Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown is building a home off the grid: One-bedroom, one soaking tub and a solar array

The home site for the 2,674 square-foot home Gov. Jerry Brown wants to build in Colusa County is shown in this February 2016 photo.
The home site for the 2,674 square-foot home Gov. Jerry Brown wants to build in Colusa County is shown in this February 2016 photo. Photo courtesy of Dna Hoover

Gov. Jerry Brown, who often spends weekends at a rustic cabin west of Williams, is moving forward with plans to build an off-the-grid home on the family ranch, submitting drawings to Colusa County officials for a one-bedroom house with a large porch, a wood fireplace and a 3-inch conduit running to a solar array.

The plans, submitted last week and under review, call for a single-story home with 2,674 square feet of conditioned space. In addition to a single bedroom and 1 1/2 bathrooms, the house will include a large main room with bookcases, a 1,658 square-foot porch, an office and a mud room.

While nowhere near as large as the Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento in which Brown now resides, the home is designed with certain comforts in mind. It includes a soaking tub and a fireplace described by its manufacturer, Quadra-Fire, as “an energy-efficient heating powerhouse.”

Dna Hoover, who is designing and building the home, described it as a “boomerang-shaped building that kind of curls around a little knoll with two really old blue oak trees.”

He said the site will afford the Browns “a pretty incredible view that’s quintessential California landscape. It’s incredibly beautiful but harsh in the same way.”

The plans suggest that Brown, a longtime champion of environmental causes, will make use of solar power on the property, though separate plans for a solar array had not yet been submitted to the county. Hoover said Brown will rely entirely on solar power for electricity, “totally off grid.”

According to plans for the house, “landscaping shall be designed and installed so as to not use potable water.”

Brown in 2014 erected a wood cabin on the ranch his family has owned for generations west of Williams. He has spent an increasing amount of time there in recent years and has long planned to build a house.

The fourth-term Democrat and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, sold their home in Oakland Hills this year, after giving up their Sacramento loft and moving into the renovated Governor’s Mansion. Brown will term out of office in 2019.

Brown, now 78, described his cabin outside Williams in 2014 as “pretty primitive,” with no water or toilet. He said at the time that the first lady “would like more amenities.”

Brown has six months from the time he submitted the plans to obtain a building permit, according to the county.

Hoover said he will start working as soon as he gets a permit.

“(Brown) wants it done now,” Hoover said. “They’re very anxious to move up here.”

Gov. Jerry Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown hosted Christmas dinner Dec. 25, 2015 for about 30 friends and family in the newly renovated Governor's Mansion. This is the first Christmas in the Mansion since it was renovated in 2015. Gov. Brown'

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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