Home & Garden

Brian and Johnine Talley put down vintage roots overlooking their vineyards and farms

The Talley home in Arroyo Grande.
Photo by Joe Johnston 07-13-10
The Talley home in Arroyo Grande. Photo by Joe Johnston 07-13-10 Tribune

The Talley family began growing vegetables in Arroyo Grande’s historic Biddle Ranch area in 1948, and planted their first grape vines there in 1982. Now, Brian and Johnine Talley also call the region home.

Brian is president of Talley Vineyards. In 1994, the Talley family, which includes Brian’s mother and cousins, purchased an additional 3,600 acres of the hilly cattle ranch. Years before, Brian already knew he wanted to build a home there for his family.

“I was on a hike one morning and walked up to the top of the hill,” he reminisced. “To the west you could see a large ship sailing by. To the south-east, you look out at Huasna Road where we grow lemons, and to the northwest, you look toward the vineyards.”

The ranch was divided into 56 custom home sites and named Las Ventanas. The Talleys would be its first residents.

The couple wanted a home that was original in style, yet compatible with the surrounding landscape and oak trees.

“There had been a lot of Tuscan-influenced architecture and early California already,” said Brian. “We wanted something more unique.”

The Talleys were fond of the country homes they saw in France. They also found a photo of an English cottage with features they admired. They presented this mélange of French country and Tudor architectural styles to their architect Jim Dummitt.

The couple wanted the interior to be a good fit for their busy lifestyle, which includes running the family business and keeping up with two teenaged daughters. A top priority was to have a comfortable, informal space. For this reason, they bypassed the formal living room in favor of a large family room at the front of the house. A small upstairs loft houses the television.

They chose hard-wearing, low-maintenance materials including rustic, wide-plank hickory floors. Leathered granite countertops in the indoor and outdoor kitchens are rough-hewn and more natural in appearance than polished stone. Their massive knotty alder doors, purchased from Jimmy’s Door and Trim, are Old World in style.

In contrast, the master bath is the one spot where refined luxury sets the stage for a restful space. Gray-blue walls and gray marble for the floors and vanity offer a cool contrast to the earthy feel of the rest of the home.

The family entertains often, for friends, family as well as for business clients. A top priority was to have an open floor plan and large kitchen for parties. These gatherings also tend to spill out onto the family’s back porch that is equipped with an outdoor kitchen, fireplace and pizza oven. The capacity of the approximately 3,600- square-foot-home was recently put to the test when the family hosted a sit-down dinner for 65 people in honor of Brian’s mother’s birthday.

An approximately 400-square-foot detached guest house allows overnight guests a quiet, private space. The guest cottage has its own patio overlooking the family’s infinity-edge pool.

Naturally, a wine cellar was a mandatory part of the plan. More interested in keeping their wine at the proper temperature than in building a showcase, the wine cellar is spacious, but utilitarian in style.

“It’s very much in keeping with our general philosophy, which is about being very pragmatic and not being too fussy,” said Brian.Their unfussy, “less is more” aesthetic also influences the way the Talleys furnished their home. In no rush to fill it with furniture and accessories, they are comfortable with empty spaces, waiting patiently until the right pieces come along. The couple gravitates toward simple, durable furnishings and minimal accessories.

The house was completed in April of this year. Since then, Brian has enjoyed the short commute to work, and the entire family has relished the chance to share their new home with friends and family. But for Brian, the best moments are enjoying the surrounding vistas.“We love the views,” said Brian. “It’s not just the natural beauty, but I enjoy looking at the land we farm. It makes me proud of what the family has done over the years.”

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