Divine DiningAuthor:Annette Hanami
Geoffrey De Sousa imbues modern elegance into a classic vineyard dining scape
WHEN FAMILY-OWNED Jordan Vineyard & Winery decided to embark on a major remodel of their dining room after 20 years, they knew they needed a designer who could capture the essence of the ingredient-driven food and wine program that sits on more than 1,000 acres of natural preserve in Sonoma County. Their vision, said executive chef Todd Knoll, “was to refresh the room in a way that pays respect to our French inspiration while honoring the land and conveying an appreciation of timeless beauty and craftsmanship.”
They enlisted San Francisco interior designer and co-owner of De Sousa Hughes, Geoffrey De Sousa, not only for a fresh new approach but also for his ability to fuse classic and contemporary styles. De Sousa worked closely with owner John Jordan and husband-wife culinary and hospitality team Todd and Nitsa Knoll to capture the emotion of the space by combining urban flair with wine country elegance.
Inspired by Chef Knoll’s tales of foraging on fog-shrouded mornings among lichen-draped ancient oaks, moss-covered rocks and thick underbrush, De Sousa chose an ethereal Wall&deco wallcovering in a mysterious, forest-like pattern called Midsummer Night to cover the existing buttercup yellow paint. The textured, non-woven wallpaper was formed meticulously over the walls’ neoclassical frame moldings from ceiling to baseboard, accentuating the room’s architectural details in a seamless way.
Complementing the dreamlike setting are exquisite hand-embroidered chairs by haute couture artist Geraldine Larkin, each offering a story as distinctly different as the precocious habitats on the estate they illustrate. The organic backdrop is grounded by a custom bronze grand fireplace and complemented by original terracotta tile flooring refinished in a warm gray tone. Hanging above, patinaed brass chandeliers recall French Beaux Arts classicism in a modern industrial style, spotlighting elegant table settings and impeccably prepared dishes. Tucked behind the dining room is a whimsical statue, Piethian Apollo, by New York artist Stephen Antonson, part of his pie-faced bust series, which is a playful take on the neoclassical look that fits in with the lighthearted culture Jordan is known for. Accent walls and woodwork painted in a deep gray-navy add depth and timeless elegance to the spaces.
Of his first winery project, Geoffrey De Sousa said, “The Jordan dining room is now not only an homage to old-world France, it’s also a portrait of the surrounding estate and the chef’s philosophy.”