Diamond Mountain in Napa Valley

A site-specific project takes its cues from nature

Designed by Eliot Lee and his wife Eun Sun Chun for Lee’s parents, who vacation in Napa Valley, this Diamond Mountain property sits at the zenith of three vineyards famous for their Cabernet Sauvignon.

A partner at Steven Harris Architecture, Lee’s work is noteworthy for the site-specific nature of his designs. In the case of this project, the sloping topography of the wine-rich region was not ideally suited for transplanting a prefabricated architectural plan. Aside from being a region prone to disastrous fires, the site itself sits on a sheet of solid bedrock. Rather than raze the land and start with carte blanche, Lee and his wife allowed the contours of the arid landscape to dictate ebb and flow of the design.

Consisting of four separate buildings arranged in a row, the compound is united by orthogonal paths and a Richard Serra-esque wall structure. Great pains were taken to preserve the local flora (made up predominently of tanoaks, madrones, and manzanitas) and the larger trees were temporarily relocated during the construction process. Integral to the design was the desire to leave as small an ecological footprint as possible. Even the locally sourced stone was excavated and crushed before being used to build the serpentine route through the property.

Steven Harris Architecture in Napa Valley features Warren Platner Side Table | Knoll Inspiration

Photograph by Scott Frances.

Part of the intent was to abolish barriers between inside and outside. One must walk “outside” in order to transition from one wing of the house to another. In the living room, large sliding glass doors make it easy to invite the outside breeze in to stoke the minimalist hearth. A Platner Side Table sits beside Serge Mouille’s mantis-like floor lamp.

Steven Harris Architecture in Napa Valley features Richard Schultz 1966 Collection | Knoll Inspiration

Photograph by Scott Frances.

Two sets of Richard Schultz’s 1966 Collection have been pushed together to create outdoor seating for ten, while the Napa Valley mountain ridges remain in view at dusk.

Steven Harris Architecture in Napa Valley features Marcel Breuer's Cesca Chair | Knoll Inspiration

Photograph by Scott Frances.

Marcel Breuer’s cantilevered Cesca Chair overlooks the desert foliage from the small bedroom office space.

Steven Harris Architecture in Napa Valley

Photograph by Scott Frances.

A rectangular concrete lap pool, surrounded by native overgrowth, cuts into the earth, appropriating the symbolic gesture of Maya Lin’s iconic memorial.

Project Credits:

Design: Steven Harris Architecture
Photography: Scott Frances


Cesca Chair - Armless
Cesca Chair with Arms
Platner Side Table
1966 Dining Table - 60" x 38"
1966 Dining Arm Chair