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In California Wine Country, A Family Campground (Plus Lap Pool)

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In California Wine Country, A Family Campground (Plus Lap Pool)

May 11, 2020

A former boss of San Francisco architect Malcolm Davis once described houses as “a few rooms in case of rain,” emphasizing the connection of any structure to its surroundings. In 2015 Davis had the chance to put his mentor’s adage into practice when he designed an off-the-grid house for a nature-loving family on 165 acres in Healdsburg, California. With only three rooms, almost no furniture, and wood stoves for heat, “it’s kind of the sparest version of what a weekend house can be,” says Davis. Let’s take a look.

Photography by Joe Fletcher, courtesy of Malcolm Davis Architecture.

A 30-inch Corten fence borders the backyard to keep snakes out. A few low-water lawns dot the property to function as &#8
Above: A 30-inch Corten fence borders the backyard to keep snakes out. A few low-water lawns dot the property to function as “campgrounds” on which visiting friends and family can pitch their tents.
Davis installed a go-to industrial favorite of his—Stonco Vaportight Lights—as sconces flanking the breezeway entry into the pool house.
Above: Davis installed a go-to industrial favorite of his—Stonco Vaportight Lights—as sconces flanking the breezeway entry into the pool house.
The indoor spaces are spartan, meant to function as indoor campsites. Rais woodstoves provide heat.
Above: The indoor spaces are spartan, meant to function as indoor campsites. Rais woodstoves provide heat.
The floor coverings are by Chilewich. The white lounger is the Taavi Chair by Loll.
Above: The floor coverings are by Chilewich. The white lounger is the Taavi Chair by Loll.
All the &#8
Above: All the “interior” spaces—both an indoor/outdoor screened porch and the three fully indoor rooms—are lined with rotary-cut, white birch plywood.
The kitchen is on the screened porch and is made of entirely off-the-shelf industrial restaurant components.
Above: The kitchen is on the screened porch and is made of entirely off-the-shelf industrial restaurant components.
Contractor Simon Fairweather built the frame for the screened porch out of solid ipe wood. Though a simple detail, said Davis, &#8
Above: Contractor Simon Fairweather built the frame for the screened porch out of solid ipe wood. Though a simple detail, said Davis, “the contractor’s precision keeps it looking clean and intentional.”
Davis exposed the standard wall framing in the bathroom, forming convenient storage cubbies above the sink. The color of the purple door at left—which leads to the shower—was chosen by one of the clients&#8
Above: Davis exposed the standard wall framing in the bathroom, forming convenient storage cubbies above the sink. The color of the purple door at left—which leads to the shower—was chosen by one of the clients’ two girls (each got to choose one door color).

“I love exposing structure,” said Davis, “and telling the story of how something is built.”

The bathroom has a concrete floor and shower of galvanized sheet metal.
Above: The bathroom has a concrete floor and shower of galvanized sheet metal.
An outdoor shower made of ipe wood.
Above: An outdoor shower made of ipe wood.
Davis was inspired by the concrete water troughs of working ranches when designing the lap pool; for more, see Swimming Pool of the Week: A Rustic Family Campground—with a Lap Pool on Gardenista.
Above: Davis was inspired by the concrete water troughs of working ranches when designing the lap pool; for more, see Swimming Pool of the Week: A Rustic Family Campground—with a Lap Pool on Gardenista.

For more camp-style spaces, see:

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on May 17, 2017.

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