SHED founders Cindy Daniel and Doug Lipton moved to Healdsburg in 1996 and became part of a growing community of sustainable farmers, wine makers, and food producers. The period brought a sea change of environmental awareness and some welcome economic growth to the region, yet they could see that the essential connection between the land, its cultivation, and the vitality of their community remained intangible to many people. In envisioning the modern grange, Daniel and Lipton sought to create a place where the beauty and aliveness of the complete food cycle—the growing, preparing, and enjoying of food—would become visible, revealing and reinforcing the path from farm to table. They found inspiration in the words of Wendell Berry. “An agrarian mind begins with the love of the fields and ramifies in good farming, good cooking, and good eating.”
SHED Case Study
Envisioned as a modern grange, this restaurant, retail and community space concept defied space planning guidelines and architectural precedents. The unconventional use of a pre-engineered metal building system provided a poetic response.
SHED offers visitors a variety of ways to enjoy the region’s foods. The Cafe features an open kitchen, wood oven, and seasonal menus highlighting local farmers and producers. Visitors can also stop in for coffee and espresso, roasted by Healdsburg’s Flying Goat Coffee and served up at the Coffee Bar, or come by to enjoy a selection of local wine, beer, or kombucha from the Fermentation Bar. The Larder and Pantry offer prepared dishes, house-made products, and other provisions from far and near. A communal table and more intimate seating weave between these components, inviting people to sit and enjoy the food and company. Local produce and flowers, as well as grains grown in the area and milled onsite, further illuminate the connection between land and table.
On SHED’S ground level, a distinctive selection of tools, housewares, and farm supplies mingle with the culinary offerings to encourage an informal flow of activities and exchange. SHED’s passion for the tools of the trade is evident in the beauty and quality of each item, carefully selected from the workshops of makers around the world. By design, SHED embodies the proprietors’ spirit of sharing and connectedness. The building opens fully to the street, inviting people in and letting the activity spill out.
SHED engages the grange’s history as both a rural meeting place and farmers’ exchange but is firmly rooted in contemporary Healdsburg. It is a gathering place for local residents, which celebrates the region’s farmers and makers while tapping into a global community of chefs, producers, and visitors. Its dinners and programs, crafted to revive the traditions of fellowship, conviviality, and exchange, feed a cultural appetite for ideas and interests ranging beyond the realm of food. Upstairs, the Modern Grange, a large, flexible meeting space supported by a commercial kitchen and fully wired for audio-visual presentation, is designed for workshops, talks, exhibits, and film screenings as well as seed exchanges, farmer meet-ups, dinners, and live music. As a community resource SHED also welcomes private conferences, meetings, and celebrations.
Healdsburg’s local culture is incredibly strong. Farm relates to town, generations speak to each other and, to reference Wendell Berry, everyone who lives there has affection for the land. Having spent a good part of his childhood in a farmhouse in the Alexander Valley and later on Fitch Mountain, where his father still lives today, architect Mark Jensen shares this affection. While many other towns have succumbed to big-box takeover, Healdsburg’s strong roots have endured. As recent years have seen an influx of tourists to the area, JENSEN and the design team sought to build on Healdsburg’s asset – its unique sense of self and place.
SHED’s celebration of the valley’s farms, foods, land, and community invited a response in kind through the building’s architecture and construction. The project, a utilitarian pre-engineered metal building commonly known as a Butler building, is a familiar presence in the local agricultural landscape. Conceived as a barn that is contemporary rather than nostalgic, SHED’s architecture is authentic and honest, resonating with Healdsburg’s past while also engaging in its present-day culture. With the help of the region’s many environmentally minded manufacturers, consultants, and artisans, the building and grounds share SHED’s embrace of community, sustainability, and place.
With the help of local erector Soule Building Systems, SHED’s design employs off-the-shelf components to create a modern, refined take on the region’s barn vernacular. The unconventional use of Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings (P.E.M.B.) is an ongoing area of investigation for JENSEN. Through a series of projects, the firm has exploited these systems’ inherent spatial possibilities, material efficiency and cost effectiveness — qualities that express SHED’s ethos, literally and figuratively.
Buildings manufactured mostly off-site and quickly assembled on location generate less construction-related waste, site erosion and pollution. The largely recycled pre-engineered structure, insulated metal-panel cladding, and quick low-impact construction all reinforce the project’s environmental values, while its rigid structural frame enable SHED’s expansive interior spaces and generous connections with the entry plaza, rain garden, and neighborhood.
SHED’s design uses standing seam insulated metal panels to realize multiple advantages. These lightweight, prefabricated panels form both the roof and walls of the building providing insulation, interior and exterior finishes, and waterproofing in one quick-to-install, energy-efficient, and low-maintenance package. Composed of two thin layers of steel sandwiching a core of impervious, closed-cell polyisocyanurate foam, the 42-inch wide panels were fabricated to specified lengths in a factory, complete with Zincalume exterior finish and painted white interior finish. Once delivered to the job site, they were rapidly installed with minimal waste.
The panels run continuously over the outside of the building frame, with a male-female connection providing a water- and air-tight seal at each seam. This creates a monolithic, well-insulated envelope that eliminates the thermal bridging and air leakage associated with traditional framing and enclosure systems. The deep sturdy seams create strong shadow lines and give the relief and rhythm to the buliding volume. The Zincalume exterior requires no maintenance and will weather to a dull patina over time, like the weather-beaten appearance of a classic galvanized steel garden pail.
Virtually all of the wood used in SHED is local urban salvage sourced from Evan Shively of Aborica, the region’s revered source for reclaimed wood. Monterey cypress composes the exterior decking, fencing, wall cladding and the second-floor trellis, and continues inside to define the gardening section and cafe. The coffee bar, stand-up bar, and the event space floor and walls are rendered in elm, the primary interior wood. In a nod to the utilitarian palette and its agricultural roots, slats of Monterey pine line the upper floor’s soaring ceiling. Lastly, the larder casework and shelving with its heavily figured patterns is crafted from bay laurel, a local variety of myrtle.
The tile used throughout SHED comes from Sonoma Tilemakers, a manufacturer located in nearby Windsor. Committed to sustainability, they reconstitute scrap clay for use, donate unused tiles to asphalt companies, and recapture heat from kilns for use in drying tile and heating their factory. Rectangular tiles from Sonoma Tilemakers line the food service areas and restrooms, and an intricate arrangement of three different strongly-patterned readymade tiles creates a quilt-like pattern at the coffee bar and event space counters.
SHED’s pre-engineered metal building system forms the core of an overarching sustainable design strategy made imperative by its mission. The systems’ structure and insulated, Zincalume metal panels are composed of 70 percent recycled steel and assemble to create a building shell that reduces energy demands and minimizes material use. The metal panels require no additional exterior or interior finishes—interior walls were simply painted with no-VOC paint—and simultaneously provide energy-saving thermal insulation and critical waterproofing.
The building, with its nine large roll-up doors, is designed to rely on natural ventilation most of the year. An energy-efficient heating, cooling and ventilation system and a demand-sensitive kitchen hood activated and adjusted by sensors complement this passive strategy. Abundant glazing, shaded by deep overhangs and perforated metal screens, allows natural light in while tempering direct sun, lessening electrical demand for lighting and cooling. In addition, rooftop photovoltaic panels produce approximately one third of the building’s energy needs. Finally, a commitment to using local, sustainable materials, suppliers and tradespeople further minimized the project’s carbon footprint while underscoring SHED’s community-focused vision.
SHED overlooks Foss Creek, a tributary of the Russian River and the focus of an ongoing restoration initiative led by Russian Riverkeeper, a nonprofit working to conserve and protect the river and its watershed. To minimize SHED’s impact, Russian Riverkeeper’s experts assisted with the design of the Rain Garden, a creekside riparian habitat that works to remove pollutants and minimize erosion. Roof drains, permeable paving, and other site infrastructure channel all storm water to the garden, which uses, filters, and stores the water. The storage catch basin then slows the release of runoff into Foss Creek to manageable flow rates.
SHED’s design vocabulary, created by Boon Design, draws from a range of sources and practices. The notion of SHED as “modern grange” called for a sturdy and ageless graphic identity and program that savors a utilitarian approach to communication, forms, and materials. The rich heritage of vernacular sign painting traditions of agrarian America also informed Boon’s thinking.
In the exploration of grange halls and historic general store signage, a common theme emerged: many letterforms retained the character of the human hand, and this imperfection was celebrated. SHED typography was selected and crafted to create an eccentric but vital connection to a sense of place and community that defines rural and farm regions: a straightforward and resourceful way of life. Materials and fabrication methods emphasize a tactile experience. Rough chipboard and letterpress printing, and rich, vibrant colors work in concert with the warm and inviting palette of the building’s interior.
At its core, the graphic program not only pays homage to rural traditions but more specifically reflects the pioneering spirit of the Russian River Valley, whose legacy SHED’s founders seek to sustain and vitalize. The building’s primary signage, large-scale and hand-painted on the perforated metal façade, is in keeping with the vernacular traditions of barn signage. And like the graphic program, the sign retains traces of the artisan’s hand. While large in scale, its light color and openness lend subtlety, complementing the building while respecting its setting.
Project Name: SHED
Project Location: 25 North Street, Healdsburg, Ca. 95448
Owner/Client: Cindy Daniel and Doug Lipton
Type of Business/Use: Café, retail, event space
Date of Completion: July 2013
Architect: Jensen Architects
Mark Jensen, Lincoln Lighthill, Dean Orr (project leads)
Scott Davis, Olya Piskun (project team)
Structural: ZFA Structural Engineers
Civil: Atterbury & Associates
Geotechnical: PJC Associates
Surveyor: Curtis & Associates Land Surveying
MEP: Guttman & Blaevoet Consulting Engineers
Food Service: Design Associates
Landscape: Russian Riverkeeper
Interiors: Cindy Daniel, Sue Volkel, Cathy Smith,
Scott Constable, Jeremy Foster
Graphics: Boon, futureprüf
Photographer: Mariko Reed
Contractor: Oliver & Company
Suppliers: CBC Steel Buildings (metal building frame)
Kingspan (Insulated metal wall panels)
Diamond Perforated Metals (perforated aluminum wall panels)
Arcadia Architectural Products (storefront and curtain wall glazing)
Duray (food service equipment)
Arborica (wood decking, wall cladding, fencing, slat ceiling, bar tops)
Fremont Millwork Co. (casework)
Sonoma Tilemakers (ceramic tile)
Stepstone Inc. (permeable concrete pavers)
Major Materials: Exposed concrete structural slab; Structural steel; Urban salvage wood; Storefront and curtainwall glazing systems
Size/Floor Area: 10,801 sq.ft. (+4,271 sq.ft. exterior areas)