Just what a way to rock and roll the house! On her behalf nine-acre property in Sonoma, California, developer Wendy Owen used local fieldstone to develop her own French-inspired community, filled up with rustic pavilions for amusing and picturesque sheds for gardening and food preparation.
David A. Makes: Are we really in north California? This appears more like a tiny village manufactured from fieldstone in the south of France.
Wendy Owen: We’re actually in the Sonoma Valley. I am attracted to the surroundings, and rock is so elemental. On my vacations in Provence, I became captivated by cabanons — small centuries-old natural stone sheds where lavender farmers take hue in heat of midday. A couple of years ago, I remained in the town of Matera, Italy, one of the oldest metropolitan areas on earth; the hotel was a lavish cave. And growing up in Great britain, I resided near Stonehenge — maybe that is where it all originates from.
What’s the allure of natural stone?
It’s characteristics and background all in a single. And it’s really lovely to have the ability to convert old things, like a French rock laundry kitchen sink and architectural features like normal water programs, into fountains. I also accumulate the tops of natural stone wells and utilize them for tables. I’ve a number of. I named the house La Maison de la Pierre — the home of Rock — but it surely should be called the home of Tables.
How have this nine-acre property evolve?
After fixing the key house, we excavated the hillside and built just a little potting shed. Over time, we’ve added five more rock buildings. If they till the dirt for vineyards close by, they remove the stones, and I acquire and utilize them. It’s all very organic and natural.
Are you a lttle bit of an Globe Mother?
I’m not really a tree hugger by itself, however when I am external, I never feel together. AS I was 14, my first job was organizing bouquets in a nursery, and today I must have flowers in my own life. And Sonoma is a real whole lot like the south of France: It’s conducive to growing lavender, nasturtium, olive trees and shrubs, shrub oaks and ornamental grasses. Our rock buildings cry away for that untamed, natural look.
stone dining area by wendy owen
How will you furnish an area where in fact the backdrop can be an exposed-stone wall?
That it is easier than dealing with the bare canvas of the white room. I mount concrete floors, that are easy to completely clean, then add old real wood beams, chunky dining tables and seating protected in rustic textiles like hemp or felted sheep’s wool. Anything from the natural world — ivy in rock bowls, moss draped by using an iron chandelier–falls directly into place. In my own lounge pavilion, I hung light accessories created from beehives; in springtime, I want to watch the swallows come in and take straw from the hives to create their nests in the beams. My visual is very much indeed about bringing the outside in.
And you’re similarly fearless about getting the indoors away.
I’ve French chair outside that are actually covered in yellowish and renewable lichen. You can’t take a seat on them, but if you ask me they’re like art work in your garden. When my son’s university performed an Alice in Wonderland-themed fund-raiser, I protected an old-fashioned needlepoint seat in ambiance moss using florist’s cable. I couldn’t spend the it, and it now resides beyond your dining area. I sometimes sprinkle it with drinking water to keep it inexperienced.
What role will color play in your house?
Gray is an all natural complement to rock. I favor a greenish or brownish grey, which is warmer. I love neutrals with splashes of shiny yellowish, chartreuse and renewable. When I wish to freshen things up, I take advantage of fabric color to make over my pads and pillows.
Your oversize upholstery hits an excellent balance between durable and plush.
I’m not into fussy floral chintz, and I’m not really a midcentury girl. WHEN I grow older, I have a tendency toward a minimalist look. When an oak comes on my property, I transform it into stools and ottomans.In fact, I’ve two oversize Ron Mann chaise longues with dense pads that you can sink into with a publication for the evening.
People must clamor for invites. Have you got a great deal of visitors?
Oh, yes, there’s an incredible energy here. People say it’s like being in a Western european natural stone ch?teau. I’ve possessed a marriage here, and with all the current fieldstone, I thought to the ladies, “Please wear flip-flops.” But of course, they used high heels.
What’s it like eating in a natural stone room with crystal chandeliers?
I once experienced a traditional guitarist come for supper. I was participating in her record in the eating out pavilion, and she said, “This is exactly what it appears like whenever we play in the chapels in Spain.” If you ask me, that’s what design is approximately — carrying people into another little world, even whether it’s just for meal. When the stand is cleared, I come in here to work, be it painting cloth or felting wool for cushions and ottomans which i sell within my shop in Sienna Antiques, in Petaluma. There’s something enchanting concerning this room, and I usually feel so encouraged.