When the Baird family sought a weekend escape from the city, they asked Malcolm Davis Architecture to design a second home that would immerse them in a remote and sunny valley of Sonoma County, California. The San Francisco-based architects, who also designed the Bairds’ home in Berkeley, delivered a stunning off-grid cabin that focuses on the outdoors. The solar-powered retreat, named Camp Baird, is a modern interpretation of the traditional dogtrot home and is naturally cooled with no need for air conditioning.
Set within 165 wooded acres west of Healdsburg, Camp Baird offers indoor and outdoor living within two structures—a prefabricated car-and-barn-equipment metal shed and a main custom cabin—placed in an L-shaped formation. The buildings are clad in Corten metal to minimize fire threat and topped with galvanized metal roofs that reduce heat build up. Full-height glazing opens the home to the south where the living footprint is extended to an expansive ipe wood porch and an 82-foot-long solar-heated lap pool. The south-facing backyard also features a concrete outdoor fireplace for grilling and cooking, a partially screened outdoor shower, and a variety of recreational features including a treehouse, rope swing, and archery area.
The off-grid and energy-efficient Camp Baird houses three rooms that can be fully heated by Rais wood stoves. Heavy insulation keeps the interior cool on hot summer days. Landscape architect Cary Bush of Merge Studio designed the landscaping made up of drought-resistant native plantings. The rooms are set on a concrete slab floor and are divided into two halves by a breezeway that allows for cross ventilation.
Images © Joe Fletcher