By KRISTINA HACKER
When Frank and Eva Diggle decided to build a mountain home in Sonora in the early 2000s, they didn’t want the typical cabin retreat. Their desire to go “outside the box” resulted in an American Institute of Architects Design Excellence award-winning home.
“Cooper Kessel was one of several architects who bid on the place and my dad finally said to him, ‘can you do anything with curves’? And Kessel, said ‘yeah, I can.’ And that’s how this round house got created,” said June Diggle, the current resident of the home.
The circular design of the home offers 180-degree views of Sonora and the Sierra Foothills, as far as Yosemite. The open floor plan with the dining, living and kitchen areas means the spectacular views can be seen almost everywhere in the house.
“The ever-changing view” is the best part of living in the round house, according to Diggle, who said she spends hours on the expansive patio photographing sunrises, sunsets and cloud formations.
The centerpiece of the home is the vaulted, wood-beamed ceiling that features a unique system of layered sky windows and lighting. In this home, you are living with the sky.
In addition to the award-winning design and luxurious features of the home, it was also built to be environmentally friendly and practical. There are several energy-conservation features. The solar heating system is a combination system in which solar heats the interior space of the house via a radiant floor heating system as well as the domestic water, plus any excess solar is used to heat the pool and spa. The cooling system utilizes an underfloor plenum for air distribution — a concrete-sealed airspace underneath the home — an evaporative cooling unit which discharges air into the plenum and a barometric damper system to exhaust air through the attic.
Additionally, the home is oriented to take advantage of solar exposure: minimal west exposure, maximum south-facing glass, passive solar heating in the winter which shines onto the thermal mass of the 10-ton fireplace to store heat, and overhangs that are sized to shade the exterior wall in summer and allow solar heat into the home in winter.
“It is the most comfortable house to live in. I’m never hot, I’m never cold,” said Diggle.
While Diggle has enjoyed her time in the round house, she’s ready to trade mountain living in for something closer to the coast. The home is currently for sale. For more information, contact Robin Rowland at (209) 222-6746 or [email protected].