Inside a Stylish Healdsburg Getaway
“This house is all about patterns and color, unexpected materials and unique works of art—but not in overwhelming amounts,” says Jeff Schlarb of the Healdsburg home that he and wife Tray have lovingly renovated. Designed as a weekend getaway for the couple and their two young daughters, the 16-acre Sonoma County compound is where the family relaxes and entertains with competitive bocce games, barbecues with friends and even tented affairs in the sprawling backyard that overlooks the valley beyond. “This is a country house—an exaggerated cottage, really,” says Schlarb, “and we created it to be a forever place for our kids.”
The duo behind San Francisco design firm Green Couch, the Schlarbs were drawn to the 1982 house with its a retro pool (“It’s early ’80s, but with a ’70s hangover,” says Schlarb) and light-filled guesthouse. The couple embarked on the year-long renovation project with the goal of “replacing things in kind,” says Schlarb, so that new windows and horizontal cedar siding, though used to create a modern architectural aesthetic, were in keeping with the original house.
As with any home, the kitchen is the epicenter of family life. “It’s an easy space to be in,” notes Schlarb, “whether we’re cooking breakfast or drinking Champagne with friends.” The adjacent great room is another favorite sunny gathering spot and is filled with meaningful pieces. The photograph, for example, was taken by a friend just outside of Schlarb’s hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. “It’s of a wicked funnel tornado that she could see from her front door, and she took it on her phone!” says Schlarb, who also loved the pixelated look of the photo when it was blown up to its current size.
The family’s dining room is a study in whimsy and color. “We wanted a cozy, intimate space with wood beams,” says Schlarb. The two-tone, wallpapered space features a unique mix—a classic hunt pattern by Phillip Jeffries coexists with an urban toile motif by Timorous Beasties in muted shades of blue. Zele chairs in buttery soft leather surround an industrially-inspired dining table, while geometric artworks by Bay Area artist Aleksandra Zee and a rope sculpture bought at the West Coast Art Fair spark lively conversations.
Upstairs, the master suite is more in keeping with Tray’s love of light, airy colors, and wide-plank oak floors set the stage for the soothing oasis. The couple’s all-white bedroom has a dreamlike atmosphere highlighted by a bed with turned-wood posts from Noir; thick Mark Alexander window treatments in Tunis Snow and a whitewashed brick fireplace. A woven cotton carpet and blue Brentano throw pillows add subtle touches of color, while rattan chairs paired with a trio of garden stools creates a sitting area that evokes outdoor living.
This serene atmosphere extends to the master bathroom where linen drapes “create a soft, romantic environment,” says Schlarb, while a bold Elitis wallcovering and a stark, black stone floor give the room drama. The stand-alone bathtub is original to the house, and the PentalQuartz sink and bathroom fixtures were custom made to match.
Every furnishing, finish and fabric has been lovingly considered by the Schlarbs, and the result is a highly personal retreat for their busy family. “In San Francisco, we are in close proximity to our neighbors, but in Healdsburg, we have endless land and space to work with. We often center around the fireplace, or jam with friends,” notes Schlarb. “This home was built for memory creation.”
A version of this article appeared in the April/May 2016 issue of SFC&G (San Francisco Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Modern Pastoral.