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St. Helena, CA

A Barn is Born

In late 2006, Mary Sikes Associates, a St. Helena architectural firm, was hired to design a classic California barn for a property in St. Helena. The goal was that it look like a structure that had been there since the 1940’s.

From start to finish, the project was to be as green as possible - including the use of solar voltaic panels, so that the property would be electrically self-sufficient. The building was to be oriented 222 degrees from true north to give the best exposure for the solar panels.

The barn is a mixed-use structure. It contains an 850-square-foot second living unit on the top floor, while the lower story includes a wine cellar, a tool room, a half bath, an office and a two-and-a-half-car garage. The total interior space is 2,100 square feet.
The basic construction cost was approximately $235 per square foot.

Construction began in March of 2007 and was completed in October of the same year - a total construction time of just seven months. The exterior materials are all western red cedar select tight knot. The client had hoped to use reclaimed cedar for the exterior, but a great cost saving was achieved by going instead with the substitute. A heavy-bodied Cabot stain was applied to the exterior (except for the trim) as well as to the handmade cedar sliding barn doors. The wine cellar accommodates 2,200 bottles - and all wine racking was built on-site out of clear redwood.

56SPR205 panels from Solar Power of San Jose, California (installed by Next Energy) generate ten kilowatts of energy. A PG&E net meter allows the system to put energy back into the grid. The system has two inverters, one for each panel array - and as noted above, the building is oriented to maximize solar gain. The PG&E bill for April of 2008 was $0.06!

Inside, this comfortable and inviting multi-purpose structure is anything but a classic barn... but from the outside it sure makes that impression!

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