Located in the hills above the Sonoma Valley, Box on the Rock is a modest residence at 2,000 square feet that began as a simple box, due to site and budget constraints. Schwartz and Architecture were tasked with designing the house on a challenging site, thanks to shallow underground waterways that run across the site, which led to expensive pier footings. The upfront costs resulted in a modest footprint surrounded by 3-acres of untouched natural landscape. The layout splits a simple box-like family home into two wings that connect by the entry courtyard and the living room. With glass windows on the opposite end of the entryway, there are uninterrupted views through the house to the surrounding landscape. Both angles of the wings were carefully planned to work with the path of the sun throughout the year. A cantilevered deck is cut out of the structure allowing for sun and shade as desired. The angles of the glass walls were designed to benefit from the morning sun and warming during the winter, while protecting the interior from the harsh summer rays. A central courtyard offers both sunny and shady spots throughout the day. Even during its sunniest time in the afternoon, it remains the coolest spot as it’s naturally cooled by the valley cross breezes.