WHAT IS THIS PLACE?
THE MOON HOUSE ANTIQUARIUM is the private residence of contemporary painter, sculptor and writer Douglas Fenn Wilson. Ten years in the making, this hand-crafted house marks the artist’s comeback from a catastrophic flood in 2005 that destroyed his previous residence. Part house, part museum, and part work of fiction, the residence weaves together archeology, futuristic design, and story into an extraordinary work that the artist himself calls “his most inspired canvas.”
While the house is not open to the public, its rooms and terraces have played host to many special events, including an occasional tour in association with the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.
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The Moon House name trails back to the Sonoma Valley’s Native American inhabitants who called the region “the Valley of the Moon.” It also brings to mind another Glen Ellen artist (Jack London) who named his house “The Wolf House.”
Construction began in 2007, although the first three years were wholly given to restoring the creek bank along the property’s eastern edge where a catastrophic flood the previous year had undercut the bank, taken out trees, and all but destroyed the modest, 1952 ranch style house which the artist had called home for almost two decades. If nothing else, the new house would be high!
By late 2008 plans and a full scale model—crafted by Wilson himself—revealed the grandeur and innovation of the artist’s vision—a vision that takes to a new level the multi-layered fusion of realism and geometry Wilson had explored in paintings and sculptures throughout his career. Here, his love for archeology, Frank Lloyd Wright, Pre- Columbian architecture, and low relief pattern and geometry soar to new heights.
Concrete trucks first boomed onto the property in November 2010, and by Christmas, 78 piers ten‑and‑a‑half feet tall established a foreboding footprint. Construction lasted until mid 2013 (about two‑and‑a‑half years). The architectural detail however—mold making, casting, and fabrication of the many interior elements dragged on for another two years. Throughout, the artist worked alongside carpenters, tradesmen, and casters making meticulous models, molding concrete, and most of all creating prototypes for 83 interior and exterior decorative components including urns, paneling, friezes, window surrounds, furniture, and counter‑tops.
Yet to be built (as of 2016) is a bedroom wing on the northwest side. What stands today as The Moon House Antiquarium, lifts the concept of a house to the level of fine art, and in a curious way, at once calls up past and future, suspending us in a time and place very much its own.
The Moon House Antiquarium
GLEN ELLEN, CALIFORNIA