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$15 million modular-hybrid home in Napa replaces burned-out Silverado Trail estate

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As of 11:19 a.m. on Thursday, the 16-by-50-foot concrete pad at the top of 5440 Silverado Trail was just an empty space. By 11:38 a.m., a complete three-bedroom, three-bath home had been installed on top of the foundation.

“There was nothing there five minutes ago,” said project developer and contractor Laura Parker with a laugh. “I’m just amazed to see a finished product” appear in such a short time, she said.

A total of six modular units were installed Thursday at the property, which is located at the top of a hill overlooking 5440 Silverado Trail and the Chimney Rock Winery. Those six units make up about half of a 6,000-square-foot home. The other half, containing a living room, family room and garage, will be built conventionally on site.

The estate, which could be completed as soon as September, has already been listed for sale for $15 million, according to the real estate agent Cyd Greer. 

To move each unit, workers first wrapped thick straps around each section. Then a giant crane lifted those straps and moved each piece, some weighing as much as 41,000 pounds, slowly swinging each one over to its designated landing spot.

“It’s so cool to see it plop down,” right into place, and in such a turnkey state, said Parker.

Once complete, the luxury estate on 41.98 acres will feature high-end construction finishes, custom built-ins, fire-resistant siding, an open plan family room/kitchen, four bedrooms, a wine cellar, large glass doors, a pool, spa, bocce court, a dining loggia and more.

That puts it in the top tier of Napa Valley real estate. Greer estimated there are only a handful of other luxury properties priced at that level currently available in the Napa Valley.

Before this project, the hilltop featured the private residence of the former owners of the Chimney Rock Winery. It was destroyed in the October 2017 Atlas Fire.

That’s when Parker, owner of Del Mar Restoration, came into the picture. Parker was able to buy the land, located just above Chimney Rock Winery, with a plan to “breathe new life” into the site.

She teamed with Anne Sneed Architectural Interiors, Nick Noyes Architecture and a company called Method Homes. Based in Washington state, Method Homes manufactures the modular units in is Seattle factory.

“It’s all fabricated off site … without sacrificing the look and feel” of a custom estate, said Brian Abramson, chief executive of Method Homes. The company builds about 30 to 40 separate houses a year, and each home can include multiple units.

Building a home from scratch can be "pretty intimating for owner builders,” said Greer. “What Laura has done is really remarkable.” She only bought the property just over a year ago, noted the agent. For some people, “it takes well over a year to even get their plans developed.”

Using those modular units, made using fire-resistant building practices and sustainable materials, means a faster building time and cost savings. The modular units cost about 20% less than traditional site-built homes and can be built in half the time.

“With all the labor and material shortages, to try and build a house right now is very daunting,” said Parker. “To have this arrive just a year after purchasing the land is amazing.”

“For a fire rebuild, this is a game-changer,” she said of the modular units. “It just seems like a no-brainer to me.”

Greer said a buyer of such a luxury property is most likely a second-home owner from the Bay Area, but a local buyer is also possible.

After the state’s devastating wildfires, some homeowners in such areas have reportedly had trouble getting fire insurance, but Greer said she already anticipated that. “We will get it,” she said of the insurance.

The interest is definitely there, said Greer. “We have 60 people coming tomorrow” for a hard-hat party and tour, Greer said. “Everyone can come in and tour and see what it’s going to look like.”

In fact, Method Homes is working on another Napa Valley home, this one in Yountville and using 16 of the modular units to create one 20,000-square-foot estate. It’s a private home, not for sale.

You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 707-256-2218 or jhuffman@napanews.com

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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