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Sonoma Sanctuary

A wine country retreat reimagines the concept of modern farmhouse living.

Located on 3 acres in the heart of Sonoma wine country, this modern farmhouse compound contains a 4,700-square-foot main home and a 565-square-foot pool house. 

The architects and interior designer worked closely to create a contemporary home that wouldn’t sacrifice coziness. In the living room, a stunning stone fireplace is softened with neutral-colored, plush furniture and textiles.

The master bathroom combines concrete counters with Ann Sacks’ limestone floors.  

Architects Luke and Ani Wade 

The entry hall makes a striking opening statement: Stairs with glass railings and a steel support spine soar up from limestone floors while massive windows flood the area with light.  

Forget the “modern farmhouse” trend that’s setting legions of design lovers on a barn door, henhouse building frenzy. When San Anselmo-based Wade Design Architects were tapped to create a rural Sonoma retreat, they ignored abundant agrarian decorating clichés and instead created a stunning compound that bears its own code of wine country design cred.  

“From my first meeting with the Wades, I mentioned a modern farmhouse. I always loved the wine country aesthetic, but wanted a more modern approach,” says the homeowner, a bachelor based in San Francisco who says the home’s location—and easy bike ride into town—was part of its allure. “Also important was an open, indoor-outdoor layout to accommodate entertaining.”

In order to realize his visions of an open-flow Sonoma sanctuary, the firm created a 4,700-square-foot residence that’s strategically situated to invite dramatic views of nearby Mount Veeder, while providing a vital home base from which to entertain anywhere from five to 50 guests. “From the living room wall, which opens completely to the patio, to built-in luggage racks in each bedroom, the house was made for entertaining,” says the homeowner, who brings his two Labrador retrievers over for weekends. Together, they can roam throughout the three-acre property that’s dotted with native oaks and accessed via an old rural bridge.

Not surprisingly, food and wine are central to the home’s design. An open kitchen—where a dramatic blackened steel wine storage unit makes for a stunning focal point—provides easy access to a large-scale outdoor entertaining area. “Indoor-outdoor design is about more than just big door openings,” says architect Luke Wade. “Creating good flow and outdoor spaces that are attractive and thought through makes the outdoors inviting. On this project, a covered outdoor dining area anchored by a pizza oven blends with a woven willow trellis over lounge space. This is a place you can spend hours outside.”

It’s exactly that which keeps the homeowner coming back to his second home: “I miss the ability to be outside, especially in the evenings when it can get quite chilly in San Francisco,” he says. “This outdoor lounge is such a great place to do just that, whether its relaxing on my own with a good book, or entertaining friends and family, it’s the perfect connector between the kitchen and the pool area and the covered area keeps everything cool even in the height of summer.”

Wade balanced those expansive public areas with a series of private rooms—inviting contemplation and retreat. Interior designer Bryan Fox worked meticulously to echo that distinction. “While the public areas of the house are concerned with large, flowing finishes, the private areas contrast by reducing scale and tone to much smaller increments,” says Fox. “In the master bathroom, silver travertine is used, but the scale creates a tight texture appropriate for the space.” Even the statement-making wallcovering in the master bedroom manages to convey an intimate sense of pattern: Upon first glance, the wallpaper makes a sweeping geometric shape. Move up close, however, and a floral, decorative pattern begins to emerge.

Today the homeowner frequents the home to routinely entertain friends and family in gatherings both intimate and grand. “I can sleep about nine people but have entertained group as large as 65 comfortably for a pool party,” he explains. “The house is better than I envisioned.”


Single-family home
Wade Design Architects
Interior Design  
Marta Fry Landscape

Ann Sacks

Living room wall tile, master bedroom floor tile

Benjamin Moore Paints
Used throughout

Desousa Hughes
Dining room table and chairs; kitchen barstools

Upholstery for dining room chairs, living room sofa and daybed, and master bedroom bed

Fox Marble and Stone
Kitchen counters and fireplace wall slabs

Juno Lighting
Recessed ceiling lighting in kitchen, living and dining rooms, and master bedroom

Kneedler Faucher
Living room daybed

Magnolia Lane
Living room window coverings

Stark Carpets
Carpeting in master bedroom

Wallcovering used in master bedroom