Have you heard of Sunset Magazine? If you live on the west coast, then you surely know that it's a well-established and beloved home decor, gardening, cooking, west coast lifestyle magazine. And from time to time they build or decorate an "idea house" that is open for touring. Well, imagine my delight when I realized that the current Sunset Idea House is right here in my town, Healdsburg. And I was even more delighted when I learned that it's in my very neighborhood, about 6 blocks away and up into the pricey hillside area with gorgeous views.
So off I went today, with my friend Sally, to tour the place. Here's what it looks like as you approach from the end of the road.
This "Breezehouse" is a pre-fab home by a California company called Blu Homes, designed to be green and energy efficient and affordable. While this sort of modern design isn't usually to my taste, I liked how the inside felt open and functional and, well, breezy.
That deck up there, right off the living room, had the most gorgeous view of oak-covered hills and I could pretty much have stayed there all day.
Okay, here's the photo that made me pull out my phone to start taking photos. Look at that tile! Doesn't it look like buttons? I just love the texture, modern but funky. Here's another look:
It was on all the walls in the shower, too. (In case you need this for your next home, it's from Walker Zanger, from the Tu Collection, in cool white. And oh my gosh, do they have beautiful tile products and a stunning blog. If I ever win the lottery and end up in a position to do a home, I'll know where to go for tile.)
And speaking of tile, here's a shot of me and Sally as we admire the pretty blue tile in this bathroom. (We were in focus in person. Honest.)
The kitchen had a similar warm teal subway tile for the backsplash, that looked so pretty with the light wood.
Who knew it would be the tile that would get my attention today? And speaking of tile, look at the beautiful fireplace surround in the living room:
The artwork throughout the house was delightful -- pulled together by designer Sharon Portnoy. (When I win that lottery and do that house? I'll call her. That woman has great taste.) Here's a piece I fell in love with, and I'm sorry that I couldn't find any artist attribution at all:
Kind of makes you want to get out the scissors and glue stick, doesn't it?
There was a little wine room, which Sally and I figured was designed especially so a parent could go hide away alone and get sloshed after a hectic day. Notice: only one chair in here.
I think my favorite part of the house was what they called the "Breezepod," a separate room across a gorgeous deck from the main house. It would make the perfect quilt studio, and I was eying the sunny deck thinking what a great fabric dying spot it would make. I think I'd call mine the Artpod.
I am happy to report that the house is currently available and on the market, if you happen to have $2.6 million to spend. You can see the listing (and more photos) here.
It turned out that Alice Waters, the chef and founder of legendary restaurant Chez Panisse, was going to be there later in the day to give a talk about kitchen gardens and her Edible Schoolyard Project. When I asked one of the home tour reps about her coming, she went off and got me a signed copy of Alice Waters' new book, In the Green Kitchen, which they were going to be giving to the first 500 visitors later on. She whispered that she'd just consider me one of the first of those 500. What a very nice treat. I'm looking forward to reading it.
After Sally and I oohed and aahed, we headed into town for a delicious mexican lunch and lots of talk. Like me, Sally has a child with Aspergers so we often talk parenting stuff. In fact, we laughed as we went through the house, seeing how impractically decorated for living with real kids, even though the imaginary family the house was staged for was imagined to have twins (and a nanny living in the Breezepod.) Our kids and our respective dogs would have dirtied up all that white upholstery and smudge-free expanses of glass in no time.
Still, it's fun to step into an imaginary life for an hour or so.