Russian River Studio
My practice is strongly influenced by the practice of Joe Esherick, with whom I worked for many years. For me, his often-quoted “How would a farmer do it?” means designing buildings that make sense on their sites, whose practical approach to materials and construction details ensures that they will last and whose design has a straightforward, simple beauty.
Designed for a photographer and a writer as a multi-purpose space for painting, drawing, writing, photography, creative dreaming, holiday meals, small workshops, and overflow guests, this 864 SF building with porch and terraced extensions frames the top of the hill above a small existing dwelling. Metal siding, used to better protect the shaded north side, wraps the east end of the house at the transition to the porch-covered entry and wood board-and-batten used on the rest of the walls. Large, colorful wall panels at the interior serve as accents for the otherwise white walls and open to reveal work spaces. The large, light-filled primary space, with polished concrete floors and a ceiling painted blue between exposed wood framing, adapts easily to the changing uses.
Green Features +/-
- Small size with open, versatile plan allows for conservation of resources and reduced carbon footprint.
- Sited and shaped to maximize daylight and natural ventilation.
- High-performance glass used in doors and windows. Wood windows and doors with exterior aluminum cladding prevent thermal bridging, lengthen life span, and reduce maintenance requirements.
- Concrete floors for thermal mass.
- Low-use water fixtures in bath and laundry.
- Western Red Cedar for all but the north side of the house; locally harvested and naturally resistant to rot and decay.
- Metal siding on north side for resistance to mildew and decay, a common occurrence on north-facing wood and stucco-faced walls in this climate zone.
Project Team +/-
- Builder: Mike Samuelson Construction
- Interiors: David Wakely and Sharon Smith with Cathy Schwabe
- Structural Engineering: Ingraham De Jesse Engineers (Nellie Ingraham)
- Photography: David Wakely
Publications and News +/-
- Best Contemporary design in the 2015 Marvin Windows Architectural Challenge, a juried competition that recognizes excellence in the use of Marvin window and door products across six categories: Contemporary, Transitional/Eclectic, Traditional New Construction, Remodel/Addition, Commercial, and Exception Merit.
- 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas, Francesc Zamora Mola, Harper Design, Harper Collins Publishers, 2015.
- Micro-Cottage by Architect Cathy Schwabe: Building on a Regional Modernism, Dan Gregory, Eye On Design, May 31, 2013
- 10 Rock Wall Ideas for a Style-Strong Patio (Houzz)
- 5 Creative Studios and Cabins Right in the Backyard (Houzz)
- Modern Studio Inspires Creativity (Houzz)
- Designer's Touch: 10 High-Performing Home Offices (Houzz)
- Lessons From a Small Studio: What a well-designed small studio can teach us about designing better homes (Fine Homebuilding)
- Regional Modern: Northern California Architecture (Houzz)
- Heat Your Space in Style with Today's Word-Burning Stoves (Houzz)