As of last Sunday, the 2013 Napa Valley Showhouse at the Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena California is history. Sometime next year, many of its beautifully designed rooms will appear in the glossy pages of Traditional Home Magazine, but nothing tops visiting a quality show house in person and seeing it firsthand. And speaking of firsts, it was a first for me. Not just doing a show house: I’ve been privileged to take part in a number of good ones over the years. But I had never done one on the West Coast before. And if you haven’t been there, let me tell you, the Napa Valley is one of this country’s most beautiful areas. So of course I said Yes when they asked me! Yes yes yes!
Trad Home has been sponsoring showhouses for a number of years but the house they chose this time was unique: an expansive hundred-year-old farmhouse owned by vintner Peter Mondavi and designed by Willis Polk, one of San Francisco’s most important historically architects. And while you know I always love to see what’s new in the design world, I also love history, so this was a perfect chance for me to do one of my favorite things–blend the two!
The dining room still retained its historic wood paneling, so we introduced color with fabric–the fun Kravet Kelly Wearstler print upholstery on their custom chairs (thank you so for a fabulous job with expediting), the crazy cool Jonathan Adler for Kravet fabric sourced for the roman shades and the glistening Maya Romanoff wall covering above the plate rail-one of my favorite local Chi town vendors. Thank you also to Benjamin Moore for donating the paint for the ceiling and another shout out to Bloomingdale’s for supplying all the tabletop accessories. Speaking of my dining room tabletop…. the showstopper was a one-of-a-kind ceramic masterpiece by Ohio artist Tara Winslow. I became obsessed with Tara’s works when first spied at the High Point Market last Spring.
One thing I didn’t do was use any wine-themed motifs–old labels, bottles, grape leaves, that stuff–because those things were all around us already. What would be the point? Instead, I used a series of blues & greens in our room: some soft, some vibrant, all beautiful, and, together, perfect complements to the warm tones of the wood. Plus a gigantic table big enough for the whole Peter Mondavi family. It featured a glass-topped gearwheel out from a historic European water mill, and let me tell you, getting that beast into place was a real feat for our heroic installers, who had to roll its ancient wood–very carefully--through the other designers’ rooms without wrecking the floors. When we finally got it into place, we were all ready for a glass of wine. Maybe more than one!
But it wasn’t just the installers whose efforts I need to mention. To everyone involved in this massive project–the magazine that invited us, the other talented designers I got to meet, the Charles Krug winery, the Napa Film Festival that benefits from all the visitors, and all the patient and professional work crews, a big Thank You from all of us at BID. Thank you for making me feel welcome at my first California showhouse. And to my own team–back in rainy, cold Chicago, while I was basking in the glory of a California autumn–you are the best! (But you already know that.)