In 2000, wine enthusiasts Scott and Bobbi Stelzle fulfilled a longstanding dream when they purchased Rancho Las Tablas, a 10-acre barley farm in Templeton. Three years later, they were planting their first syrah and petite syrah vines.
On the property was an old, dilapidated 1,200-square-foot farmhouse that the couple planned to rebuild as a combination residence and bed-andbreakfast.
“We wanted it to be part of the experience of visiting the winery,” said Bobbi.
The couple was more than qualified for the undertaking. Bobbi had a home design business in Scottsdale, Ariz., specializing in working with clients in the construction phase. Scott had a custom door and cabinet business selling to builders of high-end homes.
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At the time, Tuscan was the trend among local B&Bs. From her work in Arizona, Bobbi was more than familiar with Mediterranean architecture, but opted to go a different route.
“We wanted the architecture to honor the original home,” she said. “It’s the same farmhouse style — just way bigger.”
Bobbi drew up plans for the nearly 9,000-square-foot structure that included a full basement with room enough for a large dine-in wine cellar, winemaking facilities and a tasting room. Scott was the owner/builder.
The couple achieved their vintage farmhouse look not with doilies and knickknacks, but with a carefully selected palette of materials.
“Farmhouse sometimes sounds kind of frumpy,” she said. “We wanted it to be very clean and simple, not fussy.”
Vintage details include white wainscoting, a white paneled ceiling, and hexagon bathroom tile. Bobbi chose vintage reproduction light and plumbing fixtures, including a wallhung commode in one bathroom and a claw-foot tub in another. The large wraparound porch and attached gazebo are roomy enough for dining, lounging and basking in the vineyard views.
Wood plays a big part in the look of the interior. Bobbi designed every door and cabinet in the house, including the burgundy front doors with their Victorian-style gingerbread detailing. All of it was custom milled at Scott’s wood shop.
Bobbi wanted a large and functional kitchen to use for entertaining as well as cooking big breakfasts for B&B guests. She incorporated large prep areas, an eat-in breakfast nook, and enough room for professional-grade Viking appliances. French tile on the backsplash adds to the timeless, country charm. Bobbi also selected vintage-style cabinetry, glass drawer pulls, and a combination of marble and soapstone countertops.
“Soapstone is one of those materials that looks better the more it ages and acquires a patina,” she noted.
Rustic, natural materials give the new structure a sense of history and permanence. Floors are a rough-hewn Chilean oak. Adelaide stone, collected during construction, was used for the living room fireplace, on the stairwell to the basement, and on the exterior of the house.
The great room is a private area where guests are sometimes invited to enjoy wine and cheese tastings. It includes a living room, dining room, and a massive custom-built alder bar.
“To me, the bar is an important part of the house, because it’s where all the fun is,” said Bobbi.
Throughout the house, Bobbi combined antiques and vintage pieces with vintage reproductions, and new items. To her, mixing in some new items makes the house feel “balanced and not ‘old,’ but comfortable and fresh.”
The great room décor is more contemporary, emphasizing laid-back elegance. Upholstered chairs with graceful silhouettes become less stodgy when upholstered in casual fabrics like striped ticking. Large, leather sofas are both practical and stylish. The massive dining room chandelier is carved from weathered wood. Side tables combine galvanized metal, reclaimed wine barrel staves, and a mirrored top — a striking combination of rustic and refined.
The two guest rooms are named after their respective color schemes: the blue room and green room. Simple, vintage décor and a restful color palette make the rooms homey and serene.
The Stelzles’ original plan to create a small amount of “garage wine” for themselves and friends blossomed into a much larger operation after they sampled their first vintage in 2003, which was just after the birth of their son Jake.
In 2009, the Stelzles sold their property to Adam and Patricia Goldenberg and partnered with them on the winery. The Goldenbergs now live in the home, and the tasting room has been moved to a separate building but Bobbi still runs the bed and breakfast.
“It’s not the type of place with fancy bathrobes,” she said. “We cook a great breakfast, have wine and cheese on the porch. It’s comfy and homey and people seem to love it.”
For more information on the B&B, go to http://www.venteuxvineyards.com.