This rural estate is located on 60 acres of land in Northern California 40 miles inland from the coast.  The house is situated on the edge of a flat to take advantage of the slope in order to put another story below the main floor.  The client requested an octagon shaped house with a cupola at the top. The roof of the top floor and cupola are framed with rafters radiating from the center whereas the larger main floor has rectangular shed roofs on four sides alternating with triangular roofs in between.  All of the ceilings have exposed, highly finished wood beams.  There is hardwood or marble flooring throughout the two top stories.

The main entry is on (2nd) floor where the living room, dining, kitchen, 4 bedrooms, 1 bath and a compost toilet are located.   A custom built hardwood staircase spirals up and around a custom stone fireplace and centralized kitchen in the center of of the house. The 3rd floor is devoted to an office with built in hardwood desks all around the perimeter and window looking out to the mountains to the north and east.

The house is totally off-the-grid.  A field of solar panels lies to the south of the house, near the man-made, trout-stocked pond. A wind mill and back-up natural gas 12kw generator provide power during the winter months  There are vegetable gardens to the east of the house.  A gray-water system waters the orchard and parts of the gardens.  A compost privy provides fertilizer for the orchard and the non-edible plants.  The entry to the compost toilet is on the 2nd floor, between the bedrooms.  The composting toilet alternates use between two light protected, heated and well ventilated chambers.  One is used while the other composts (about 8 months each).  If used properly, with the correct amount of straw and sawdust (careful not to use it if you’re taking antibiotics), there is no smell and excellent compost results….. really!  I lived  in my own house with a similar designed toilet for 15 years and was satisfied with it.

There is radiant floor heating on all floors with hot water supplied by a solar heating panels with natural gas backup.  The bottom floor is a concrete slab on grade insulated from the earth; the radiant heat hydronic tubing runs in the slab. The hydronic tubing for the upper floors is run between the joist, clipped into metal panels that distribute the heat evenly.

Most of the lumber in the house was milled from trees locally harvested. All the doors and windows were custom made in a local shop.  The exterior siding is reclaimed and resurfaced redwood finished with Sikkens CetolHLS translucent wood finish.  The interior beams and trim are mostly redwood also, planed, sanded and finished with coats of Seal-a-Cell and Armor Seal.

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