Houzz TV: See a Modern Family Farmhouse That Can Pick Up and Move

Houzz TV: See a Modern Family Farmhouse That Can Pick Up and Move

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Houzz TV: See a Modern Family Farmhouse That Can Pick Up and Move

Winters, California — a rather oxymoronic town name for a region with 100-plus degree summers — is a lush farming town nestled in the Sacramento Valley. It’s a community with a rich history, since it’s been a farming region for many generations. “It’s not the gentleman or city farmers that pretend to move out to the country and farm,” says Bay Area architect Lewis Butler. “These are real farmers. They’re serious.” Butler is certainly familiar with farm life. His mother grew up on a Southern California farm where they grew citrus and avocados for many years. However, in 2005 the family had to close their farm due to the expansion of the bordering town of Escondido.

Butler and his family moved to Northern California, where they hoped to continue the tradition of farming in their family. After exploring the area, they purchased a 400-acre farm in Yolo County. This dynamic and progressive farming town was exactly what Butler’s parents were looking for. They bought three plots of land, and drove up on a regular basis to work on them. After a while, they got tired of their mobile home (which is actually slightly visible in a few of these photos), and asked Butler to help them create a modern, simple, and very practical space for them to continue to cultivate the land around them.

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Comments (91)
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gwarring
Love it. What a wonderful cabin in one of my favorite "what if we could live here?" places.
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Becky Harris
Love the story, love the nod to the vernacular, love the ingenious use of space!
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Sheila Schmitz
It makes me happy to see such a beautiful, simple, ingenious working space designed for the way the owners want to live!
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Robin Tucker
Brill!
1 Like    
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azoreanswede
I love this. The way we should all live. A small efficient space and the vegetable garden right outside.
15 Likes    
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legallyblond
Love that the architecture brings out the beauty of the surroundings. You're not distracted by busy-ness and can really appreciate the open space inside and out.
4 Likes    
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Tina Gleisner
What a fun & practical home ... and I love the in-land version of the widows walk with it's view of the fields versus the ocean.
4 Likes    
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Jennifer Johnson
I love it, I don't think it feels cold at all with the warm wood tones. I would actually love to build something like this, it would be easy to run it on solar panels, set up gray water collection areas, etc because of its shape and small footprint. I also love the idea of putting a private outdoor space in the water tower above the master bedroom. Romantic and private :).
8 Likes    
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Ingrid
I love it. The views are incredible. I'm sure with more of the homeowners things it would be very cozy.
   
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inezzy
Wish my relatives in La. had it to roll away from coming flood waters, then back to the beautiful land when waters recede. Such a beautiful and practical design...I could write a book there!
   
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pencilshavings
Sign me up! Practical, fun, great views and not precious.
   
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pfafftrick
I absolutely love this. I am from Davis and thus know Winters pretty well. There are old water towers all over the central valley, some of them in disrepair, some of them morphed into residential structures. This architect has done what I have always dreamed of!
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Whitney F
I love it. No artifice - it is what it is and entirely appropriate for the area. I appreciate the nod to history. Overall it's a calm, attractive home, connected to the land. I would give my eye teeth for a water tower.
5 Likes    
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caroland
This is beautiful. My family moved to the Sacramento valley to farm in the 1860s, and this really captures the beauty of the land and the farm architecture while adding the beauty of modern design--a real accomplishment. Kudos!
9 Likes    
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Fed Paden
WOW! What a brilliant idea from the designer/architect. Great job!
1 Like    
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1gkelly1
I am not a fan of the furniture pictured, but I think that this place is very cool.
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denzila
Smart design! Cool water tower, you could make kits out of this and sell it over the world.
7 Likes    
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mariannette
Farmhouse? Looks more like a guard tower with security personnel shed attached.
   
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Glenda McCall
I love it all!!!!!!
2 Likes    
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10wildacres
The central valley has many of these water towers. We hope to build such a structure on our farm and attach it to our dutch barn. We too want to have the glories views of the Livermore hills and the surrounding orchards in and around Manteca. I'll be sure to show this design to my husband.

I didn't care for the furniture and would like to see the updated versions of the cabin. What a great idea...and as I said we hope to have a similar one in the next couple of years.
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silverbee
Am currently designing a retirement home in Peru - with an integral water tower. Was disappointed this design does not actually include the "water" part of the "water tower". Need to find an engineer who can design one of these that stores water.
3 Likes    
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maureenrowland
This house doesn't do it for me. Cold and impersonal. Sorry.
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marinautila
The whole purpose of water towers is to provide water pressure by gravity without using an electrical pump. People used to have water towers all over the place, and put a lot of effort to make them beautiful as well. We forgot many wonderful old ideas and became completely dependent on electricity for our comfort. This design is a jewel.
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kwarkomski
modest in scale, appropriate. Interior a little over done. Has practicality been completely defenestrated?
   
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rachelsdesign
I really like the idea of this structure. Am considering adding a tower such as this one to take in the spectacular mountain and reservoir 360 degree views on a 35 acre lot of land. I like the idea of the attached simple living space too.
2 Likes    
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gypsyprinzs
This is a unique home! I would love to live in this! :)
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Darrel Rose

very nice clean looking home with the right amount of space and tranquility

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lawrene ~

That video is beautifully done. Very nice work. I'm not seeing a credit for the videographer/editor...?

1 Like    
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jrpalermo
Love the design, the warm wood and its portability. As an older person though, and thinking of his parents, I would definitely want some sort of staircase to the guest area or I'd never be able to hosts guests of my own age.
1 Like    
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arroyosorrento

The flooring in the shed portion is... waxed plywood?

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sirpeabody

You know you have unique parents when their short list of demands for you includes an authentic-style water tower!!

Beautiful home, beautiful property.

2 Likes    
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darlarehmer

What a beautiful story and sharing the land with four generations. I can see why the grandkids love it. I'm going to share with my granddaughter who own property overlooking wine country in Oregon.

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q c

I love this cabin

1 Like    
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callmelil

Really a great design. I want to add a tower to have a lake view at my little house.

   
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Annie Thornton

I enjoyed every moment of this video. Thank you for telling this story.

1 Like    
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Laercio Duda
I like this!! Very cool!!
   
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KAdd Associates

Great! Fantastic and well implemented. The "water tower" really reminds of a Belvidere tower for sitting & viewing.

   
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Tim Melander

Beautiful home --- I just love the idea of building smaller with more character. Great job!

1 Like    
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Maria Eugénia

I love it all!!!!!!

   
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mickoz

This is beautiful. The grandparents, kids, land and home. Love it.

   
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Kukubo Barasa

Super.

   
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K.O.H. Construction Corporation

Pops was spot on by insisting on using the water tower. great design they should all be very proud. thanks for sharing

   
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Monique Pasqualle
nice
   
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Tammy Fitzgerald

how much did it cost to build I love it

   
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Tammy Fitzgerald

how much did it cost to build I would love to build this here in ga

   
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normpo

I want one!

   
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Lori Mendelsohn

Thank you for designing this wonderful, cozy, warm home and allowing the outdoors to be the focal spot. Want to come to Vermont and do the same?

   
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silviakunst
GREAT story ! Great "movable house " idea !!!!!!!
   
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happymomofseven

What a lovely son, whose love for his folks is what makes that "simple" home shine. Wonderful episode! At the end of the day, it's about family and how families live.

   
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Trudy Connor

This is about the size of my grandparents farm house, but with the open space is seems bigger and has way more cabinet than they did. Love it.

   
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marmarmish

Amen.

   
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bestboards

Class Act from family values to design. Cheers

   
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Hoffman Leakey Architects Llc

Great place for a farming family who really live with the land! Simple living and design at it's best. This designer really understood how to design with simple materials to achieve a successful, attractive structure. Enjoyed the video.

   
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marcmorrison

What a lovely home and excellent video to show it off

   
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Mary Lee

I would love this place in KY too. Good article, good design and as others have stated, just makes you smile.

   
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Stewart Rosburg

Great video production Houzz, keep these up!

   
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Carolyn Davis

Love the design and simple elegance. Wonderful From another Butler descendant.

   
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Holly Stryker Homes

I love this home! What a wonderful and simple, yet beautiful space. The addition of merging the water tower into the home is perfect! I can understand why this became so popular with the family. I could move right into a space like this.. lovely!

   
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Zeo Castellon

A perfect design for farmlands where it was originally intended. Nonetheless, an equally good design for the swampland. Appropriate pontoons instead of the concrete supports may allow outdoor enthusiasts live and enjoy the thrills of the swamps in their natural setting. Now you're making me think. Great idea.

   
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Teresa

LOVE IT! Beautiful.

   
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marsia

This is such an amazing project. I so love the water tower re-envisioned as the world's coolest roof deck, and the aesthetics are just wonderful.

I have a question. If the house is moveable, does that mean that it doesn't need to be permitted in the same way? We want to do a detached office, and it would be great to not have to permit it as additional square feet that we have to pay more taxes on. I know that people leave their small structures on trailer frames because they want to have them considered temporary structures, but is a structure that is held in by just a few bolts considered temporary? It definitely looks a whole lot nicer than having the trailer frame!

   
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Ferris Zoe Design

what kind of permit was used with the building/planning department for the movable house on this farm?

   
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Irene Irene Art

Just a fabulous idea! This may be on my bucket list for the future. I love the idea that it is moveable too. The sleek interior is a pleasant surprise for a farmhouse.

1 Like    
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postiecat

That is so awesome. Love it!!!!!

   
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giffen22

What an interesting and beautiful farm house !! Hats off to their son for creating a forward-thinking design. I will always say - bigger is not better. In fact most of the time it isn't.

   
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jaybem
I agree with my fellow "likes ". This home is brilliant. was married to an Architect....this has all that is necessary for. 3to4 persons to live well and maintain the whole concept of environmental living I can see a whole area of these homes ,using the basic modules in personal choices...even building them on wheels. Let us know the future of your simple, humble and glorious home. jaybem.
   
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davidt4

Thanks, just made my day !!

1 Like    
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Mohammed AL-Dandan
I like it very match but how get one and how many U.S. D cost
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Metric Designs

its nice,

fav part; response to seismic movements

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bryte

i Love the concept. It's epic. A great architecture piece.

   
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Margie Kieper
The bedroom seems as though it might not be that comfortable a space as it is a little boxy and a little dark with the high ceilings. Would there be a way to add additional windows perhaps at midlevel closer to the ceiling? What about a hanging mobile to give some expression to the large space above the bed? Hanging a quilt on the upper wall would provide some sound dampening. Finally some lighting to brighten the upper part of that space. Just some thoughts...
2 Likes    
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Speid's Designs
great use of space..am curious to know how it is moved and whats. the weight
1 Like    
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Lynda LaCasse

This is beautiful! A wonderful inspiration. Thanks for sharing!!!

   
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أبو رؤى القادري
Boutfol
   
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colettegates

I love this concept. It is refreshing to see someone live with the land, not try and take it over

1 Like    
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Sheryl Meyers
Cool tower pew cou have this!
   
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Valerie

Some of the details look a little more mid-century modern than I would want in a retirement home, but I love the overall concept of minimalism instead of knickknacks. I especially love that it's earthquake-proof and movable.

1 Like    
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roanne sison
it's so beautiful like you i want to be friends with you ... :)
   
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CAS

I first read the article, then watched the video. This idea is spectacular. My husband and I live in the mountains of Colorado, 45 minutes from "civilization" and I can imagine a home just like this for mountain living. Such a great idea. AND I love that they did this is their later years. I am 54, my husband is 65 and we plan to live in the mountains for a long, long time. People really need to live in the "now" and not always in the "aging in place" mind set.

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angelikim

Just fell in LOVVVE with the concept!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had been thinking of something like this in my home Greek island!

Thank you so much for sharing with us!

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kristinanadreau

400 acres is worth $10,000 to $20,000 an acre in this location. the floor plan of the house is OK, but nothing special. Tiny House and Small House designers routinely design a much more attractive and functional use of space. The douglas fir plywood is "striped", with the stripes not matched in vertical application, so what could have been beautiful wall finishes is an uncomfortable distraction, that looks cheap, even tho it is costly. I am estimating that this house cost $300 to $350 per square foot to construct, not including cost of land. This was a fabulous opportunity for an extraordinary Small House. A pity.

   
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Holly
Amazing design... Are both parts movable?
   
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Candy Nayak
love everything about this
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milanek

What sort of septic system does this home have? Turtle tank? I am wondering because if you can just pick it up and move it, the waste system must be very simplistic? Which is good. A septic field would not work I wouldn't think.

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fringedweller

At least as important as the house, and its capability of to be so flexible, is the philosophy. If we all thought like them, the world wouldn't be getting so worn out. Good job. About half the houses I see in here, I look at and think "Really, now, how much is enough, already?!"

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Vj Collins

great family ,with a beautiful vision

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marsia

I have had the picture of the loft bookmarked for quite some time, and always come back to it as one of my all time favorite pictures on houzz. I really love the water tower, too. We have them in a neighboring town and they are so charming and iconic. To build a roof deck lookout in one is just brilliant! The whole house is just perfection, and you can pick up and move it like a snail shell - what more could you ask for in a house?

   
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cdcorley

What a fab home. Wonderful design and execution. So simple and practical, and it's movable!

   
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guammom58

Would you consider selling house plans of this home? It is perfect for me (57) and my husband (67). We are searching for a small simple modern home we can afford to keep on social security. PLEASE consider selling the plans or at least offering a basic floorplan/measurements. Thank you!

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Tim Melander

I second @guammom58 comment on offering the design for sale.

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Karen Meteer
Echo sentiment, would love this beautifully simplistic design for a second affordable build on our small rural property in Placer County....practically neighbors!