When BJ and Danielle Siegel began planning their dream home in the hills of Sonoma County, California, they wanted something light on the land. “Sometimes when people build a house they want to express all the cool things they can get into a house and for us it was kind of the opposite,” explains BJ. “We wanted to do as little as possible and make it a comfortable place to live.”
BJ, an architect who's also head of store design for Apple, didn't have time to babysit a build, but he was enamored by the customizable prefab design weeHouse. Created by Geoffrey Warner of St. Paul Minnesota's Alchemy Architects, the ultra minimal design is based on a simple box with two walls of sheer windows so the landscape takes center stage.
“I think a lot of people don't necessarily buy into the idea of less is more. I think a lot of people think more is more. And they add features and they add complexity and they add size and it makes them feel like they've actually gotten more and I think it's much more difficult and much harder to actually get there through doing less. That's the fun challenge.”
The Siegels also realized that in the pricey San Francisco Bay Area, modular builds that could be nearly finished in a factory, were a lot cheaper and easier to construct than site-built homes.
In order to create enough space for themselves and their teenage son Jules, the Siegels opted for two boxes placed at an angle from each other (to create privacy). The larger box houses the kitchen (on one wall), open dining room and a box for Jules' bedroom (with the bathroom and shower tucked behind it). The other box is BJ and Danielle's bedroom and bath with again a box unit in the middle that houses their closet and separates the space.
“I always feel like really great architecture is like a really great poem. You have to work it work it work it, you reduce it down to the things that only say what they have to say and you get rid of everything else and that's where the sweet spot is for me.”