People Saving Places Through Preservation

2023 Award of Merit Applications

Pujals residence, a 2018 Award of Merit recipient. 

Napa County Landmarks (NCL) Award of Merit program has 6 categories and criteria to encourage local preservation of historic places, landscapes, sites, and districts in Napa County. We are seeking the public’s recommendations.

   Category #1 is for Preservation or Restoration of an existing historic building at least 50 years old. Its description is: preservation places a high standard on the retention of existing form, integrity, and materials of an historic property through protection, conservation, maintenance and repair. The project should reflect the building’s continuum over time, through successive occupancies and the respectful changes that have been made. Restoration focuses on the retention of form, features and character from another period and limiting the upgrades to mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

Category #2 is for Rehabilitation or adaptive reuse of an historic building. Its description is: rehabilitation emphasizes the retention and repair of an historic materials, however, provides for more latitude for replacements as it is assumed the property is more deteriorated prior to work. This category also allows for changes necessary to allow the historic structure to be put to a new use.

Category #3 is for Historic landscapes. The study, preservation or restoration of cultural landscape features having historical significance, whether through its integral contribution to the context of a qualified property or district, or in its own right. Such features can include roads and streets, lights and benches, vegetation, gardens, and yards, open spaces such as fields, parks, commons, or woodlands.

Category #4 is for Cultural studies, leadership, stewardship, legislation, reports, publications, programs, and computer software. Creative, innovative, and precedent-setting approaches to technological and preservation planning issues, non-profit or government programs, educational awareness, or advancement.

Category #5 is for Preservationist of the Year. Its description is: An individual who has made exceptional efforts and a significant contribution to protecting and preserving irreplaceable historic sites/resources in Napa County.

Category #6 is for Special recognition. This could be granted for a person/program not falling under a category defined above, that could be considered exemplary for other reasons.

To submit a recommendation please click here for the nomination form.

Telesis House

People Saving Places Through Preservation

2020 Award of Merit Recipient


Telesis House front view. Photo courtesy: Drew Kelly.

The Telesis House award was presented by NCL Board Director, Dan Cutright. His remarks, “Merriam Webster defines “Telesis” as “Progress that is intelligently planned and directed – the attainment of desired ends by the application of intelligent human effort to the means”.

Napa County Landmarks has given its annual Award of Merit to Metropolitan Architecture Practice (MAP), Katherine Lambert and Christiane Robbins, owners. The award is for Category 1, Restoration and Preservation of an existing historic building at least 50 years old.

Telesis House main entrance. Photo courtesy: Joe Fletcher.

This house is aptly named. The original owner/builder was Milton Munger, a nuclear submarine engineer at Mare Island Naval Shipyard and a founding member of the Sierra Club. His wife, Winifred, was the Napa County librarian in 1950 when construction of the house began. Notable Bay Area architect Jack Hilmer was commissioned to design the home. Hilmer was a visionary and himself part of the association of intellectual peers, mostly architects calling themselves “ Telesis’.

Interior living room facing southeast. Photo courtesy: Joe Fletcher.

The group was rooted in the idea of “collectivism” which had at its core “searching for a better life for us all”. This house was born of that philosophy, a groundbreaking effort at energy efficiency and early ‘green’ building.


Mungers working on foundation circa 1950. Photo courtesy: Munger Family Archives.

Hilmer’s philosophy and Munger’s sensibilities resulted in a collaborative design of a house far ahead of its time. It is stunning in appearance and incredibly innovative in its incorporation early sustainable building and systems methods. It sits on a beautiful one-acre site in southwest Napa featuring finished landscaping, a pool and privacy screening provided by an architecturally designed perimeter fence and heritage oak trees.

There is a long list of notable innovative features including a first generation ‘warm floor-radiant heating system’ where heated water is pumped through a system of copper pipes embedded beneath the custom baselite tile floor. The original system, save the boiler, is intact and in use today. The Munger’s, who literally built the house themselves, sometimes with the help of neighbors, even cast the floor tiles onsite themselves, from molds still in possession of the current owners. The Mungers, tolling over 10 years from the start of construction in 1950, never really completed the house entirely.  The restoration, which restored the house to nearly 100% original, also resulted in the house’s final completion by Katherine & Chris.  There are only minor changes, including the re-purposing of a large display case built of old growth redwood (no longer available as building material today) and a simple change in the ‘flow’ of the access to the wing where the bedrooms and bathrooms are located. The old growth redwood was 100% repurposed in the house and used for the repair in other areas where needed. All of it survived.

Data collection of sun’s time of day impact facing south. Photo courtesy: Dwell Magazine.


The notable design of the home’s sloping roof lines and its orientation to the south and east, takes maximum advantage of the movement of the sun throughout the year to maximize the ‘passive’ solar benefits of its cool shading in summer and warmth in winter.  Munger, an engineer, performed painstaking calculations (many years before computers and CAD programs) as well as months of personal observation of the sun’s movement throughout the year to accomplish this.


Floor plan. Photo courtesy: Munger Family Archives.

Four materials compose the house, old growth redwood, custom cast baselite for floors and wall layering (between layers of old growth redwood), glass and steel. The layout begins at the kitchen, the house’s core and unwinds from there as an unfurling ribbon, when viewed from a bird’s eye.  There are no 90-degree angles in the house, rather a series of 120-degree angles as it unfurls. It is thought that Joseph Eichler, of Eichler Homes fame, was a guest here and took inspiration from its for his distinct subdivisions.

 You can view pictures and obtain more information about the house by visiting”

Salvador Union School

People Saving Places Through Preservation

2020 Award of Merit Recipient


Salvador Union School front entrance. Photo courtesy: Napa County Landmarks.

Salvador Union School award for Category 1, Rehabilitation/Preservation, was presented by NCL Board Director, Bill Tuikka. His remarks,” Napa County Landmarks is proud to present this preservation / restoration award to the Napa Unified School District. 

1923 class photo taken outside on school campus at Salvador Avenue. Photo courtesy: Napa Valley Register 2019.
Salvador School on Big Ranch Road circa 1869. Photo courtesy: Napa Valley Register 2019.

The original Salvador School was built in 1868 on Big Ranch Road. By 1922, the independent school districts consolidated, and the Salvador Union School District purchased property
for the Salvador Elementary School, and this building was built in 1923, with several small additions built several years later.

Front entrance sconce detail. Photo courtesy: Napa County Landmarks.

The original Mission Revival style building contained over 9,600 square feet, housing a multi-purpose room, four classrooms, two offices and two restrooms.

Interior hallway with period light fixtures. Photo courtesy: Napa County Landmarks.

The architect was Norman R. Coulter of San Francisco, who designed numerous public buildings throughout northern California.

In 1965 the Salvador District built several new school buildings adjacent to this building, and in 1967, after rejecting demolition bids that the district deemed too high, the 1923 school building was saved, and for many years was used for storage. Starting several years ago, using Measure M Bond funding, the building has been faithfully restored and retains its original appearance on the outside while restoring many of the original details on the inside.  


Classroom with original restored windows. Photo courtesy: Napa County Landmarks.

Zuk Financial Building

People Saving Places Through Preservation

2020 Award of Merit Recipient


The Zuk Financial Building. Photo courtesy: Napa County Landmarks.

The Zuk Financial Building award for Category 1 Restoration/Preservation, was presented by NCL Board Director, Annemarie Hastings. Her remarks, “The Zuk Building, at 1340 4th Street at Franklin, in Napa is presented the Napa County Landmarks Award of Merit for interior restoration and preservation.

Interior hallway with wood detail. Photo courtesy: Napa County Landmarks.

It is currently home to Zuk Financial Group, and its president and co-founder Paula Key who founded the company with Cory Zuk in 1974. Also known as the Murphy Building for John Murphy, Paula’s husband and owner, the 1897 Victorian has originally been just one-story, however was razed in the 1920’s to create ground floor apartments.

Interior front door with wood detail. Photo courtesy: Napa County Landmarks.

The project was a collaboration of local builders, architects and designers: Chris D. Craiker of Craiker Architects,  Jason Yeakey of Titan Builders, and Marie Leonard of Marie Lyall Interior Design. Chris Craiker, who has been designing sustainable buildings for more than 40 years, and is with us today has noted, “The building is a jewel in the Napa’s Old Town tiara. We strove to make this a showcase of both historic renovation and to celebrate the revival of a Downtown office.”


Interior sun room looking onto street below. Photo courtesy: Napa County Landmarks.

    The 3200-plus square foot structure has been beautifully restored with exceptional attention to detail especially with regard to the abundant wood finishes and inlaid flooring. Artifacts from its rich history are displayed in a bright sun room showcasing fully restored windows that overlook the tree-lined downtown Napa street.  

Inlay wood detail of stairway. Photo courtesy: Napa County Landmarks.


The restoration effort has garnered numerous other awards, and Napa County Landmarks is proud to applaud the efforts in preserving and restoring this downtown gem.


The Gordon Building

People Saving Places Through Preservation

2020 Award of Merit Recipient


Gordon Building exterior. Photo courtesy:

The Gordon Building award for Category 1, Restoration/Preservation and Category 2, Rehabilitation/Adaptive Reuse, was presented by NCL Board Director, Shari Kamimori. Her remarks, “Napa County Landmarks would like to present the Award of Merit for restoration and preservation to the Historic Gordon Building.

Front entrance after. Photo courtesy:
Gordon Building sign before. Photo courtesy:

Located on the northeast corner of First and Coombs Street in Downtown Napa, Samuel Gordon constructed and completed the Gordon building in 1929.  The Spanish Colonial Revival-Style building is notable for its terra cotta siding and ornate floral details. Along with the former Merrill’s Building, also a Gordon construction, these are the only two terra cotta buildings in downtown Napa. In 1985, the Gordon Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Entry light closeup after. Photo courtesy: Napa County Landmarks.

The historic Gordon Building was acquired by Zapolski Real Estate in November 2013, and in 2019 the building had undergone a full historic rehabilitation, after the 2014 South Napa Earthquake, to include:  restoration of the historic facade, lobby and structural interior elements.

An interior shoring system was placed to support the building while the unreinforced masonry walls were removed and repaired. After careful removal of the interior iron, 35% of the building with original finishes from 1929 were put back. This included duplicating plaster crown molding for re-installation as well as recreating the original plaster finishes on the wall and rebuilding historical mezzanines to their original appearances.

Mezzanine at ceiling detail before. Photo courtesy:

Project team consisted of:
Wright Contracting Company,
Rainbow Waterproofing,
Napa Design Partners and
ZFA Structural Engineers.



Interior mezzanine after. Photo courtesy: