Located above Sonoma Valley in California, Box on the Rock is a five sided home designed by Schwartz and Architecture to take advantage of the panorama views while at the same time hiding a private courtyard centrally located and open to the sky above with a quadrilateral hole in the roof.
The 3-acre site has several underground waterways, and Schwartz and Architecture avoided any resulting moisture issues by setting Box on the Rock on a platform supported by pier footings.
See also: Geometric house designs
While the footprint and courtyard roof hole are not your standard squares or rectangles, neither are the side facades.
The side facade follows the slope angle before leveling out and then rising upward. It is an unusual and dramatic facade for what is a small 2000sqft house.
Since Box on the Rock is elevated, the back terrace is contained within the home’s footprint and sheltered by the overhang of the roof.
The exterior wall of the home that is located under the extended roofline is glazed from floor to ceiling.
The safety rails on the terrace are also glass panels allowing for as little obstruction from the panorama views as possible.
A staircase on the side of the terrace allows the homeowner to come and go from the natural landscape.
The front facade also incorporates stairs that lead down to the courtyard and to the main entrance.
Glazings on the back facade and on the courtyard wall allow the views from the back to permeate into the front garden.
The courtyard is accessed from the front yard as well as from the rooms that surround it on the other three sides.
With access to the courtyard on all four sides, the space is the hub of the home.
Between the courtyard and the back terrace is living room designed to enjoy the views.
While the living room is inside, its access to the two terraces makes it feel more like a sunroom then a living room.
To the left of the sunroom is the dining room and since this room is angles slightly differently then the living room, so too are the wood planks on the floor.
In front of the dining room is the kitchen and in front of the kitchen is the master bedroom.
Although most of the interior design is neutral, the kitchen features a vibrant blue subway tile.
Blue pops up in the Bed pillows as well as the workstation chair behind the dining room. What a great place to have an office nook, overlooking that view of Sonoma Valley!
When it’s time to take a break from working, the terrace is just a few feet away.
The house was designed to capture the morning sun and to make the most of the surrounding panorama.
Box on the Rock maintains warmth in the winter while at the same time avoiding the harsh heat of the summer.
At 2000 sq ft, the home is compact and designed for efficiency, it was also important to the homeowners’ to have as small an environmental impact as possible within their limited budget.
The central courtyard and the cantilevered deck where strategically carved out of the box allowing all the interior spaces to benefit from abundant natural light and offer access to a contained and protected outdoor space.
Schwartz and Architecture.
Photography by Bruce Damonte.
Box on the Rock is not the first house that Schwartz and Architecture have designed with a roof void over a courtyard; they also designed a gorgeous house for mobility impaired senior with a round oculus over a covered courtyard.