House Tour: The Farmhouse Grows Up
Inside a Paul Vincent Wiseman-designed Sonoma County retreat.
Surrounded by wild woodlands fragrant with ancient oaks, cypress and manzanitas, Katherine and David deWilde’s elegant board-and-batten weekend house looks as if it has weathered many fine seasons and sheltered generations.
The residence, an example of classic California farmhouse vernacular architecture, was completed in 2011. As the beloved weekend retreat of the deWildes and their children, grandchildren and multitudes of family friends, it’s beginning a new era.
The four-bedroom main house, which surrounds a courtyard, was originally built by Reiter Fine Home Building, and is sited on a gentle slope to capture all-day sun. Located about a one-hour drive north of San Francisco, the property is surrounded by Chardonnay vineyards.
“I loved the simplicity and rustic charm of the house on sight, and even before we had closed escrow, I started planning new tennis courts, a bocce court, hiking trails through the woodlands, and my ‘field of dreams’ for Wiffle ball,” says Katherine, a bank executive.
The family worked with interior designer Paul Vincent Wiseman to reimagine the interiors, plan expanded guest accommodations (including an adult bunk room), and reconfigure the wine cellar.
Architecture design firm Charlie Barnett Associates was enlisted to reposition the central entry to create a favorite new sunroom/study, a place for late-night card games.
The house and additional guesthouses and barn now meander like a cluster of impromptu farm buildings among the olive and oak trees.
“Country houses and barns in California were always practical, sturdy and unpretentious, and built to have a close and respectful connection with the land,” says Wiseman, who grew up on a farm in the Sacramento River Delta. “The ‘farmhouse’ concept was our starting point for redesigning the deWildes’ house. It has straightforward pale gray locally quarried stone fireplaces, terra cotta-tinted concrete floors, hand-plastered walls, and handsome timbers, all very natural and low‑key.”
The updated furnishings conjure a clean-lined traditional feeling punctuated by modern statements. Softly colored textured linen, and hemp and Moroccan rugs in hand-dyed tones are scattered throughout.
“We escape from summer fog in the city and, surrounded by family, we play games and explore the woodland. It’s the perfect setting to renew the psyche,” says Katherine. “David and I love it most when our children and grandchildren invite hordes of friends—we can sleep 30. There’s volleyball in the pool; we play bocce for hours in the shade of an orange trumpet vine; and after dinner, we gather around the fire pit and recount our wins and discoveries and adventures.”
Photography by Stefano Scatà.
Portraiture by Aubrie Pick.
Written by Diane Dorrans Saeks.