New to Napa Valley’s luxury real estate inventory is a majestic property that emulates English country estates and Flemish rural architecture. The four-bedroom, seven-bathroom home has 9,000 square feet of living space and sits on 40 acres on a hillside in Calistoga. It is listed for $15 million.
The dwelling, which is made up of three pavilions linked by breezeways, is stately and elegant, owing to the traditional lines of steeply pitched roofs, native stonework and a tonal palette taken from the natural surroundings.
Bay Area designer Rela Gleason worked with John Sease and Bobby McAlpine of McAlpine Architecture in Montgomery, Alabama to design the home for her family. Built in 2009, the rustic building is trimmed with black steel windows, French doors, native stone and western red cedar.
“I took all the colors straight from nature and the natural surroundings,” said Gleason, adding that the aim was for “the house to appear to have grown from the land.”
Nature proves to have been a good guide. The muted-color interiors are visually arresting yet subtle enough to yield focus to the scenic outdoors, which include a lawn abutting a stone-lined, infinity-edge pool, an olive grove, vineyards and the Vaca Mountains.
The house has been decorated with furniture pieces that are eclectic but, together, form a cohesive look — from a 1700s oak blanket chest to a “partner desk” that Gleason found in a field with a “free” sign on it. Textiles from pillows to rugs have geometric designs, mostly in slate grays and stony whites. Fireplaces — seven in total — provide warmth but also architectural interest: rugged limestones in the main rooms and more delicate tile in bathrooms and bedrooms.
Outdoors, Gleason has created a distinction between the natural outdoors and the yard’s manicured greenery. Aiming for low-maintenance, she chose only a few plant varieties and potted boxwoods clipped into spheres. There’s a line of fruit trees and the property’s Tuscan varietal olive grove and Cabernet vineyard also yield a respectable bounty each year.
An avid cook, Gleason created a chef’s kitchen with four islands. (Gleason wrote the book Living Well, available on Amazon, which includes many of the recipes she has created in this kitchen.) The two stainless steel “workhorse islands” allow for prepping and staging. Another island, Gleason said, is used for eating, working at the computer and gathering with grandchildren, which is why it’s been nicknamed the Giggle Table.
Gleason has been designing homes for 45 years. “Designing and building houses is what I love to do,” she said. “It was a privilege to build one for our own family on this special hill. It was a labor of love.”
This home at 777 Lommel Street in Calistoga is listed for $15 million by Arthur Goodrich with Sotheby’s International Realty – St. Helena Brokerage. For more information, call 415-735-8779, 707-200-2488 or visit sothebysrealty.com/eng/sales/detail/180-l-86828-the2zr/777-lommel-rd-calistoga-ca-94515