My Little Victorian Inn Project – and a special offer for you!

My Little Victorian Inn Project – and a special offer for you!

My wine country Inn project revealed and a special offer to readers.

For awhile now I’ve been working on a hotel project in Healdsburg; a quaint small town in the heart of Northern California’s wine country. It’s been a fairly slow moving process as the owners have several properties – other inns, wineries, etc. that all need attention at the same time. That being said, I go at their pace and tremendously enjoy watching the progress made even in baby steps. I have wanted to get you acquainted for some time. So, at long last, here is a place that is near and dear to me: The Grape Leaf Inn.

The first item on the renovation list was painting the exterior.


The next area we focused on was public spaces. We reconfigured the furnishings in these rooms to create a new reception area and dining room(s).

I had a custom table made for communal dining. The adjacent dining room also has custom tables of two. The tables are all the same length so if there is a large event, the tables could be lined up to create one long table for 28 guests. 


The modern variation of a windsor chair blends the traditional architecture and old fashioned charm of the original inn with a clean and current feel. They are from here.



The next phase included two brand new suites. A completely blank canvas which served as our design springboard for the rest of the 10 suites. The nightstand on the right side of the bed arrived broken. A new, matching one has since arrived.

An outdoor shower in this suite… 🙂



A private courtyard too.



There were additional tweaks made to each room after these photos were taken, as more accessories arrived, etc. 

I will continue to show photos periodically of the progress. In the meantime, Grape Leaf Inn has generously offered FarmHouseUrban readers a special rate of 25% off! Just email or call 707-395-0929 and mention “FarmHouseUrban special rate” and you will get your discount!

The inn is located about two blocks from the center square in downtown Healdsburg. The surrounding area is breathtakingly beautiful wine country! 

For more information about Grape Leaf Inn, click here.

Have a wonderful weekend!




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Weekend Recap – Girlfriends Weekend in Wine Country

Weekend Recap – Girlfriends Weekend in Wine Country

A girls get-away weekend celebrating a birthday in wine country

Well hi to you… I'm in the midst of a super exhilarating work whirlwind at the moment! As such, I have BIG news that I'm excited to share with you – my dear readers – in the next week or so, so please stay tuned! I hope you had a wonderful weekend… I spent it with a group of girlfriends at this magical place celebrating a birthday among us.

We didn't leave this spot very much…

The birthday girl (right) and me checking out the pool. I'm very fortunate to have been here before, not for an overnight, but spent the day at the pool a couple of times with out of towners who were guests. I think cannon balls might have taken place…No cannon balls took place this time.

On my way home I decided to stop for a snack here. Then I took a little stroll down the street and ended up at a place I have wanted to check out for a long time – Ma(i)sonry in Yountville. Part art gallery, part wine tasting establishment, and now partnering with Restoration Hardware, it is quite a sight to behold! I am still not 100% sure what the partnership exactly entails despite having had it explained to me 3-4 times. But there were lots of phrases used like 'bought our concept' and 'shared experiences' and 'we will continue to own this, but they will own this too' … Anyway, here are some photos I took..


Isn't this little guy cute??

All of the pieces you see in the photos are for sale. If interested, please click here.


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Henrybuilt – my visit to the new Mill Valley showroom

Henrybuilt – my visit to the new Mill Valley showroom

A tour of the Henrybuilt showroom in Mill Valley, CA.

Hi loves. I'm writing to you from bed with a whopping cold. I can't remember the last time I felt this bad. Hot water with lemon and honey and lots of rest is my plan for the day. So forgive me – I'm lite on words today…

I'm excited to share with you a modern cabinet resource that is high on style but even more important, is designed smartly and efficiently. Form follows function without any aesthetic compromise. Here is my visit to the Henrybuilt showroom in Mill Valley, CA!

First, a little aside… Janet Hall the showroom manager is an old friend of mine from my Seattle days. Our daughters went to the same teeny tiny preschool in our old neighborhood when they were 2. Janet also is one of the founders of the uber popular blog Remodelista. She is a connoisseur of great design, so I couldn't wait for her to show me around!


The showroom is in a former mechanic's garage.






All the drawers have magnetic adjustable dividers thus are adaptable to any combination of utensils.


Notice the brass pulls and how the drawer fronts are constructed to fit them perfectly. They are solid brass and made at the factory in Seattle. All hardware for Henrybuilt cabinets is made by them. Snacks not included.


 Janet explained to me that Henrybuilt kitchens are a 'system' rather than just cabinets. Everything is designed around it's purpose and specialized to the owner's exact preferences.




A 1/2" countertop reveal. I spot a trend happening… Cutting boards are designed to fit snuggly on countertops and slide easily to accommodate tasks.


 The attention to detail and quality of the workmanship is exceptional.


There are several finish options as well as materials to select from. You can also mix and match. I always gravitate to kitchens with a contrasting island color.


Above is a closet system. The top slides to reveal the upper drawer. The scoops are for spare change, cuff links, etc.












There are many more products and features that Henrybuilt offers. If you are considering custom cabinets and like a sleek modern look, I encourage you to explore their website. Click here.


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When The Lights Go Down In The City …

When The Lights Go Down In The City …

A typical day in San Francisco.


Even though it was a gray day and a typical Tues, everything looked extra beautiful, poetic and new. Perhaps because it was gray and a typical Tues… Anyway, I took pictures of whatever caught my eye. Here's a sliver of San Francisco…

Dinner at State Bird Provisions. I had been dying to go to this place for a year and never could get in. It was one of those rare dining experiences where the bar is so high you almost set yourself up for disappointment then you take the first bite and you realize that there's good food and then there is strataspheric. That is State Bird Provisions.




A morning run along Crissy Field. This is a great place to walk. run, hang out on a blanket, people watch etc. On this day the air was perfectly still as it rarely is. Zero wind and with the fog and all the gray…. Pure.Bliss.









Indeed it does…

Enjoy your week!




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Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day weekend get-away ideas and gifts

Hi to you. So Valentine’s Day is a week away and as such, here are some ideas for the makings of a supremely romantic February 14th and beyond….


1. A Destination Not Too Far Away. Getting out of town to somewhere new and tucked away with your special person is so romantic — an unfamiliar environment to explore, hotel sheets and the anticipation of what awaits…

Brewery Gulch Inn, Mendocino, CA

A few weeks ago I got an email promotion for a Valentine's Day package at this charming inn in the coastal town of Mendocino. I'd never heard of it, but bookmarked it for a possible future weekend get-away. The promotion is sold out, but it did get the wheels turning to prompt me to write this post…



They've compiled a fantastic itinerary of activities in the area. Check it out here.

2. Love Songs. This is my playlist. Start playing this in the car on the way…

John Legend – All of Me 

Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight

Wings/Paul McCartney – Maybe I'm amazed

Journey – Faithfully

Oasis – Wonderwall

Bruno Mars – Just the way you are

Joe Cocker – You are so beautiful

George Michael – Father figure

Diana Ross & Lionel Richie – Endless Love (the theme song to the movie – also my first date ever)

Billy Joel – Just the way you are

Roberta Flack – Killing me softly (well, it's technically probably not a love song, but the melody is great. Lauren Hill and the Fugees did a remake and it's equally fantastic.)

Peter Gabriel – In your eyes

Marvin Gaye – Let's get it on

Michael Bolton singing the Percy Sledge song – When a man loves a woman

Barry White – You're my first, my last, my everything

The Rolling Stones – Wild Horses

Dido – Thank you


3. Small Tokens. It's the little things that count – or at least they should. Forget the red heart-shaped box. 

Chocolove XOXO  I'm addicted to them. As an added bonus, they also tuck a love note into each wrapper. Here are my three favorites (the first one is the #1 selling chocolate bar in the US)





Glassybaby. One of my Top Ten gifts to give and receive, these pretty votives come in every color of the rainbow. Below are the selected Valentine's Day offerings.





Eberjey - This line of affordable lingerie offers a beautiful selection of tasteful yet sexy pieces. 


4. Love Notes. A handwritten note or doodle from and to the one you love.  So much better than a text.



Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you get all the love and chocolate your heart desires!





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My Overnight at Holman Ranch

My Overnight at Holman Ranch

A few weeks ago I received an invitation for a one-night stay, property tour, dinner and wine tasting at Holman Ranch in Monterey County.  There were about 15 people attending the event – other bloggers, journalists and travel writers. In exchange for our stay, we were asked to write and photograph our experience and share it with our readers. Here you go – I hope you enjoy it!

Holman Ranch is located in Carmel Valley, about a two and a half hour drive from San Francisco. Not to be confused with it's tempermental neighbor; Carmel-by-the-Sea where the weather is typically overcast and the climate cooler. Carmel Valley has on average 300 days of sunshine per year. 

The Wine

Located 12 miles inland from the coast, and nestled among the Santa Lucia mountains, this region is prime for grape growing, mostly Pinot Noir.

Holman ranch pinot
The ranch produces many other varietals on approximately 19 acres. All wines produced by Holman Ranch are 'Estate' meaning they are made strictly from grapes grown on the property. The wines we sampled were all excellent, but the Pinot Noir was exceptional. I purchased several bottles as well as the Pinot Noir Rose which I can't wait to try!

Holman ranch vineyard
In addition to Holman Ranch, there are several other tasting rooms all located next door to one other along the main street in town (separate from the vineyard and ranch). Monterey County was named a “Top 10 Wine Destination” for 2013 by Wine Enthusiast magazine.

To purchase Holman Ranch Wines, please click here. To join their wine club click here.

 I ran into these two in front of the tasting room.

 The Property

The property was purchased by it's current owners — the Lowder family– in 2006. A complete renovation, refurbishment and landscaping overhaul is now complete. It is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places I have ever seen.







There are 10 cabins like the one I stayed in (above and below) on the property that each sleep up to four people. There is one larger cabin with a full kitchen that can sleep up to six. When an event is booked at Holman Ranch, the entire property — all 11 cabins, hacienda, game room and grounds — are reserved exclusively for your group. 



This is the larger cabin below.


This gate separates the cabin area from the main celebration area.


The landscaping is informal and cared for impeccably. For example, the lawn is the same grass variety as the PGA uses and a special lawn mower was purchased to keep it at 1/4".  


At the end of the lawn is an overlook where wedding ceremonies take place. It is just about the most romantic place I could imagine getting married. 



Wedding receptions are held just a few steps from the lawn in this gorgeous courtyard. This converted carriage house is now a deluxe game room with a full bar set-up, comfortable furniture, billiards, and other activites.


After dinner, the barn is ready for dancing all night.



In every direction there was something beautiful to look at. 




Our dinner was held on an intimate patio just off the hacienda.


Surrounded by gardens.


Inside this hacienda is a conference space, a chapel and grand living room with stone fireplace.









Holman Ranch is currently booking weddings for 2015. To learn more about weddings at Holman Ranch click here.

To contact Holman Ranch, click here.

Thank you to gracious hosts Hunter and Nick! 


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