Time to Unwind


Arthur McLaughlin has a passion for creating inviting, urbane interiors for city-dwelling clients who often escape to Sonoma. He applied this same lauded style when designing his own vacation retreat in Healdsburg. “It integrates a number of ideas I’ve collected over the years along with new ones,” McLaughlin says of the newly built 1,900-square-foot house. Soaring with light and imbued with soul, it’s as much a functioning weekend escape for the designer as it is a pure incarnation of his superb sensibility.

One of several outdoor seating areas offers a shady place to relax.

A custom Tretford goat-hair rug with dove-colored leather trim anchors the seating group in the living room, which includes a Frank Gehry Wiggle side chair and an Oggetti coffee table.

Over-size mirrors in the living room make a statement paired with a vintage console and Lucite bench.

Architect Nick Pater and Ebersole Construction worked with McLaughlin to create what the latter calls a “contemporary cottage” to match the scale of the late-1880s homes in the surrounding neighborhood. Tall lattice fencing sequesters the two-bedroom, open-plan residence and additional outbuilding, which open onto a charming garden with no-mow grass, fruit trees and several outdoor seating areas. French doors and 12-foot ceilings amplify light, while aged French oak wood flooring lends the space warmth and texture. “I kept everything super-white and neutral inside and out,” McLaughlin explains.

McLaughlin went white on white in the airy kitchen.

A pristine all-white master bath.

A favorite artwork by British artist Ambrose McEvoy presides over the master bedroom.

The designer brought in wood textures in the guest bath.

The designer culled from a trove of art and objects he collected over the years to furnish both the main home and detached office, including a stunning pair of 11-foot-tall mirrors originally from San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House. “From the dining room, you get a reflection of the outdoors in their brass frames,” notes the designer. Custom pieces of McLaughlin’s own design include a fine goat- hair rug made to withstand heavy foot traffic in the living room. As McLaughlin notes, “It’s like everything in this home—both aesthetically beautiful and completely functional, and that’s what I love about this space.”

Old concrete found on the property was recycled to create inviting pathways in the garden and paving beneath an outdoor dining area.

A monumental stone bust from McLaughlin’s collection rests in the garden.