A Napa Modern Farmhouse Gets Infused With Unexpected Patina and Charm

A Napa Modern Farmhouse Gets Infused With Unexpected Patina and Charm

AD PRO Directory designer Lindsay Gerber was busy renovating the 115-year-old farmhouse she and her husband purchased, having left San Francisco during the early onset of the pandemic, when she heard from a potential client. The homeowner was eagerly following Gerber’s transformation on Instagram, and, coincidentally, she, her husband, and their two young boys were also leaving the city for the country. Unlike Gerber’s farmhouse, though, this was a teardown—decidedly not an historic renovation. Despite the promise of the piece of property, located on perhaps the most coveted road in St. Helena, California, with stirring, agrarian views in all directions, the modern farmhouse concept was, for Gerber, a nonstarter. “I was like, ‘Thanks, but no. I think that style has been overdone.’ She was like, ‘Lindsay, you can make it great!’”

So Gerber deliberated on the proposal, and on the parallels between her own young family’s abode and this new prospect. “I realized there were these through lines,” she shares, between her “sweet, old, boxy, white three-story farmhouse with a water tower,” and the potential client’s new build. “Maybe my one mission with this is taking their modern farmhouse and to contextualize it in a way that makes it less cliche and, hopefully, more enduring. So, I took the job.”

Her first order of business was a brainstorm with local architect Joseph Farrell, who specializes in large-scale modern farmhouses. She peppered him with questions: “Can we create a narrative around this house? What would this house have been, if it were built 100 years ago?” They decided to “wrap the inner box of [the house] with stone, and the story is that it started with a stone great room, with more modern appendages that grow off of it.” Inspiration came, too, from her own concurrent renovation. “Even as we were designing the windows and trims, I’d snap a photo for [the homeowner]: ‘Can we pull this idea in there?’”

Adding decorative layers to the new home also involved tackling creative conversations, and differences, with the homeowners. The wife “is really elegant and very tailored,” says Gerber. “I wanted to bring dirt in and rub it on the walls. It was always this back and forth of her wanting everything to feel crisp and perfect, and me being like, ‘This is the country. We need to bring some earthiness!’” In the poolhouse bath, the two forged a happy middle ground, with Gerber’s rustic cobblestone floor choice as a concession for the homeowner’s chic glossy-finish paint on the walls. The trend repeated in the pantry: “Give me rough, old, marble floors—but put them in a checked pattern. And we’ll make all of the cabinets super glossy,” she recalls of their collaboration.

Distinctly tactile textures like suede, leather, and nubby wool, rendered in pleasing neutrals, pad the family respite at every turn, while statement spaces, like a moody powder room wrapped in a landscape-inspired mural by Caroline Lizarraga, find harmony with sweeping, generous rooms, like the kitchen clad in Benjamin Moore’s traditional go-to hue, Simply White. Inspired by the tension between the polished and the rustic, the picture-perfect and the well-worn, Gerber found that much of her role as designer was “giving [them] permission to let this be more comfortable, not every pillow karate-chopped,” she reflects. “I came in and tried to ruffle it up. We found a nice balance.”



A classic hue by Benjamin Moore, Simply White, sets the scene for a serene living room. Dmitriy & Co. Belgard Sofa takes center stage, covered in Fairhaven fabric by Perennials. Drapery is by Mark AlexanderPatterson Flynn Balance area rug sits below, while Gregorius Pineo Vassaro Round Chandelier hangs above. The sconces are Matthew Cox Vesper Light.



In the dining room, a Lorraine Refectory Table by Gregorius Pineo, crafted of dry aged walnut, commands the space, complemented by Coup D’etat Giac Side Chairs by De La Vega that Gerber upholstered in Talda from George Spencer Designs. Drapery by Otis Textiles, in Lana Diagonal, frames the rolling landscape outside.



The hand-painted custom wall mural in this powder room is by Caroline Lizarraga. Watermark faucet.



In the hub of the home, a La Cornue range serves as a functional, and aesthetic, focal point. Custom stools by Oja Design dot the bar, with the counters and splash crafted of Calacatta Oro marble. Rose Uniacke Plaster Cone Hanging Lights dangle above. The cabinet knobs and pulls, and appliance pulls are all by Sun Valley Bronze, and the faucet is by WaterworksBenjamin Moore Simply White appears on the walls.



The somber-hued pantry turned out to be anything but a buzzkill; as Gerber points out, it has since become one of the home’s most beloved guest gathering spots. Kelly Moore Yacht Club is on the walls, with Exquisite Surfaces Heritage Collection Soho White and Grey flooring underfoot. The Easton Faucet is by Waterworks, the cabinet knobs as well as the glass cabinet hardware and levers are from Frank Allart, and the cabinet latches from Merit Metal. The appliance pulls are from Sun Valley Bronze. The pendant and sconces are from the Urban Electric Co. The counters and custom stone sink and splash are all from Black Moon Soapstone.


Neutrals interplay in the primary bedroom, where Marc Phillips Solid Mohair rug sits underfoot. Coup D’etat’s Sprung Bench helms the bed, while A. Rudin No. 706 lounge chair, upholstered with Holly Hunt Chalet and Elmosoft leather trim, offers a contemplative sitting spot. Drapery by Larsen, with sheers by Dedar, frame another of the home’s sylvan panoramas.



The spacious primary bath is set alight by Apparatus Tassel Sconce and Matthew Cox Galley Lantern pendant. The cabinet knobs and pulls are by Sun Valley Bronze, and the faucet is by Waterworks. An A. Rudin No. 734 chair sits by the vanity, upholstered in Sandra Jordan Prima Alpaca. The vanity sconces are by Allied Maker and the mirrors are custom cut by Paige Glass.



In the primary bath, custom color limewash on the walls outside the shower enhance the Calacatta Oro walls within. Faye Toogood’s Roly Poly Stool sits inside the shower. A Waterworks shower head and Roman shade by Dedar, in Wide Alpaca, complete the tranquil space.


A neutral palette sets the tone for the guest bedroom, where RH Belmont Fabric Shelter Bed provides a respite. The vintage French Aluminum benches were sourced from Alpes-MarinAmy Meier Poiret Side Table sits to the left of the bed, under the Urban Electric Co.’s Swizzle sconce. Rosemary Hallgarten Antoinette fabric graces the Euro pillow, with Holland & Sherry Cezanne as trim.


Artwork by local artist Guy Overfelt sourced through On Approval sets the tone in the deep-hued family room. “It’s asphalt paint on linen. Just right down my alley,” says Gerber. “It was my attempt to bring in this earthiness.” Rose Tarlow Raffles Table Lamp sits on a bronze table sourced from Sonoma Country Antiques, beside the Coup Studio Rolle Chair. Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal is on the walls, while RH Haniya Hand Knotted Wool Rug grounds the room. The throw pillows are by Designers Guild and Donghia, with Holland & Sherry trim. The ottoman is Tom Faulkner Lily Stool.


Adorned with Apparatus Circuit 1 sconces, mirrors by RH, and Waterworks faucets, the poolhouse bathroom features Exquisite Surfaces’ Bleu Chinois Cobblestone—a favorite feature of Gerber’s. “We did old cobblestones in there but the walls [are] glossy painted. [The homeowner] was like, ‘I’ll give you a cobblestone if the walls can be glossy.’ It was a give and take!”


The family of four splashes in the pool. RH Balmain Teak Chaises are joined by Great Outdoors’ Breathe Easy cushions. Vineyards line both sides of the road that the home is located on for miles, leading to heritage redwood trees, says Gerber, who terms it “very iconic Napa.” The homeowners bought an “old little rancher” as a teardown, and decided on raising the site two to three feet for a better view of the vines beyond from the pool. “The pool sits flush on that, sitting just above the vines so that you have a sight line over them, not looking into them,” says Gerber.


“Every day, my husband would go, ‘Have you picked a siding finish color yet? Has it been decided yet?’ Nope!,” Gerber laughs, recalling the debate. “We ended up using a local painter who did, not kidding, 32 different samples. Within those 32 sample colors there’d be three different finishes: wire brush, softer sanded, sandblasted.” The muted end result was one everyone agreed upon.


Originally published in Architectural Digest
Text by Katherine Burns Olson

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