Along with budding grapevines, spring brings another familiar sight to the Edna Valley: lace, tuxedos and roses, set against a backdrop of rural California countryside.
It’s a similar marriage of rustic and elegant that inspired the remodel of a 1960s family home at Greengate Ranch and Vineyard. Now known as the Ranch House, it is a combination vacation rental and space for bridal parties to prepare for the many weddings hosted by the ranch.
Greengate Ranch is located in the Edna Valley just outside San Luis Obispo. In the 19th century, it was a dairy farm, then an Arabian horse ranch under the ownership of Jay and Dorothy Stream. In 2012, the ranch sold, and its new owner, local businessman John Wilson, planted 75 acres of pinot noir and chardonnay grapes and set about restoring the structures on the property.
Under the direction of architect Ernie Kim and William Ridino Construction, the Ranch House was completely gutted and renovated. Kim retained the original footprint, but reworked the layout, which now includes six bedroom suites. The garage was converted into a spacious game and media room, bringing the total square footage to 6,000.
The renovation preserved original features that enhance the rustic charm of the home. For instance, workers cleaned and refinished the original cedar-lined vaulted ceilings. One fireplace was refurbished in a Spanish style and now adds ambience to a bedroom suite. A top priority was to forge a connection with the local landscape. Kim and ranch staff considered the view of hills and vineyards when placing large picture windows and glass doors in each room. Folding café doors connect the great room with a well-appointed outdoor living area that includes a generously sized patio, outdoor kitchen, bocce ball court, horseshoe pits, and an infinity-edge spa.
Operations manager Marjan Kelsey worked closely with interior designer Anne Fortini to pull together the interior. Kelsey’s vision: “to create a stylish home with a modern, rustic vibe,” she said.
Each space combines refinement and rustic comfort. One prime example is the game and media room. Seating pieces are distinctly modern, with squared-off profiles and leather upholstery. There are handsome, high-end game tables including a custom-built shuffleboard table. And yet the bar area is charmingly rustic. It was designed by Fortini and fabricated by Sven Hammer of salvaged barn wood with a zinc countertop. Pipes were used as brackets, and barstools were crafted from wine barrels.
On one long, 25-foot wall, Fortini found an inventive way to divert attention away from the large flat-panel television. She had a portion of the wall paneled in rugged, reclaimed barn wood. Framing the television is a storage unit for media equipment and decorative accents crafted from rustic materials in a straight-lined contemporary design.
This is how Fortini deftly combines rustic and modern throughout the house. The key, she said, is the “use of neutrals and textures mixed with straight, non-fussy, simple lines.”
These simple lines create a serene ambience in the bedroom suites. For instance, in one room, she balanced a soaring ceiling with a tall canopy bed crafted from rustic wood in a simple, almost primitive de sign. At the foot of the bed are elegant leather wing-back chairs with nailhead trim. Fortini said the choice of furniture in the house is “comfortable transitional,” mixing contemporary and traditional with an overall sense of casual ease.
Despite 21st century comforts and luxe amenities, agrarian elements run through every room in the house — a theme Fortini calls “rustic horse ranch lodge.” Many pieces are one-of-a-kind, using reclaimed materials. The dining table and benches that seat up to 14 were created by local woodworker Jory Brigham using French oak wine sticks. A custom light fixture in the kitchen designed by Fortini and created by Hammer is a repurposed railroad beam hung on massive iron chains with industrial-style pendant lights. It creates an appealing sense of contrast against refined materials, such as the polished granite island.
Fortini paid homage to California’s Native American and Spanish roots throughout the house. She incorporated Native American designs into textiles and artwork. Spanish motifs are found in tilework and wrought iron pieces.
The Ranch House was completed last May. It has hosted vacationing families, including one group that came from out of state to spend the holidays there. Plenty of brides and grooms have said their vows on the property, including a pitcher for the Washington Nationals. Said Corinne Smith, director of marketing and events, “Each of the guests is special to us, and we have a few returning guests for 2015, which is the best compliment of all.”