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That's Smith in the front, in the red sweater. At the end of a daylong workshop, they pulled out this long table from their versatile studio and gathered for a meal.
Schwabe nestled the studio into the hillside above the existing two-bedroom cabin. "I was inspired by many things, but the exterior's form was inspired by local Sonoma barns because of their simplicity and practicality," says Schwabe.
The studio's small size means a reduced carbon footprint, and Schwabe sited and shaped it to make the most of natural light and ventilation.
Cleverly placed sliding doors provide privacy when necessary and close off messier work areas when guests visit.
To the left, a sliding barn door separates a work and darkroom space. The couple has decided their next project will be to transform this space into a kitchen so they won't have to schlep so much during big holiday meals.
Over the darkroom/future kitchen space, there is a loft. Currently, the loft is accessible only by a ladder and is used for storage, but a more user-friendly ladder or staircase can be added with ease in the future, opening it up as a sleeping space.
During workshops and seminars, the doors are closed and tables, chairs and guests spread into this space. The floors are stained concrete, which helps keep the space cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
The main space is furnished with pieces that are easy to rearrange for different events. Large windows and glass doors flood the open room with natural light. Several doors open to the outdoors.
Smaller groups tend to gather around the woodstove or in the alcove to the right. During the colder months, the stove spreads heat across the concrete floors.
The exposed Douglas fir rafters add rhythm, warmth and natural texture overhead. Rigid insulation is sandwiched between the roof and the rafters.
Schwabe used high-performance glass for the doors and windows, improving the studio's energy efficiency. "Wood windows and doors with exterior aluminum cladding prevent thermal bridging, lengthen life span and reduce maintenance requirements," she says.
The couple has been working on the entire property for some time; this curved retaining wall creates a terrace between the cabin and the studio.
The stone retaining wall up at the studio extends out from the building and relates back to the terrace below. David sketched his ideas for the terrace walls. A stoneworker built the patios and retaining walls with stones from a local quarry.
The interior stained concrete floors extend outside and transition to irregular pavers near the stone walls, emphasizing how easy it is to move between indoors and out.
Locally harvested western cedar board and batten siding is resistant to decay. On the north side, more likely to mildew, the corrugated metal covers the facade. An entry porch offers protection from inclement weather and leads to the front door.
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