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Sunset's California IDEA HOUSE.

Mother Lode meets modern living

Eureka! The miner's familiar cry of discovery could apply to our Idea House at Serrano in California's Gold Country; about 40 minutes east of Sacramento. Filled with decorating ideas, it's the result of a collaboration between Sunset's Idea House team and our national sponsors. Parapet gables, a brick-and-stone entry facade, and twin chimneys draw inspiration from a regional landmark: the 1898 Bourn Cottage at Empire Mine in Grass Valley. As builder Jeremy Bernau, of Kensington Homes, explains, "We wanted to tie the house to local history."

terrace time

The house, roughly U-shaped, occupies a lot that slopes down from the street. Architect Kevin Patrick O'Brien recalls, "The challenge--and the fun--was to adapt a traditional design for contemporary indoor-outdoor living." Terraces, porches, and verandas are key features, especially away from the street. Landscape architect Ron Allison used water, built-in seating, and an arbor to give each space a feeling appropriate to the hot-summer climate. "There's a rose garden at the Bourn Cottage," he says, "so we created a small heritage rose walk here too."

color connections

In the great hall, a muted color scheme of earth tones links to the undulating, oak-studded Serrano countryside and also merges comfortably with the darker green tones of the family room and the kitchen. "Since the great hall, kitchen, and family rooms are all interconnected, we had to create a color palette that allowed each room to have its own personality while blending seamlessly with its neighbors," says interior designer Janice Stone Thomas, who used furnishings and artwork as bright accents.

scale and stagecraft

"When you have a large space like the family room--dominated by a soaring stone fireplace--the furnishings have to be substantial,: says Stone Thomas. Bold plaid sofas, colorful planters, and dramatic artwork rise to the occasion. A built-in entertainment center hides video and stereo equipment. An opera box-like balcony off the upstairs hall dramatizes the verticality of the family room and borrows light for the hallway. Just outside the family room is the veranda, which has its own fireplace facing a cozy seating area and a barbecue center.

updating the past

Bright reds, yellows, and violets--on sofas, armchairs, dining chairs, ceramics, and stemware--that give the great hall's traditional, country-style furnishings a fresh, contemporary look contrast effectively with the room's dark wood posts and beams. A casual seating arrangement of sofas and armchairs loosely defines the living area at one end of the space.

morning light

Three sets of French doors, an octagonal light well, and slate payers make this charming room an indoor-outdoor retreat. It connects to the terrace on one side and the veranda on the other. The adjoining kitchen borrows light from it. The casual tabletop setting features a soup tureen as a container for potted plants.

Old World ambience

Stone Thomas gave the kitchen a European country look with graceful arches, a Venetian plaster range hood, and walls tiled in patterns that resemble brickwork. The space contains recycling bins, a coffee bar, and a mini home office. Designed to function as an activity hub, it opens to the breakfast room, the family room, and the great hall.

serene retreat

The goal for the master suite was to achieve a feeling of serenity while maximizing views through the oaks. Stone Thomas achieved it with a mix of Asian- and Arts and Grafts--inspired furniture balanced by crisp contemporary artwork and fabrics. Reedlike blinds and pale green oak leaf--toned walls reinforce the connection to nature. Simple yet elegant bed linens emphasize the richness of the cherry sleigh bed.

Accessories-potted orchids and antique baskets-have been kept to a minimum to reinforce the under-stated aesthetic.

a spot for soaking

The bath, divided into functional areas, is accessible from both the master bedroom and the home office. The special touches here are twin curved vanities and a deep soaking tub set into a window bay

Paper pizzazz

The guest room has come to be called the paper room -- first, because it's the only room in the house with wallpaper, and second, because the worktable displays a variety of paper-related projects. The antique white headboard and pastel linens blend subtly into the cream-colored wallpaper, which has a subtle handwriting pattern. Driftwood-colored blinds topped by crimped wallpaper valances offer privacy and sun control. For dramatic impact, the room has just one accent color -- a perky apple green chair embellished with white crewel work.

Hidden storage

The elegant home office -- paneled in a handsome grid of light and dark woods -- packs a surprise in the built-in file cabinets tucked under the large window bench. When closed, the cabinets merge into the architecture and look like part of the window bench.

* Contrast and character

A daring juxtaposition of colors and styles--khaki-hued wainscoting below cinnamon red walls--makes the recreation room a particularly vivid space. Outfitted with a custom pool table, game table, refrigerator, and easy chairs, it opens to a spacious loggia with a view. The walls are decorated with an eye-catching array of framed citruscrate labels.

* youthful hues

Sunny yellow walls create a vivid backdrop for the girl's room. Hot pinks, red, orange, and blue appear in furnishings and potted flowers. The bed's lengthwise placement in the alcove makes the room appear larger. The room's starring feature is a painted wood valance cut into the fanciful shape of a puppet stage. A headboard painted onto the wall adds to the theatrical effect. The accent rug's decorative border picks up the patterns in pillows and the bedspread, anchoring the rainbow of colors and textures.

the floor plan

The house is designed for flexible, casual, indoor-outdoor living. There are no dead-end rooms, and each major living space opens to the outdoors. There are 4 1/2 bathrooms and 5 bedrooms. The ground floor is 3,387 square feet, with 1,661 square feet on the second floor. It features a covered veranda with an outdoor fireplace, a kitchen office alcove, a home office that can double as a guest room or nursery with access to the master suite, and a laundry-mudroom with a laundry chute. To order plans, call (888) 277-5588 or visit Ask for plan number KPO-2001.

features throughout the house

energy savvy

COOLING AND HEATING BY ZONE work by programmable digital thermostats, which allow for maximum efficiency: Cool or warm air is delivered only where it is needed.

ENERGY-EFFICIENT WINDOWS perform well thanks to low-e coatings and argon gas between the glass panes.

CEILING FANS circulate cool air in summer and warm air in winter.

material savvy

INSULATION SYSTEM is designed to combat water, moisture, and air infiltration.

FIBER-CEMENT SIDING is durable without using wood.

WEATHER-RESISTANT DECKING made of recycled materials doesn't require sealing.

CONCRETE TILE ROOFING adds roof longevity without an energy-intensive production process.

DuPont Tyvek


A house is only as good as its ability to combat the weather, and here are two products that do the job expertly. Tyvek HomeWrap forms the air and water barrier behind the board-and-batten siding. Tyvck StuccoWrap (in place of grade D building paper) improves the curing of stucco, reduces its susceptibility to cracking, and transports water and moisture to the outside. Both products help keep the home warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and dry and energy-efficient year-round. (800) 448-9835 or


Tufted broadloom carpeting and wool area rugs give the Idea House interior a warm, casually elegant air. In the great hall, the two large area rugs are from the SunWash Collection, which is inspired by antique rugs from the Oushak and Isfahan regions of Iran. Other rooms use a range of carpeting from Karastan's Bauhaus Collection, which achieves the subtle graphic look of sisal without the rough texture. (800) 234-1120 or

Weber-Stephen Products

What could be more Western than a fully equipped outdoor kitchen and dining area? Located on the veranda, the shaded barbecue area features the Weber Summit 675 Built-In. With six burners, stainless steel cooking grates, and bars designed to eliminate flare-ups, this state-of-the-art grill provides complete temperature control for outdoor cooking. (888) 446-1071 or

GE Monogram

The design challenge for kitchens is to make them both functional and decorative. The Idea House kitchen combines European charm with state-of-the-art appliances, including the GE Monogram Advantium Oven, which uses halogen light technology to cook dishes in the oven up to eight times faster than a conventional oven. GE's side-by-side refrigerator and under-counter dishwasher are fitted with custom front panels to match the kitchen's cherry cabinetry. (800) 626-5619 or

James Hardie Building Products: siding, tile underlayment

A traditional look without traditional maintenance and durability problems: That's the thinking behind the board-and-batten siding used here. The fiber-cement siding for the tower and part of the garage wing is made of Hardipanel, with Harditrim, which are noncombustible and won't rot, split, warp, or buckle. Inside, Hardibacker ceramic tile underlayment protects against moisture. (888) 542-7343 or

Marvin Windows and Doors

The historically inspired Idea House required appropriate energy-efficient windows and doors. The Idea House uses Marvin's Clad Ultimate double hung windows and French doors; the pedimented windows accentuate the lodgelike character of the family room. Simulated divided lights offer a traditional appearance in window designs but deliver energy efficiency with low-e II coatings and argon gas between the glass layers. Warming low-angle winter sun can enter the home, but hot high-angle summer light is reflected. (888) 537-8268 or

Marquis Spas

Marquis Spas's new 7 1/2-foot-square Ultimate Marquis is built into a deck off the master suite; the deck railing doubles as bench seating. The spa includes 43 strategically positioned jets and seven seats, including the Alcove Whirlpool, which is configured with 17 powerful jets for neck and back and a soak timer that manages the time and intensity of each session. Automatic filtration and ozone purification systems ensure easy maintenance. (800) 223-6303 or


The concrete root tile-Monier 2000 Slate-offers the beauty of slate plus unsurpassed ability to withstand the elements. Made using low-intensity production processes from easily recyclable materials, the tiles have superior reflective and heat-transfer properties that allow for efficient heating and cooling. Monier 2000 comes in a broad array of nature-inspired hues integrated completely into every tile by a "color-through" manufacturing process. (800) 273-7663 or

Pier 1 Imports

The casual elegance and easygoing eclecticism of the Western lifestyle is reflected throughout the Idea House in furnishings from Pier 1. An extensive range of unusual indoor-outdoor accessories and home furnishings-including imported mirrors, pillows in an array of colors, elegant lamps, and fragrant candles and soaps-pulls the look together. (800) 245-4595 or


In the powder room, fixtures and bathroom furniture from the Iron Works Teilleur Suite combine the Old World feel of cast iron with sleek lines and simple forms. The master bath shower sports Water Haven, en invigorating hydro-massage with multiple adjustable showerheads and body sprays. Kohler has recently expanded its product lineup with the PRO CookCenter, which is literally a sink that cooks. The multilayered vessel -- which is built into the Idea House kitchen island -- makes it possible to boil and drain water without lifting a pot. (800) 456-4537 or

Orchard Supply Hardware

The ultimate home shop -- set up in the single-bay garage -- showcases a wide array of power tools, hand tools, garden tools, and tool storage items supplied by Orchard Supply Hardware. These are the types of tools used to make woodworking projects - planter bench, flowering bird feeder, or a potting bench. (888) 746-7674 or

Trex Company

Trex finds its place in the Idea House spa deck, exterior railings, outside stairs, and shutter components with Trex Easy Care Decking and RailPost. Made primarily from recycled plastic grocery bags and reclaimed plastic wrap and waste wood, the weather-resistant decking lumber is tree of splinters and never needs protective sealants or stains, It resists moisture, sunlight, and insects, will not rot or crack, and contains no toxic chemicals or preservatives. The spa deck features Trex in the Natural hue. (800) 289-8739 or

Ace Hardware Corp.

The Idea House has a nature-oriented paint palette, using varying shades of similar colors for depth and interest in an open floor plan.

Ace Hardware manufactures the 13 Ace Royal Paint colors used for the interiors of the house--along with the two exterior colors. In addition, Ace wood stains cover some wood trim and supports. (630) 990-6600 or

Lennox Industries

The Idea House features the latest high-efficiency, Energy Star-rated air-conditioning/condensing units and furnaces by Lennox. The Lennox Harmony zoning system divides the house into sections 50 heating or cooling can be delivered only where it is needed. Programmable digital thermostats allow for precise climate control. New ultraviolet germicidal lights kill airborne germs, and electronic air cleaners remove dust, dirt, and pollen. The house also features two Lennox Elite direct-vent gas fireplaces--one at each end of the great hall. (800) 953-6629 or

Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System

The Sentricon system provides a preventive and curative approach to pest control. Sentricon stations--placed in the ground around the outside of the structure--contain wood-based monitoring devices that are checked regularly by a technician. When termites are discovered, the Sentricon system uses the biology and natural behavior of termites along with a unique chemical bait to eliminate the colony. The bait is then removed and the system continues to monitor for new colonies. (800) 678-2388 or


The majority of garden plantings at the Idea House are from the new Sunset Best of the West Collection from Monrovia. Selected by horticulturists and Sunset editors, the collection includes a wide variety of plants that thrive in the West's diverse climate zones and meet the needs of the casual, year-round, outdoor-oriented Western lifestyle. These plants are easy to maintain, tough, drought-tolerant, and deer-resistant. (888) 752-6848 or

Northern California Toyota Dealers

An emphasis on safety, performance, and comfortable convenience makes the all-new four-wheel-drive Toyota Sequoia well suited to the snowy and winding roads of Northern California and the Sierra. The Sequoia is equipped with vehicle skid control to keep you going on any surface.


Supersoil's many planting products were used in the Idea House gardens and container pots. WonderBloom Flower Planting Soil contains special nutrients for vibrant color and requires no fertilizer for six months. Garden Guardian Mulch, which is completely organic, conserves water and keeps weeds away. Other products include Supersoil Potting Soil and Supersoil Premium Planting Mix and Soil Conditioner. (800) 531-4411 or

editors' picks of great ideas


A built-in laundry chute drops clothing into a pullout hamper that can be rolled to the undercounter washing machine. Once washed and dried, the clothes are stored in individual wire baskets, each one labeled for its owner. A painted vinyl runner adds a colorful splash.


The window valance in the guest room rewards close inspection: lt's fashioned from a strip of crimped and perforated wallpaper strung on tensioned wire.


Dowels create vertical pockets in the oversize kitchen drawer; they're designed to provide easy access to dinner plates.


Three drawers built into the home office window seat function as camouflaged storage for files.


The door to the left of the dining area fireplace looks like a built-in hutch, but like a good vintage it reveals surprising depth: It opens to a cool wine closet, with shelves that hold 450 bottles.


A cabinet in the great hall allows for views to the hallway behind the living area fireplace.


The wall colors are designed to harmonize with one another. Here yellow, khaki, and red hues create a warm composition.


The glistening celadon green urn creates a cool, eye-catching fountain on the rear terrace. The glazed terra-cotta jar was adapted for use as a water feature.

9 and 10. MOSAIC TILE

The wavy and circular tile patterns in the childrens' bathroom were made by special education students in a vocational program at Tokay High School in Lodi, California.


One corner of the kitchen includes a European-style espresso bar built into the cabinetry. Nearby is a desk for a flat-panel monitor.


A spouting terra-cotta lion's head in a brick frame recalls a similar fountain at the Bourn Cottage. The water spills into a brick basin.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:1898 Bourn Cottage inspiration
Author:Bertelsen, Ann; Gregory, Daniel
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2001
Next Article:Vanishing Point.

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