Designer Geoffrey De Sousa drapes a French-inspired winery with a dark and sexy palette.
The walls are covered in Midsummer Night from Wall&decò, created by graphic designer Lorenzo De Grandis.
When the family behind Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg was ready to revamp their private dining room (reserved for members and exclusive events) they called San Francisco-based designer Geoffrey De Sousa, who was ready to usher the neoclassical French- inspired space into the 21st century with his signature warm modernism.
“It’s super important for businesses to reinvent themselves,” he says. “This dining room was stuck in the ’90s. It was time.” The dining room’s executive chef, Todd Knoll, motivated the redesign with his fresh take on a menu mostly sourced from what is grown on the 1,200-acre estate. “After talking to Todd, I started to see the oak tree groves and the moss, and I really wanted to make it about the property,” De Sousa says.
The high-back chairs were restored and now feature embroidery by a haute-couture artist Geraldine Larkin, who has previously worked for Tom Ford, Versace, Givenchy and Fendi.
The forest-motif Midsummer Night wallpaper from Wall&decò sets the tone for a moody and modern take on the earthy aesthetic, but De Sousa wasn’t satisfied with a traditional application. “I jokingly reached out to my installer and said, ‘What do you think about covering the walls from the crown molding to the baseboard?’” Master craftswoman Heidi Wright Mead was up for the challenge to match and miter every nook and corner for a striking finish.
Then, San-Francisco based designer Jonathan Browning accentuated the mood with bronze and black lighting that feels modern but pulls inspiration from French Beaux Arts classicism. The fireplace was also treated with an elevated bronze surround, hearth trim and tools, thanks to metalsmith Randell Tuell in Sonoma County.
Each pattern is unique and draws inspiration from the rocks and lichen found on the estate; the accent walls and woodwork are painted with Benjamin Moore French Beret. The humorous sculpture, “Piethian Apollo” by Stephen Antonson, shows Apollo with a pie thrust in his face.
Adding to his design village, De Sousa sought out London-based haute- couture artist Geraldine Larkin, who studied with Alexander McQueen, to embroider the linen-backed dining chairs. “We sent her inspiration images of lichen from the property, and by the second sample, she was on it and we loved it.”
“Piethian Apollo,” a pie-in-the-face statue by New York artist Stephen Antonson, keeps the design from reading too serious. “It was a moment where there was a little bit of a chuckle,” De Sousa says. (Humor and warmth are hallmarks of his unexpected approach.) “It’s a nod to 18th century France, but it’s also modern and chic and San Francisco-based and has a bit of a nocturnal edge to it, and that was really what I wanted to do.” 1474 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg
Originally published in the July issue of San Francisco
Photography by: Photos by Jose Manuel Alorda