Estate (noun): a piece of land or property, in particular: an extensive area of land in the country, with a large elaborate house, owned by one person.
Tucked into the hills between Healdsburg and the Napa spa town of Calistoga, near the vineyards of Alexander Valley, sits an elegant Ranch Estate with a European Soul. Created in the style of an Austrian Countryside Villa, the expansive property encompasses over six hundred acres of woodlands, pastures and year round creeks. This exceptional home enjoys magnificent views over Knight’s Valley toward Napa. Imagine yourself enjoying this private retreat with family and friends or walking the grounds beneath the California sun.
The breathtaking, oak-studded country setting is reminiscent of Early California.
Privacy is assured.
Born in Northern California, the owners’ vision was to blend their love of the magnificent California landscape with the aesthetics of Austrian design and craftsmanship enjoyed in their second home in Vienna, Austria. The owners and architect spent years creating this estate. Beginning with a trip together to the UNESCO villages of the Austrian wine country, they blended these images with the native beauty of California. Materials and methods were not compromised. The result is a Masterpiece of relaxed, elegant living for you.
Rich, complex forms, often with slightly differing architectural styles, blend to form an environment that spans both culture and time. Imagine afternoon tea in a cozy corner decorated in the Moroccan Style followed by a massage on the Japanese Garden deck.
The celebration of art in all its forms can be found and felt throughout this home both inside and out. The owners’ art collection is part of their everyday lives and is enhanced by the elegant spaces. They built their home for their family, for entertaining friends and to surround themselves with the best of California and Europe. A masterful interpretation of two traditions.
This destination home enjoys pastoral views for your enjoyment. The seductive, Mediterranean climate seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor living. Blue skies by day, starry skies by night. A sophisticated Country Lifestyle saturated by the California sun.
At one time a working ranch, this property boasts a spectacular garden with a bountiful harvest enjoyed daily by the owners’ family. Old barns remain with the possibility to raise livestock and grow crops–a true farm to table opportunity. Two wells and mountain springs provide ample water to service the Ranch.
The typical day might begin with breakfast on the terrace followed by a lazy stroll or energetic hike on one of the estate’s many trails. Crossing the water over a suspension bridge, one might take a few moments to watch the wildlife or just soak in the view. Upon return: lunch in the pool house, a swim, exercise in the gym, or catch up on some work in the upstairs office. Late afternoon could involve a glass of wine with friends on one of the many patios. Dinner is served in the intimate dining room, followed by the screening of a film in the home theater. Later, while nestled in the inner courtyard, one might pause to observe the twinkling lights in the night sky.
For thousands of years, Indians lived and thrived on this land. They were followed by the Spanish and Mexicans, and then when California became a state, the Americans. The Alexanders settled their valley, and on the adjacent land, the McDonnells established their ranch in what came to be known as Knight’s Valley. Time passed and the original owner’s granddaughter, Florence McDonnell McCord, and her husband, Charles, continued the ranching tradition. The McCords loved the land and hoped to protect this heritage ranch. Today the ranch is preserved by a conservation easement and the benefits are appreciated while looking across the pastoral valley to the hills beyond. Deer and other wildlife live and roam in their native setting. Restrictions limiting further development run with the land.
Amidst almost total silence, the design goal of the Estate was to prevent mechanical noise, emphasize energy efficiency and utilize the natural California day and night heating and cooling cycle. Twenty-eight groundwater heat exchange wells provide heating and cooling. Electricity is provided by PG&E, with a fully interconnected 35KW solar photovoltaic system with both battery and generator backup. All equipment is located away from the house for both visual and noise isolation. Eighteen-inch thick heavily insulated walls, a large roof overhang and concrete floors maintain a comfortable internal temperature year round.
Numerous recycled and reclaimed materials were utilized in the design; including antique redwood beams from bridges and barns, three-hundred-year-old stone pavers from France, old bricks and roof tiles from Austria and recycled roof tiles from California landmark structures. In addition, a fallen stone barn from a nearby farm was reclaimed and rebuilt. A one-hundred-year-old Redwood log was reclaimed to create the stunning, two-story wine cellar stair, as well as the owner’s office desk and table. The impressive wine cellar was built using vintage stone carvings and bricks by Austrian masons.
The villa’s interior courtyard was modeled after the layout of the Henry Clay Frick house in New York City. Intimate when desired but available for entertaining when needed. Imagine your holiday party centered in the courtyard and flowing into all the accessible rooms.
The estate has all modern equipment conveniences and structure, seismically braced with forty steel bents and a steel framed floor with walls of wood infill. Living zones have radiant heated floors and air conditioning. Electronics are state-of-the-art. Both interior and exterior fire sprinklers protect the home while forty thousand gallons of water storage and connection to the swimming pool are available. The property is served by natural gravity flowing springs, water wells and its own septic system
Complete peace. Complete intimacy. Sweeping views and vistas as far as the eye can see. The utmost in quality materials and craftsmanship combined with a timeless design that effortlessly blends with the surroundings. Simultaneously experience elegance and comfort in a purely magical setting–a home for a whole family, and a whole life.
Features of individual rooms and spaces are described in the attached room features list.
Main Floor Circulation
- Entry–North End of Building
- Ceiling timbers from 150-year-old Northern California barn
- Floor pavers from France estimated at 300 years old. Pavers are rounded by centuries of wear. Larger pavers from volcanic tuff (solidified ash) from local quarry.
- Entry glass canopies inspired by Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta
- Torchiere lights and monumental sconces are Deco bronze from Bank of America at Turk and Market Streets in San Francisco
- Redwood Stair to Wine Cellar (left of entry)
- Walls and handrails from 100-year-old Fiddleback (wavy grain as on a violin) Redwood log, preserved and salvaged from underwater. Note 20-inch planks and shaped handrails with wavy grain.
- Atrium concept (from the layout of the Henry Clay Frick house in New York City) admits light, acts as an outdoor room for parties, functions and privacy. Planting is in the style of Austrian courtyards. Stairway connects to upper decks. Provisions for a reflecting fountain exist under lower level of tempietto. Upper level of tempietto serves as a perfect small musical stage.
- Exterior sconces were custom made from antique roof tiles
- Main Hallway
- Floor is “pillow-cut” walnut planks for barefoot comfort, similar to stone entries, as though shaped by centuries of use
- Precious marble inlays in floor denote cross entries at dining room, living room and library, each with reflected doors on courtyard side of hall. Hallway connects to main stair and club room at end.
- Main Stair, Art Gallery, Tempietto and Japanese Garden
- At South end of courtyard, the main staircase wraps around the tempietto, a circular temple from late Roman times. Lower and upper levels of tempietto can be used for cozy chats, a small stage or presentation of events. Lower level is prepared for a fountain with central sculpture.
- Staircase is volcanic tuff, with bronze railings in the Jugendstil forms of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt
- The art gallery wraps around the main staircase and provides access to the master suite, Japanese garden and club room
- Japanese garden porch in traditional materials overlooks a rich garden of Bonsais, originally planted by a husband and wife over 80 years ago in Tiburon, California, salvaged and moved to their current site
Main Floor Rooms
- Living Room
- Similar in form to a small Romanesque church with clerestory windows for light and side aisles added for an expanding population
- Walk-in fireplace inspired by Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel, similar to a refectory or cooking kitchen. Floors are herringbone pattern, large pillow-cut walnut planks with marble inlays.
- Side aisles are renovated to form a music corner, sitting area with connection to dining room and the main hall. An outdoor deck with trellis on the West and a courtyard, with beveled glass doors on the East, give this space a wonderful open feeling and great flexibility for parties, receptions and large functions.
- Light fixtures include a Murano chandelier over the piano; a bronze, six-light chandelier made by Quezal with art glass shades dating to 1910; a fabulous “Nine Palms” silk shade art chandelier by Italian firm Aqua Creations; and a pair of circa 1930 “Japan Finish” ceiling lights in the sitting alcove
- Dining Room
- Old growth Redwood beams and wainscoting cut from recycled bridge timbers from Sacramento
- Dining table, chairs, side board and vitrines by Austrian designer Robert Fix, executed by the Viennese firm Portois & Fix 1899
- Dining room connects through large butler’s pantry to kitchen
- Monumental Austrian Jugendstil brass tiered chandelier with original glass rods purchased from The Dorotheum auction house in Vienna
- Similar to a Medieval refectory and kitchen complex, later remodeled with a high-domed cupola for light after Sir Edwin Lutyens, Casteldrogo kitchen
- Counters are limestone, stainless steel, butcher block and marble (for baking/dough)
- Floor of antique Austrian brick pavers with bricks stamped with the imperial double eagle from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy dated between 1819 and 1918
- Stone arch spans opening to family dining and family room
- Elevator connects to lower level service kitchen and storage
- Large pantry adjacent to kitchen for storage of foods and drinks
- Small house office with telephone/computer next to pantry
- Breakfast room with garden view provides intimate small scale space
- The central chandelier is bronze Jugendstil dating from 1910
- Kitchen garden with raised beds, green house and citrus orchard situated above the family room terrace
- Family Room/Family Dining
- Together with kitchen, this is the heart of the house. A small house within the grand house.
- Austrian-style Kachelofen (ceramic tile wood stove) provides ten hours of heat from a single small fire
- Wide plank cherry floor and baseboards
- Outdoor dining porch leads to the kitchen cutting garden
- Flower cutting and mud room leads to the family covered parking area
- TV and movie storage area adjacent to family room
- Vintage lighthearted chandeliers complement the room–a 1950s wrought and painted iron fixture in the family room and wooden fixture removed from the owner’s previous home in Atherton, California circa 1920
- A cozy reading room with a vista of, and around, a giant Madrone tree. Library has a research table area.
- Floor is 300-year-old Austrian Oak parquet
- Two early 20th century antique chandeliers: a brass and Steuben aurene glass fixture and a bronze fixture with alabaster bowls
- Club Room
- A small living room for a couple or intimate group for an evening of conversation or reading before the fireplace
- Floor is 300-year-old Austrian Oak parquet
- Ceiling in Knotty Pine, coffered in the style of an Austrian country house
- Fireplace design inspired by one seen by the owners at a Riad in Marrakech
- Pair of rare Arts and Crafts wall sconces finely crafted of bronze with original Loetz art glass shades circa 1910 at fireplace, traditional “Polish-style” Austrian brass chandelier and small, art deco alabaster ceiling light at entry
- Master Bedroom Suite
- Views of Mt. St. Helena and private garden
- Door to Japanese garden and outdoor cedar soaking tub
- Norwegian rose marble finish
- Polished nickel steam shower
- Cut crystal vanity sink
- Private toilet/bidet niche
- Soaking bath with fireplace view
- Large walk-in closet by Studio Becker with wood inlays and leather pulls
- Dressing/display areas for clothing, shoes, handbags, accessories
- Polished nickel and crystal fittings throughout
- Fine Art Lamps “Eaton Place” iron and channel-set crystal and pendant fixtures throughout
- Monsieur’s Bath
- Mt. St. Helena views
- Walk-in shower in silver Travertine
- Outdoor shower
- Vanity in Travertine with Redwood cabinetry
- Walk-in closet with display antique sideboard
- Guest/Children’s Wing Bedrooms
- A series of three bedrooms, each with filtered Oak and Madrone woods views
- Built-in bookcases
- Walk-in closets
- Three large, gothic-style English bronze and glass pendants originally from a church on Vancouver Island, Canada, c. 1890
- All bedrooms connect with overhead loft/play areas
- All bedrooms connect with activity rooms
- Two baths, one of which is a connecting bath fitted with a soaking tub and steam shower
- Bedroom wing connects to entry hall at one end and to art gallery at the other
- Guest Room
- A private wing adjacent to the entry
- Vistas on three sides, including the rose garden and entry courtyard
- A spa-like walk-in bathroom and featured bath
- Decorated in an Austrian country lodge style
- Concrete floor with inlayed river rocks
- Cathedral ceiling with wood beams
- Antique brass and alabaster chandelier
Upper Floor Level
- Treehouse Lounge, Reading Area with Outdoor Decks, Covered and Open
- At the top of the main stairway is a cozy corner surrounded by upper branches of Oak trees, perfect for lunch or conversation
- At the opposite end of this space is a corner in a Moroccan style, ideal for reading on a winter afternoon
- Outdoor decks, both open and covered, allow one to follow the sun from sunrise over Mt. St. Helena in the East, to sunset over Maacama Ridge in the West
- Mr. Office
- Framed view of Mt. St. Helena through a covered outdoor deck
- Built-in desk and work table of antique Fiddleback Redwood
- Views overlooking Japanese garden
- Reading/study area
- Redwood cathedral ceiling and wainscoting
- Austrian Jugendstil bronze chandelier, c. 1915
- Equipment room for storage, printers and files
- Mrs. Office
- Wraparound windows on three sides provide views of Mt. St. Helena, overlooks of forests, hillside, Japanese garden and Austrian tile rooftop of club room
- Built-in desks wraparound curved, South façade
- Reading area and built-in filing cabinets and book cases
- Door to exterior deck
- Built-ins of light hickory wood
- Service for meals or a glass of wine with sink, microwave and mini-refrigerator
- Elevator to master bedroom hall and basement levels
- Upper Decks
- Covered and open decks on all sides overlook courtyard, Mt. St. Helena, Oak and Madrone forests, meadows, gardens and pool
- Sound of nearby streams and waterfalls can be heard in the quiet
- Walnut Travertine and Austrian antique bricks, natural surface and cut surface pave all the decks
Lower Floor Level
- Wine Cellar
- Take the Redwood stairway to the vaulted Medieval-style Austrian wine cellar, built by a team from Friedrich Gruber Wine Cellar from Gutenstein, Austria
- Stone carvings accent Austrian brick-vaulted spaces
- Niches adjacent to vaults keep hundreds of bottles at perfect temperatures
- Wrought-iron gates secure wine collection
- Central space provides location for parties and wine tastings
- Separate air-conditioning controls temperature to this space
- Service/Function Kitchen
- A complete, professional kitchen for chefs and party staff to work out of sight
- Underground connection to service entry, garage and turnaround area
- Hallway and elevator to main floor kitchen allows for smooth service to a large party
- Admin/Staff/Laundry Rooms
- Complex of rooms allows staff to manage events and overall operation of the residence
- Located at the bottom of the main stair, theater accommodates eight in reclining lounge chairs for watching favorite movie events
- Spacious work area includes computer servers, as well as building equipment and room for other work
- Multiple storage rooms are provided around the entire lower floor for household, clothing, garden (with exterior access), kitchen and general storage
- Utility Rooms
- Multiple electrical, mechanical, heat pump and other service rooms are provided at this level
- Utility connections from photovoltaic cells 800 feet to the East (beyond the swimming pool) to the main mechanical spaces 500 feet to the North (below the stone barn) travel through the basement area
- Caretaker House
- Three bedrooms, two baths
- Garden and small orchard
- Located approximately one mile from the main house
- Party Barn and Orchard
- Original historic McDonnell barn has been restored and transformed into an entertainment room
- Salvage windows and doors add light and charm
- 60s era wood stove heats the building in cold weather
- Kitchen with restaurant stove, oven and work tables
- Upstairs loft features a long, 20-person table and benches. Table is made from one split log.
- Large, built-in barbeque area outside for entertaining
- Outhouse with separate septic
- Large, fenced, mature, organically-certified orchard with apples, pears and other fruit trees
- Stone Barn
- Stone for this structure was originally in a fallen stone winery on a farm about two miles away
- Dismantled and rebuilt over a permanent reinforced concrete structure, the barn is used as a party and function space, with a large, outdoor patio with heat lamps in overhead trellis
- Heavy roof timbers are clad in antique redwood bridge timbers from an old Sacramento highway bridge
- Floor is from a centuries-old valley oak on the property, which fell in a storm during the construction of the stone barn
- A small service kitchen with an outdoor, built-in pizza oven and barbeque area
- Two interior fireplaces and one exterior patio fireplace provide heat and light
- Fabulous auditorium chandeliers originally from the Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Rochester, NY
- Lower level provides storage, garage space and half bath for service personnel
- Austrian-made steel and wood barn doors provide access at both levels
- Interior parking for three service cars at the lower level with outdoor parking for a dozen more
- Concealed utility spaces are located under the parking area to the North, including electrical transformers, emergency generator, batteries and electrical panels
- Small orchard of Italian olive trees from award-winning DaVero Olive Farms in Healdsburg on the hillside across from Stone Barn
- Pool and Pool House
- Antique redwood timber roof and stone floor space with a bar, half bath and storage area
- Disappearing-edge pool surrounded on two sides by pillow-shaped non-splintering Alaskan Yellow Cedar deck for foot comfort and heat control.
- Exercise Studio
- Cantilevered off the hillside, the exercise studio has a half bath, water fountain, mirror with ballet barre and a service storage room
- With glass on three sides, the studio hangs in the trees for a serene exercise/yoga or meditation experience
- Redwood ceiling and maple gym floor
- Built-in audio, video and phone systems
- Dining Cabana
- An Austrian-style eating, dining, entertainment space adjacent to the pool built in the casual, romantic, informal manner with fireplace
- Underground Garage
- Six underground parking spaces
- A large shop and service area reached by tunnel from the main house
- A formal roof garden with boxwood-trimmed planting areas, roses and four skylights to the garage below. Roof garden conceals the garage from view for arriving guests or people in the guest room.
- Tennis court at base of driveway beside the Maacama Creek with viewing deck, storage shed and WC
Utilities and Services
- Spring-fed and well-fed system provides ample water year-round
- 40,000 gallon storage tanks
- Fire Sprinklers and Fire Suppression System
- Interior fire sprinklers throughout
- Exterior fire sprinklers under roof overhangs
- On-site fire hose cabinets and fire hoses around perimeter
- All roofs heavy ceramic tile
- All walls stucco with steel window frames
- Swimming pool connects to fire line for use by fire trucks
- Electrical–Photovoltaic Panels
- 800-amp double transformer
- Underground cable to grid
- 35KW Solar PV System with battery and generator backup
- Propane tank and emergency generator sized for one week of electrical power
- Underground cable to grid
- Integrated audio system throughout home
- Septic System
- System located opposite stone barn below main driveway
- Double-sized system, sized for eight bedrooms
- Heating and Cooling System
- 28 wells each 250 feet deep on a 15 foot by 15 foot grid, located uphill from the house near the kitchen cutting garden
- Wells are manifolded together to provide cooling/heating sinks for heat pumps throughout the buildings
- Solar Panels–Hot Water
- Rooftop solar panels on residence preheat hot water
- Storage tanks in basement store preheated water and provide to regular hot water heater, which heats water to final temperature
- Pool water heated by solar panels located downhill from swimming pool adjacent to pool equipment room
- Property includes approximately 650 acres
- Maacama Creek, a year-round stream, is a non-fishing preserve with migratory Steelhead Salmon
- No construction is allowed within 100 feet of Maacama Creek
- No water may be withdrawn from Maacama Creek without appropriate permits
- Access easements exist across property for upstream and adjacent neighbors
- Grapes can be planted on up to 40 acres of the property
- Building in any area visible from distant or adjacent properties, including access roads, is discouraged by the Sonoma County Planning Department
- Grass mowing and fire-related pruning is required annually, usually before June 15, within 300 feet of structures by Sonoma County Fire