The olive groves that surround this Sonoma, California, home are quite literally the stuff of legend. “I don’t know that it’s been officially substantiated,” cautions designer Patrick Printy, but supposedly his clients’ orchard was originally planted in the mid-19th century by local military hero and founder of Sonoma Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. “It was one of the reasons why the outdoor element of the house became so prominent: to capitalize on that orchard.”
As part of the renovation, Printy worked with architect George Bevan of Bevan & Associates and landscape architect Mike Lucas of Lucas & Lucas to create a home in which every single room orients toward or opens up to that leafy greenery outside. “The concept for the outdoor space was to create this amazing habitat within the grove. There’s a fire pit, a bocce court, and an outdoor kitchen and dining area where you can move the tables around,” Printy says. “All the elements are designed to be really mobile, because you’re either chasing the sun or chasing the shade all day.” And with Northern California’s otherworldly climate, the owners can keep the doors open all the time with no fear of bugs.
The homeowners often host dinner parties or have their kids’ friends hanging around: “Sonoma is a very social place, and people are in and out all the time.” Printy has a home in town as well; he launched his interior design firm in 2005, after many years of styling sets and catalogs for brands like Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, and RH, Restoration Hardware.
He found ways to give all the rooms these great breaths of fresh air: There are almost no window treatments (and no neighbors as far as the eye can see), and the window trim throughout is an earthy stone hue, Benjamin Moore’s Iron Gate. “We wanted to give the windows and doors a little interest, but we didn’t want to paint them black,” Printy says. “That was too harsh for this area.” Of course, some of that breezy spaciousness can be attributed to ceilings that soar to nearly 20 feet in some spots.
Then there are the ceiling beams. “We didn’t use reclaimed wood, because we wanted this house to feel a bit more contemporary,” he explains, but “we wanted some crust on them.” The team chose new, rough-sawn oak, then experimented once the beams were in place. “We rubbed concrete over them and let that dry, then we chipped some of it off, and finally, we tea-stained them,” he says. Thankfully, it turned out beautifully, because, as Printy notes, “it was not an easy process for the guys.”
For the furniture, Printy chose neutrals with a little punch. “We used a lot of menswear-style fabrics. The sofas are a herringbone wool, in really pretty brown and taupe,” he says. “We wanted plenty of texture—a mix of wools, cottons, and prints—to give each room multiple layers of interest.” These rich patterns and materials help ground all the light and air in the house.
One of Printy’s favorite spots is the kitchen, which is completely open to the dining room. “We have a serious workhorse here,” Printy says of the space, which has a bar cabinet, adjacent mudroom, and no fewer than four dishwashers. “The homeowners are big entertainers, so we even have a dishwasher that’s just for wineglasses,” he laughs. The legend of Sonoma, indeed.
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