Family Homestead And Woodcraft Business

~ Level 2 Whole Site Design ~

Level 2 – Whole Site Design

Location: Paso Robles, CA

Project Scope: 7th Generation Design was invited by the Brigham Family to develop a Level 2 Whole Site Design for their homestead located amongst the rolling vineyards surrounding Paso Robles. The Brigham family envisions creating a living and working homestead that supports a thriving family, community, and on-site woodworking business Jory Brigham Design

Key aspects of this vision include developing a sanctuary for residents, guests, and workshop attendees that is nourishing to the mind, body, and spirit and segregated from the business activities on the property; increasing the functionality of the woodshop and milling area, improving sound buffering for nearby neighbors; providing overnight accommodations for workshop attendees; growing a natural capital resource base to support themselves and others; and providing learning opportunities for themselves and their children to steward the landscape in a healthy way. 

The Land: The 13 acre parcel is draped across two adjoining valleys with a large toe slope squarely in the center of the wedge. There are 123 acres of watershed above the property that pattern into its two valleys. The ridges are quite steep, with grades exceeding 60% in numerous places. Soils are very fragile and shallow, with a very low water-holding capacity and high susceptibility to run-off. The properties surrounding the Brigham Ranch grow wine grapes and graze cattle seasonally. The property has some remaining trees, though many have died in recent years due to ground squirrel pressure and drought.

The 123 acres of up-valley watershed that run through Brigham Ranch.
View from the shop over the center of the property.
Panorama from central ridge overlooking Paso Robles.

Design Maps

Work Performed

  • Comprehensive site survey, aerial base map production, and Minimum Holistic Goal facilitation.
  • Level 2 Whole Site Design Report – featuring…
    • Roadway re-grading and rolling dip installation to halt driveway erosion, fencing and planting of fibrous-rooted grasses and CA native vegetation along roadside to stabilize the degrading roadway edge.
    • Extensive tree plantings for timber, shade, windbreaks, future livestock forage, and mast and fruit crops.
    • Front yard wicking bed garden for drought-hardy food production in a small footprint.Structural orientation and siting for future ADU unit, with protected courtyard and attached pond.
    • Backyard “Village Heart” area for hosting large groups and creating memories with family – elements include a natural swimming pool, trellised deck, outdoor wood-fired kitchen, games area, small multi-purpose stage, a firepit and plenty of seating for late night stargazing and conversation.Diverse, perennial food production systems – including food hedges (fedges), food forests, and Zone 4 nut tree plantings.
    • Pocket ponds, greywater swales, stone weirs and Zuni bowl for maximizing water infiltration, halting erosion and feeding productive perennial growing systems. Minor earthworks to improve rain water harvesting and infiltration on-site.
    • •  Home food forest plantings in several blocks around the “Village Heart”
    • Garage conversion into bathhouse.
    • Dual-chamber compost toilet systems.
    • Solar thermal and solar PV energy generation.
Mapping the winter solstice sun angles from the central ridge at potential homesites.

• Elevated tent platforms for hosting workshop attendees, guests and friends for overnight stays