I received several design books for Christmas, all very inspiring. The one that I was looking forward to the most has stopped me in my tracks as expected. Don't be off put by the 437 pages. Each page reveals a new treasure greater than the last.
Honoring the relationship between nature and home, while celebrating the American Farmhouse Vernacular; Howard Backen's work is expansive yet understated and sensible.
The Bond Estate Winery below appears to be a series of remodeled farm buildings original to the property (a Howard Backen trademark).
His designs never shout to be heard but subtly create the illusion that they have been here for years. The Napa Valley Reserve, an exclusive club in St. Helena at first glance appears to be a group of barns that are original to the property.
This Diamond Mountain residence validates the seemless threshold between the outside and the in so prevalent in the firms work.
Corrugated metal roofs abound , a nod to the unpretentious nature inherent in all of Backen's designs. Here at this Soda Canyon weekend home the metal hipped roof appears to "float".
I had no idea of the expanse of his work. Though many of his designs are huge in scope such as the new Restoration Hardware Gallery in Atlanta and the home of Rh executive Gary Friedman's own home in Belvedere.
He isn't afraid to tackle something much smaller but equally important, such as the remodel and restoration of the Gallo owned MacMurray Ranch, once a prune and sheep farm.
I knew I was going to love this book. Once I began to peruse the pages I realized many of the homes, wineries, and resorts that I have admired were the work of Backen, Gillam and Kroger.
From the home of Napa designer Barbara Colvin (a longtime personal favorite)
to the restrained hillside compound of the author himself, that echos the style of the original cottage on the property.
Chances are if you have visited the Napa Valley you have dined, relaxed or imbibed in any number of Backen and Company's architectural treasures. Perhaps even the aptly named Archetype, the brainchild of Howard and his wife in St. Helena.
I purchased this book for both my husband and my son in law. My husband has not been able to put it down. I have not been compensated in any way from this review. It is simply the best book of it's type that I have happened upon in many years. Great pains were taken to describe each property in detail along with an aerial view of each site. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I.
All photos are the property of Backen, Gillam and Kroeger.