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$4.2M Fireproof Home in Sonoma Offers Timeless Appeal of Rammed Earth

Kristine Hansen | Realtor.com

ith wildfires a growing threat in Sonoma, CA, this single-family home aims to be a burn-free option thanks to its construction materials.

Listed for $4.2 million, this 3,475-square-foot abode will also appeal to advocates of sustainable living. It was built with rammed-earth construction, a technique that involves compacting a damp mixture of soil, clay, sand, gravel, and other natural raw materials.

Beyond their fire-resistant benefits, the home’s thick walls naturally cool the home, rendering air conditioning unnecessary, says listing agent David Costello, of Compass.

Another benefit of rammed-earth construction? “They don’t have any problems with termites because there’s no wood to eat,” says Costello.

Decking around the three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home measures a robust 2,400 square feet, including a covered terrace.

“Every room opens up to a terrace,” says Costello.

A 630-square-foot guesthouse adjacent to the pool is currently in use as a gym and boasts a full bath with an oversized steam shower. There’s also a tennis court and clubhouse with a rec room.

The home features radiant floor heating throughout and handcrafted Mexican tile for the pool.

A 10-minute drive from Sonoma’s plaza—lined with restaurants, boutiques, and wine shops—the home is part of the 1,000-acre George Ranch, a development of 50 homes. This home sits on 8 acres.

“There’s only two main streets in the community,” says Costello. “It’s like nature was kept intact when they built this place. All the neighbors know each other and stay there forever. There’s not that much turnover.”

Southwest style Sonoma home
Exterior (Circle Visions)
Southwest style wood double doors, open to home interior
Entry (Circle Visions)
Living room with large beams and saltillo tile
Living room (Circle Visions)
Kitchen with island
Kitchen (Circle Visions)
Bedroom with door to outside
One of the bedrooms (Circle Visions)
Warm toned bathroom with indigo tiles
One of the baths (Circle Visions)
Rectangular blue-tiled bathtub
Another bath (Circle Visions)
Guest house repurposed as a home gym
Guest house currently in use as a gym (Circle Visions)
View of pool in backyard
Pool (Circle Visions)

The sellers are Bruce and Edna Needleman, who own Salsa Trading Company in Sonoma. They tapped local architect Michael Bauske to design the house in 1999. Inspired by historic haciendas and missions, much of the interior was imported, including entry doors from a church in Spain and repurposed pantry doors from a church in Mexico.

The home’s unique aesthetic and construction have garnered a lot of interest.

“At least three people came (to view the home) because they liked rammed earth,” Costello says. That the design isn’t tied to today’s trends and looks “lived in” and comfortable is also appealing.

“A house like this, you can fast-forward 10 years and it’s not going to look any different,” says Costello.