Sonoma Residence

Architect: Alchemy Architects, LLC

Owner: BJ Siegel

Location: Santa Rosa, California

Category: Up to $1.5 million in construction cost (category two)

The Sonoma Residence is a celebration of the luxury of less. The house’s openness belies its small size, with floor to ceiling glass on the view sides evaporating the membrane between house and site.

Sonoma weeHouse: a small, ultra-minimal, prefabricated home based on Alchemy’s original weeHouse®—was customized in collaboration with the client, Apple's Real Estate and Development Senior Design Director, and an architect himself. It is composed of two open-sided boxes set on concrete plinths nestled on the edge of gnarled oaks.

The primary structure (640 sf) features a whitewashed oak bed-box separating the living and bath areas. For shipping, this structure was designed as two modules: the main box, and a bolt-on porch, which cantilevers 10 feet into the dramatic landscape.

"Beautifully done. Compact footprint and minimal site impact." ~ Jury comment

The accompanying guesthouse (330 sf) is an abridged version of the primary structure and was also shipped essentially complete. A large whitewashed oak wardrobe forms the bathroom wall, while providing storage and privacy.

Both structures feature steel frames, 9 ft. tall sliding glass walls set into custom corrugated weathering steel boxes, and ipe interiors with custom oiled oak doors on stock cabinetry.

Additional information

Factory: Fidelity Builders (Albany, OR )

Engineer - structural: Ed Tornberg, Tornberg Consulting;  Ericksen Roed & Associates

Engineer - mechanical: Jim Dunlevy, M&E Engineering

Lighting designer: Alchemy

Interior designer: Alchemy, BJ Siegel

Cabinetwork: IKEA bases with white oak custom fronts by Fidelity  Builders; Woodsport bath pedestal

Concrete: Marr B. Olson

Steelwork: Alchemy / Discount Steel Architectural

Metal panels: Metal Sales


Carolyn Adams, AIA (Chair), Carolyn Adams Architecture PLLC, Kirkland, Washington

Michael Antenora, AIA, Antenora Architects LLP, Austin, Texas  

Steve Kordalski, AIA, Kordalski Architects Inc., Cleveland, Ohio

Brandon Frazier Pace, AIA, Sanders Pace Architecture LLC, Knoxville, Tennessee

Elizabeth Whittaker, AIA, Merge Architects, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts

Image credits


Brian W. Ferry


Geoffrey Warner


Geoffrey C. Warner


Geoffrey C. Warner


Geoffrey C. Warner


Geoffrey C. Warner


Geoffrey C. Warner