Tour an Architect's Airy Open-Concept St. Helena Home

Architect Shay Zak is celebrated for his streamlined approach to simple yet elevated design. When it came to designing his own home, the founder of Zak Architecture brought the same organic sensibilities showcased in his homes throughout Hawaii and California’s Bay Area to his St. Helena compound. Collaborating with his wife, Mary Moore, Zak imagined a sprawling, airy estate that beautifully negotiates indoor and outdoor spaces.

“When I design, I always think about sequence in an intuitive way,” Zak explained to Cottages & Gardens, “and to me, the ritual of going from one area to another is an imaginative, silent way to stimulate spatial connections.” The open floor plan of the home, its natural finishings of wide-plank oak and Carrara marble, and bright white walls and furniture give the interior an easy elegance underscored by streamlined simplicity.

The half-acre plot also boasts a swimming pool; a garden where the couple grows their own eggplants, padrón peppers, and heirloom tomatoes; and tall succulents and fruit-bearing olive trees. “I feel as if I’m always on the verge of being inside and outside at the same time here,” admitted Moore. “Since we moved in, we never want to leave which, of course, is a lovely problem to have.”

See below for photos of the couple’s stunning retreat.