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The Mountain House by Atelier Bow Wow sits atop a former gold mine in the Sierra Nevada

Designed in 2008 by Japanese firm Atelier Bow-Wow, the breezy home seemingly riffs on the Californian architectural and mining vernacular, almost like a barn in the forest.

Known as The Mountain House, its built within 60 acres of private forest in the middle of the Mother Lode – a.k.a California’s gold rush belt. The 150-mile-long natural vein extends from Mariposa through Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador, El Dorado, Placer, and Nevada counties, and 12789 Sailor Flat Rd sits on what was once the Sailor Flat Gold Mine.

Sailor Flat Gold Mine is close to Coloma, California, where James Marshall famously found gold in the Sierra Nevada foothills in January 1848, with the placer mine operating in the late 19th century. Wagon roads and trails still crisscross the property, according to listing agent Eric Lavey of Sotheby’s International Realty – Beverly Hills Brokerage, marketing the California property for $3.3m.

The Mountain House's dining room and kitchen. A wood burning stove heats the timber house
Photography: Sotheby’s International

Atelier Bow-Wow spent nine years designing the timber home – its only residential project in the US – and it was conceived to tread lightly on the landscape while maximising connection to the Sierra Nevada mountainscape.

Living spaces are set across a single storey, with volumes opening to the surroundings via colossal floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. Slatted timber screens provide shade and ventilation and add privacy to the concrete volume.

Interiors blend rustic and industrial elements: raftered ceilings soar overhead, while rugged concrete walls, timber panelling and poured concrete floors add texture and contrast.

The rugged Californian hideaway has three bedrooms, plus a series of ‘sleeping nooks’ for guests, while the building is crowned by a colossal open-air ‘living room,’ protected by the building’s angular corrugated roof and enclosed by timber railings.

The kitchen, which features timber cabinetry and stainless steel appliances
Photography: Sotheby’s International
Photography: Sotheby’s International
Photography: Sotheby’s International
The upper deck has a hammock, dining area and outdoor living room
Photography: Sotheby’s International
Exterior of The Mountain House, which has a single level design crowned by a vast rooftop terrace
Photography: Sotheby’s International
The mountain house is enveloped by 50 private acres of forest
Photography: Sotheby’s International

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