Hand in Hand


Wade Design Architects and Jennifer Robin Interiors partner up to transform a house into a home that celebrates its breathtaking wine country views

Perfecting scale and layering texture were essential in this space. The sofa is from Dmitry & Co. The coffee table is from Dos Gallos. The chairs are from McGuire/Baker Furniture. The jute rug is by Christopher Farr from DeSousa Hughes. Photo by Paul Dyer Photography

Contrary to popular belief, it’s limitation, not freedom, that breeds creativity. Wade Design Architects’ Luke Wade would agree. “Reflecting on the many remodel projects I’ve worked on, the best find success by honoring the existing house, rather than having a mindset of imposition,” he shares. “If harmonious spaces are a goal, you have to make your peace with what’s not changing, and bring creativity and vision to a blended outcome.” Witness this Healdsburg home his firm recently tackled for a family who dreamed of a place that would serve as a retreat from their busy lives. “We walked the site together shortly after they had purchased the property,” he recalls. “There really is no replacement for meeting in person to align visions and see opportunity.”

The wing chairs are by Pinch, discovered at The Future Perfect and covered in a Holland & Sherry velvet.
 A plaster finish was applied to the fireplace and soft drapery added to the newly elevated doors and windows to ease the grand scale
Photo by Paul Dyer Photography

The 1990s era Mediterranean-style home was closed off from the outdoors, completely ignoring the views. Its interior was dark, disjointed and uninviting. “Remedying the entry sequence, connecting the interior to the exterior and unifying the interiors were our three primary objectives,” Wade notes. Interior designer Jennifer Robin concurs. “The home had incredible wine country views,” she says, remembering her first visit. “It was obvious these needed to take center stage so opening up the home to embrace its location was a central goal,” she says. “Because the home would primarily be used for weekends and vacations, we wanted to create a casual and barefoot-friendly environment that immediately telegraphed rest, relaxation and escape.” Interior design, she observes, is a balancing act. “When done well, there’s harmony and complement between the architecture, landscape and interiors,” she stresses. “My philosophy as a designer is all about creating cohesion so the goal here was a natural palette that didn’t compete with the landscape yet felt grounding for the homeowners, holding them in comfort.”

The sofa console is from Dos Gallos. The photo in the dining room is by Richard Misrach. Photo by Paul Dyer Photography

Wade looked to the historic adobe structures of California and New Mexico, with their exposed heavy timber beams and their plaster walls, for inspiration in reimagining the house. “This choice blended well with the home’s existing clay tile roof,” he says. He reconfigured the awkward interiors, moving a second floor walkway to one side and adding a loft, creating an airy double height living room with a vaulted ceiling and an intimate formal dining room. An office was absorbed into the kitchen, doubling its size. He banished the uninviting low-slung entry porch, replacing it with a timber trellis that flooded the home with light and confirmed its indoor-outdoor connection. So too do the home’s new large steel-framed windows and doors. “The views overlooking the vineyards are stunning, and letting the home open up to embrace the outdoors and the new pool gave the interior spaces a new point of view,” Wade points out. “We also added a new outdoor room next to the house.” Perched above the pool and designed with three open sides, it provides shade during the summer; motorized roll-down insect screens allow for its instant conversion into a screen porch. 

The dining chairs, by Magni Home Collection, were discovered at Coup d’Etat. The rug is from Marc Phillips.
The Gregorius Pineo light fixture was found at Kneedler Fauchere. Photo by Paul Dyer Photography
The island, created from wire-brushed oak, is paired with Sawyer Made’s stools from March SF. Metal cabinet uppers are matched with lower cabinets painted in Benjamin Moore’s Yorktown Green. Robert Long pendants hang above the island. Photo by Paul Dyer Photography

That successful blend of old and new also threads through Robin’s work on the interiors. “They clients had a handful of sentimental antiques they wanted us to incorporate,” says Robin. “We always welcome this request; the addition of antiques adds patina and soul and, when combined with new pieces, always results in something interesting.”

Travertine mosaic by Ann Sacks covers the backsplash. The faucets are by Dornbracht. Concrete by Sonoma Cast Stone was used for the countertops. Photo by Paul Dyer Photography
JRI custom designed reclaimed wood table, fabricated by Jasper McCarty, is surrounded by Pinch chairs and a Dualoy leather breakfast banquette in a vintage finish. The light fixture is by Hector Finch. Photo by Paul Dyer Photography

While the clients took an active role in the home’s design, they were still astounded with the result.  “We always say that solutions are in the collaboration,” says Wade, who praises the clients and Robin as well as Arterra Landscape Architects and builder, Wright Residential. “A great outcome requires everyone communicating and respecting each others efforts.”  

The entryway’s rug is by Erden. The bench is by Michael Robbins. The round stone table was found at Lucca Antiques.
Photo by Paul Dyer Photography
Photo by Paul Dyer Photography