Contemporary Retreat, St Helena

The goal here was to carve out a number of beautiful, easily accessible outdoor spaces where the owner of this stunning modern home nestled into a hillside above the Silverado Trail could relax with friends and family.

After spending some time at the site, we discovered that there was a lot of noise from traffic on the Silverado Trail and the valley below. So we designed a water feature as an element to help mitigate the sound of trucks roaring down the road. The water cascades into a pool of water with floating steps from a wall set at just the right height so as not to block the spectacular view of St. Helena Valley.

For the garden design, we used native rock hewn from the surrounding hills to create a series of terraces interconnected by a web of trails and finely built stone steps. A west-facing terrace, that captures sweeping views across the Napa valley, leads down to a south-facing culinary garden. A dining deck and grilling area, as well as a swimming pool, hot tub and outdoor shower, were sensitively sited so as not to disturb a lovely forest grove of native oaks.

The careful positioning of boulders and stonework, as well as graveled terraces, lends a sense of permanence and ensures the gardens are at one with the landscape.

Architecture: Pfau Long Architects