Home Away from HomeAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Corinne Mathern creates a dreamy event destination out of an expansive villa in the Santa Ynez Valley
“I felt as though the property had an existing personality and was ready for a new owner to infuse life into it and I loved the concept of turning the residence into an event space-as with all of the hospitality spaces we work on, we infuse a residential feel to them so guests feel welcome and ‘at home’, says L.A.-based designer Corinne Mathern about a remarkable residential property that she was enlisted to transform into the Grassini Family Vineyard’s event villa. “The fact that La Tarantella was already a residence made it feel like the design brief was written for us.”
Nestled on a 100-acre property in the Santa Ynez Valley, the 10,000-square-foot home was converted into the event space now known as La Tarantella in response to the region’s booming growth. “My sister and her husband run Grassini Family Vineyards and La Tarantella and my parents own the properties,” says Mathern. “La Tarantella at Grassini Family Vineyards welcomes their guests to enjoy the beautiful backdrop of the vineyard within a space that was designed to contribute to the story of the family, the history of the vineyard as well as the history of the property.”
The original owners instilled the residence with exquisite architectural details that evoke historical charm including 16′ high, beamed-Cedar ceilings in the living room, clerestory windows, incredible 18th century French fireplaces and Douglas fir and Cedar beams in the lounge. “As part of our brief, we wanted to lean into those elements and compliment them with vintage and custom furniture,” she notes.
Like most properties developed in the past three years, Mathern faced time constraints and production limitations from the pandemic. “With the talks of supply chain issues and shipping delays, we knew we had a challenge on our hands which made the project more exciting,” Mathern recalls of her five month deadline. “We made the decision that the project would need to be 90% vintage and custom pieces in order to hit the demanding timeline, which made it quite a challenge. We completed the install in the knick of time, two days before their first big event—a 300 person wedding.”
Mathern was able to swiftly deliver the desired design within the timeframe and still leave the family in awe. “Upon reveal, we poured Katie Grassini McKillen and Dean McKillen (who run Grassini Family Vineyards and La Tarantella) and Larry and Sharon Grassini (the founders) a glass of Grassini Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc and walked them in through the massive rustic doors that open into the courtyard,” she recalls. “They were speechless, which was unheard of for the very verbose family. They just kept gasping in joy and pointing and smiling which was so fun to watch. After we finished the tour, everyone ended up in the lounge and continued to talk about how transformed the space was. It was satisfying to see how the space would be occupied in the future-welcoming friends and family to enjoy.”