Bruce Damonte

Harmon Guest House in California by David Baker Architects takes a sustainable approach to hospitality design

“Harmon Guest House is simple and sophisticated, celebrating natural materials and really honoring the local and the handmade. Most of the hotel’s art, furnishings, and textiles are created by local makers, so the guest is truly experiencing Northern California.”

Brett Randall Jones, Associate at David Baker Architects

The 39 room boutique hotel boasts an array of sustainable design features with particular attention paid to natural light and ventilation. Rainwater harvesting, solar power and energy efficient utilities also ensure a low consumption of both energy and water. The striking, redwood-clad facade helps reduce solar gain and offers a pleasing aesthetic. The hotel also boasts a valet-serviced car lift that accommodates more than 40+ cars adding a particular degree of value to not just the property itself but the surrounding area.

Project Description

At ground level, a dramatic glass entry lobby and green stair set the tone of openness and welcome. The transparent façade is screened with redwood sun shading and vine trellises at the street level. A sheltered bus-stop waiting bench is built into the face of the hotel.

Harmon Guest House features 39 efficient rooms—including six suites—in intimate pods grouped at the front and rear of the site. Between, a central courtyard crossed by glassed-in bridges brings in light and air. To the rear, the hotel overlooks Foss Creek.

As part of its design and construction, the guest house is contributing to the further restoration of this riparian corridor. The property spans the creek, with a footbridge crossing over to a creekside park with preserved and protected trees and native plantings.

Each guest room enjoys private outdoor space by way of a balcony or patio plus a view out toward either the main street and town square or the swimming pool and creek-side park behind. The common spaces and comfortable rooms feature a mix of classic and new furnishings and are warmed by simple, sophisticated local textiles and art.

The fourth-level restaurant offers the only rooftop bar in town that is open to the public. Adjacent to this social space, Merritt Hall—an event room named to honor hotel’s late developer Merritt Sher—is a flexible indoor-outdoor space suited for meetings, banquets, wine tastings, and more.