When winemaker Stephen Singer and his partner, Michel Boynton, set out to create Baker Lane—a livable landscape and working vineyard on a former apple orchard in Sonoma County’s Sebastopol, California— they wanted a design that felt true to the land.
Said landscape architect Andrea Cochran, “We chose to take cues from the agricultural buildings of the area,” to design a landscape that’s “simple and honest,” weaving together the the utilitarian parts of the wine and olive oil-producing estate—including the house, a winemaker’s barn, a garden shed, and a garage—with native plantings, minimal retaining walls, and newly planted orchards. (Take a full tour in The Winemaker’s Life: A Garden Idyll in Northern California.) But the estate deviates sharply from farm vernacular in two ways: its overtly modern architecture, and a dramatic, infinity-like lap pool.
To make the pool feel at home on an agriculturally inspired estate, Cochran and project architect Keith Anding designed a narrow box, visually akin to a sunken trough and long enough for swimming laps. It’s perched on a sort of “plinth,” says Cochran, which makes the surrounding patio seem more like a viewing platform for keeping an eye on the weather than a posh pool deck for lounging. “The clients wanted the landscape to be kind of quiet,” said Cochran, and the pool’s minimal design and integration into the views make it “fit into the landscape without trying to dominate it.”
Photography by Daniel Dent for Gardenista.
Of his desire for an estate with a pool and a strong connection between indoor and outdoor living spaces, homeowner Stephen Singer said: “I’m very warm-blooded. I like to be outside as much as possible.”
The pool is warmed exclusively via solar heat, so the homeowners take an annual hiatus from the pool during winter “when it’s not environmentally appropriate to keep the pool warm,” said Singer. “During the summer season, I swim every day.”
See more furnishings in 10 Easy Pieces: Concrete Outdoor Furniture.
- Ask the Expert: An Insider’s Guide to Swimming Pool Design from Scott Lewis.
- Swimming Pool of the Week: A View Through the Oaks in Marin County, California.
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- Pool of the Week: A Modern Masterpiece on the California Coast.