Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rose Society of Saddle Back Valley ~ California Tuscan Entertaining Home and Garden

There are many styles of design. What elevates the good and proper to the great and memorable is courage and authenticity.

James is unafraid to experiment, mixing roses with succulents to great effect. 

In his youth, this homeowner mowed lawns for spending money. 

Life was good.  Coming home to his native California after time living in Virginia, he and his partner found this home in the enclave of  Nellie Gail, an equestrian friendly luxury subdivision of Laguna Hills.

Approximately 250 of 350 roses were planted this year 

The home and garden was a bit more ordinary in appearance when the publicity-shy  couple took possession  of the 4,296 square foot home 7 years ago. Then, it was sheaved in proper elements of anonymous origin.

The homeowner recalls the front landscape  at the time they moved in was not much more than  " a big rolling lawn with a stucco planter around the base of the coral tree." Near the garage was " a  no man's land of volunteer palm trees and weeds."

Lawns are used for soft footing to wander through planing beds on.
The well-traveled couple understood that while the home was beautiful, it did not achieve its full potential.  It needed character, a sense of place, an aura of generosity.

With this mission in mind, for each of the past 7 years, the couple sculpted and adorned their home and garden, one area at a time.   James explains the wisdom of  choosing one area at a time to upgrade as "by focusing, we got the detail right." Not only that, the majority of the property remained usable at all times.

Living in an area blessed with the rare climate of Mediterranean Tuscany, many of the design elements and plantings reflect the uncommon commonality of good weather.

From one approach the home is first seen where the horse trail crosses
The garden is about balance. An English garden would be out of place without the strong California influence  created by use of succulents and cactus as well as the more traditional outposts of foxglove and daylily.

Stacked stones visually added textural interest while pushing out the framing of usable planting areas from the lawn.

Iron lighting grounds the froth of roses from visually floating away. 
The garden is both beautiful and serves the practical purpose of providing a cutting garden for entertaining at home and away. As James delightedly reports, he suspects their frequent dinner invitations are due to the lavish hostess bouquets picked the same day as they are presented.

Before we go inside, take a look at the creative mix of foliage and flower potted up at the entrance.

Most of the home was closed to prying eyes, but from what we were allowed to traverse, behind the beauty you sense how the rooms were planned with the intent to entertain larger groups of people who might be enjoying a live performance of the caliber of someone such as David Burnham,  the man nailed the role of Fiyero in Wicked.

The inside renovation began at the front hall. The staircase was originally white wooden spindles. James arranged for cutting back and rounding off the base of the design for aesthetic appeal- and more room for people to move about with ease at the bottom landing.

Plain plaster pillars were cut, fitted with molding and painted in a replication reminiscent of fine European woodworking found in manor houses.

The old gold of the chandelier adds a restrained pop of elegance against the deep wood tones of a formal library.
This library benefited from the luxurious appointments observed on a trip to India just 2 years ago.

Michele Dawn Designs  brilliantly executed depth of color on the interior walls. The magic glow conjured from wines, copper  and metallic gold rubbed into each each other....  magnificent! Equally stunning were the lighter tones of Venetian plaster- a technique requiring patience beyond the  typical house painter. 

Let's walk through a bit of the home without any words. Let my humble images let the house tell its story....

Ah, in the backyard were wonderful reminders that fine design is not about being high end. Fine design is about comfort and beauty appropriate to the owners and the setting.

Little vignettes I found absolutely charming included this hall tree  in the shelter of  the patio . 

James says "I needed something tall and narrow to cover up an old intercom system that we have yet to remove.  I found the damaged hall tree at a second hand shop for about $20 and used some leftover fabric from redoing the headboard on the bed in the master suite. I tacked it to the back and used some of the gardening tools." Voila!

Close up detail

Different proportions of related warm colors highlight the architectural interest. Tall urns are available at Lowe's. 
For those of us old enough to remember the decade of brown, tan and sand- how dreary that color scheme dated so quickly. Here's the design note to explain  what saves this arrangement from the same decorate- by- numbers dullness. The traditional tones of gold, brown and terracotta are saved from cliche' by the  jade rim on the slender ceramic urns. Repeated further back in the picture, it little touch of diversion from a strict colorway adds charm.

James  says of the enchanting cabana on the far side of the pool, that  when they moved in, it was an avoided eye-sore of weathered wood and worn-out fabric overlooking a dusty horse trail.

Fresh paint, clean fabric and dense plantings- voila'- a destination perfect for an intimate chat between friends.  

This lovely outdoor room...

 on a chilly night- the double armed heaters allow more guests to linger before heading home.

Thank you dear readers, for joining me on this tour of  a home loved to its full-potential. 

Until we meet again, Thank you for all YOU do to make the world more beautiful!

Michelle Dawn 949. 350.3340


nikkipolani said...

What a wonderful home! Clearly the couple have made good use of their travels in choosing colors and textures entwined in thoughtful design.

I must say, however, that my back aches just thinking about 250 roses to plant.

Anonymous said...

Lydia, having previously seen a photo of this spectacular abode, I'm so jealous of your ability to get a first hand look. From day one I wanted to go through this wonder.

The inside seems to be as scrumptious as the outside. I think this couple truly have made this world a more beautiful place with it's total renovation.

Kudo's to you for finding this jewel and doing doing such a magnificient job in show casing it to all.

Judy Duvall
Seal Beach, CA

Anonymous said...

I just want to say "Ditto" to what Judy said! I could have kept on looking at more pictutes of this lovely home!
I just love the colors blended on the library wall! Very daring and fitting for this beautiful room!

Thank you for sharing and thank James for the tour of their lovely home and gardens.


OldLady Of The Hills said...

This is such a lush soft BEAUTIFUL Garden....Roses are The Best! It is obvious that these people are Artists by everything you showed us, dear Lydia....Your pictures are truly Wonderful! Thank you for this magnificent tour into a magical home of such loveliness!

Lydia said...

Nikki- think of the roses as therapy with bouquets at the end):-

Judy- You'll have to share this beauty with your garden club.

Naomi- I wish I could send the scent of roses and jasmine entwined in a crystal container of fresh orange county air!