When we first heard about The Ink House, a four-bedroom, Napa Valley home restored as a stunning, contemporary inn, we knew it was a special spot. We had to see it for ourselves, so we paid a visit (or two).
The family-operated boutique hotel has a welcoming ambiance unlike anything we've ever experienced before. Framed on the Helios Ranch in St. Helena, the structure first built in 1885 by Napa Valley pioneer Theron Ink as a single-family home. When Italian family the Castellucci's (hence the warm, welcoming feels) bought the home in 2013, it was soon after refurbished to pay homage to the building’s history but with a contemporary flare. Each bedroom is named after a significant player in the home's history, including the Theron Room, the Harriet Room, the Helios Room, and the Elvis Room. Every guest at the Ink House will have a personal Maître d’étage who will curate the guests' experiences. AND, the best part? Inside the home is a fully-stocked chef’s kitchen with an “open access” policy. These amenities will be pre-stocked according to the guest's requests. OH, and one more thing. The house Bentley will be taking each guest to their tastings and meals.
Okay, we got sidetracked. Back to the important things — the design, feel, history, and aesthetic of the home. We spoke with interior designer Sarahliz Lawson, the lead designer and curator of the home. Read ahead to get a sneak peek of the home, and the inspiration behind its stunning, modern appeal.
Lonny: What were your key sources of inspiration for this project?
Sarahliz Lawson: "The design for the interior of the Ink House was inspired not only by the storied history of the house and its beautiful surroundings, but also by the Castellucci family members themselves, who embody the warmth, sophistication, and uniqueness seen throughout the house."
Lonny: What are the pieces in this home that really ground the space, or bring it together?
SL: "The plaid flannel Phillip Jeffries ceiling wallpaper and soaring custom black bookcases in the State Room are among my favorite elements of the project - they make such a powerful statement upon entering the Inn, drawing one's eye to the tall ceilings while also creating a sense of coziness and calm. The woven Palecek furniture sprinkled throughout the house also creates cohesion between each space with its organic textures and patterns: the striped dining chairs in the Kitchen, the wood side chairs in the State Room, the bed in the Helios room, and the desk in the Harriet room."
Lonny: How did you manage to preserve the home's original aesthetic, while also bringing in a modern feel?
SL: "Contrasting details, each with its own character, mix together in every room to create inviting and sophisticated spaces that are neither too modern nor too traditional. For example in the Helios Room, a traditional black desk is paired with a sleek brass chair, an edgy chandelier with a soft and velvety area rug, and a light and airy drapery fabric with a masculine plaid upholstery fabric. The juxtaposed styles and textures in each room meant that the architecture should remain simple and timeless, true to its original nature."
Lonny: We love how the subtly-themed bedrooms. How did you come up with these themes?
SL: "The Castelluccis came up with names for each room based on real people who were integral to the building’s history. These people were a wonderful jumping off point for the design of each room because each person had such a distinct character and rich story to tell."
Lonny: The kitchen is our favorite room in the space. What were your must-have features in this room?
SL: "Thank you, the kitchen is indeed a special room. The locally-sourced live edge communal dining table made by Napa Valley artisan Chaunce Mitchell is a showstopper – its unparalleled size and clean grain pattern make it a timeless addition to an already stately kitchen. The tall ceilings and custom black hood vent were also integral elements of the kitchen which really helped define the space."
Lonny: What was the overall feeling or experience you hoped to evoke with the design of Ink House?
SL: "My goal for the project was to create a welcoming wine country retreat that fused the past and present in a bold yet elegant manner. I envisioned a warm and layered interior environment, achieved through the use of a neutral color palette infused with organic textures, bold black features, and subdued accent colors inspired by the Napa Valley landscape."
Lonny: Okay, last question: if you could choose ONE piece that spoke to you most in designing the space, which was it?
SL: "The chandelier in the upstairs "Ink Well” - it has the grace and sophistication that embodies the entire home but also has a beautiful sculptural element that, when lit up at night, can be seen all the way from St. Helena Highway. It’s definitely the icing on the cake."
To see more new, design-minded spots, check out Parachute's NYC Spot We Want To Move Into.