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Named for two noble varieties of trees that share its idyllic setting, Bay Oaks is a singular estate on 9.69 acres in Sonoma’s lush Valley of the Moon. Designed by architects Julie Dowling and Lorissa Kimm in conjunction with the current owners—lovers of art and one an artist himself—the home is a composition of its own, carefully created with an emphasis on the calming nature of axial symmetry and attention to proportion. Spaces and lighting were designed to showcase both Western European and Asian art with nods to Greco-Roman and modern architectural traditions, Bay Oaks becomes a place where the art of the past and the pleasures of the present unite in harmony.
The home’s idyllic location, enveloped by the greenery of Sonoma, allows it to be gradually discovered through the gravel drive and a lighted path approach. The interiors maintain a sense of serenity and well-being despite their generous scale. At the center of the home the library is at once comfortable and enriching and currently houses an extensive collection of rare and reference books. Its ceiling soars to a height of 15 feet and is topped by a six-foot-square skylight that illuminates every inch with filtered natural light. The ambience is one of Old World meditation, furthered by four walls of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and an exquisitely carved late-18th-century Adam-style doorway. Spaces are versatile: the library could be easily adapted to serve as a home theater or billiards room, while the artist’s impressive studio could function as a gym, a meditation room, or a family room.
Many rooms are part of a soothing flow or enfilade, where an object of art, a window, or a vista pulls the eye forward. A riveting view, naturally obstructed outdoors, reveals itself dramatically indoors, in the main living and dining area. From the western end of the library the eye travels through the hall and the living area toward the breathtaking vista which includes the home’s alluring 50-foot swimming pool. In the tranquil master suite two oculus windows and a window seat encourage a close relationship with the enveloping landscape and gardens. 12-foot ceilings conjure a feeling of airiness and ease.
The subtly sophisticated interiors hold an array of surprises and visual drama with elements of grandeur occasionally appearing. Carefully chosen walls and floors are inlaid with antique marble, jade, amethyst, and lapis. Door surrounds—the owner’s adaptation of 16th-century elements the Villa Medici in Rome—were carved from fossilized French bluestone by a skilled local stonemason. Above the secluded soaking tub in the master bath is a Roman-Syrian mosaic in subdued hues.
The property sits roughly 1,450 feet above the valley floor on the southeastern slope of Sonoma Mountain. One of the largest and oldest bay trees in the Valley of the Moon grows at the land’s northern end. Behind 10-foot fencing are two thriving raised-bed vegetable gardens. The view is vast, stretching from this wine country valley to Mt. Diablo and the tip of the San Francisco Bay.
Additional Information on the Additional 2 Parcels that Convey:
NEIGHBORHOOD | SONOMA
A small town with a rich history, the center of the locavore food movement, and situated in the heart of Wine Country, the city of Sonoma is content to play country mouse to its more citified cousin, Napa. You won't find enormous tour buses disgorging hundreds of passengers in downtown Sonoma; the city of 10,000 residents is mostly laid-back and quiet.
Centered on what many call one of the most beautiful town plazas in the state, with its historic, preserved Mission that dates back to 1823, Sonoma has the feel of a small country town -- that is, if a small country town boasted more than a dozen tasting rooms of award-winning wineries. Surrounded by vineyards and more than 60 world-class wineries that mix the elegant with the down home, Sonoma is ground zero for great wine and the lifestyle that goes with it.
All that makes Sonoma a premier destination, sought after for its mellow pace, natural beauty, and proximity to San Francisco, just 45 miles south. Sonoma offers plenty of things to do, including jazz festivals, parades, cooking classes, the Sonoma International Film Festival, and exhibitions and openings at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.
Spacious homes in the vineyards and rolling hills around Sonoma command spectacular views. Today, the multimillion-dollar estates of Sonoma range from Tuscan-style villas to more adventurous concrete and glass architectural statements.