Booster Residence - Sonoma County

There are thousands of family stories of loss like this in the North Bay, each one epic. Sonoma County alone lost 5,100 homes to this October wildfire, part of a firestorm of multiple fires that ravaged wine country and burned with unparalleled ferocity across Northern California.

What’s different about this one story is the way the family is rebuilding. They are not trying in any way to re-create what they lost. They told their architect, “We don’t want anything from the old home in the new design.”

Their new place, a collaboration between husband and wife architects Brendan Kelly and Kerry Morgan, Mikara Construction, and Canadian steel frame provider BONE Structure, is well under way. The Boosters expect to live again on this charred hillside where we now stand with recently excavated dirt underfoot, starting next summer.

“Who gets to start from scratch? Howard asks me, with characteristic optimism. “We know where the wind comes from, the sun, the rain, from 35 years of living here.”

The new home will be a super-energy-efficient, 100% solar, net zero energy home thanks to the Kelly & Mrgan’s collaboration with Mikara Construction and BONE Structure, which makes a ready framing system to fit the design. The architects have designed the new home to accommodate a 360-degree view. The land is beautifully rolling and each day the sun rises in a gap in the ridge to the east. The rise we stand on is in the middle of a small valley that slopes away into high ridges once covered in grapevines and surrounded by trees. The Booster property alone lost 45 trees including a dozen redwoods and several oaks. “The loss of trees cleared the way for the views,” Howard says, looking for a bright side yet again.

This is a video shot from several sources and produced by BONE Structure prior to the May 2019 Open House Event. Kelly + Morgan Architects was the designer with Mikara Construction as GC. BONE Structure supplied the steef framing system.

Brendan Kelly