A Guest Haven
by LAUREN LABELLE
PHOTOS by Mike Graffigna
If you’re ever extended an invitation to attend an event or stay at the guest house at the Lange Twins Winery in Acampo, we suggest you jump at the chance. If not for the fine wine and good company, at least to get a closer look at the unique design of the home. Well-known, local interior designer Marlo Kerner, who is also a licensed general contractor, was commissioned to build the retreat after designing the interiors of both Randy and Brad Lange’s (the Lange twins) homes on their family-owned winery property. The resulting rustic gem is a combination of earth-friendly, found objects, organic materials, and stylish surprises around every corner.
The year-long project began with the demolition of three old barns that already existed on the property. The leftover aged wood and metal were reused to build the structure, floors, and roof of the new house, which sits on stilts beside the Mokelumne River. A large living/dining area, master bedroom, kitchen, wine cellar, two baths, two lofts (one equipped with two sets of bunk beds for sleeping, the other with a pool table for recreation), an expansive deck, and an “outhouse” holding the furnace and a washer/dryer make up the entirety of the guest house. The landscape surrounding the house features all natural rock with a built-in fire pit, dry-creek, and sweeping plants that flourish in Central Valley weather, all against a majestic vineyard backdrop.
The gate that welcomes visitors onto the property was commissioned by local artist Nick Meyers. It features two inverted letter Ls, representing the Lange twin brothers. A stone potting shed stands outside the main building, and a structure reminiscent of a silo (attached to the house) acts as a grand entrance for the home, complete with a hardwood, spiral staircase.
Inside the cozy bungalow, the living/dining area is adorned with two colorful couches and three end tables, all originally found in the main house of Brad and Susan Lange. Kerner reupholstered the found couches with material imported from France, and repainted the small tables to achieve a distressed, country look. A metal cabinet accented with upholstery tacks hides the television atop the mantle.
The kitchen counter continues the metal and tack theme, with interior counters made of Vermont limestone. Two mahogany tables with cowhide-backed chairs bring a lively feel to the room, and are also able to unfold and join together to accommodate up to eight dinner guests.
Both lofts, located on either side of the main living/dining room, are sectioned off with railings made of dried manzanita vines imported from the foothills.
The two bathrooms, although small in size, are striking in their design choices. Vintage magazines and newspapers line the walls from floor to ceiling as a nod to reading as a favorite powder room pastime. Recovered from a house purchased from an old friend and added on to the Lange Twins estate, the actual covers were then pasted on the walls by artist Anne Deverell, who was also commissioned for other interior projects.
Kerner regards the house as a personal favorite in his career, which spans over forty years. “It was very interesting,” he says, “and it was probably one of the most fun projects I have done in my entire life. I’m tickled about it and very proud of it, and I think [the owners] are too.” SJM