens close to the house with a circumambulatory path that marks the transition to twenty acres of California oak grassland.

We wished to frame the architecture in the landscape, thereby bringing together the surrounding native landscape, the open and joyful house, and the newly planted native materials. The first challenge was to work with the changing grades to be able to create cultivated spaces and a spacious front garden. A second challenge was to design an environmentally sensitive quarter-mile driveway that climbs 1000 feet. A third challenge was to design an enclosure to keep the clients’ dogs on the property. The end result is a private retreat that exudes positive energy and a sense of well-being.