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A Historic B&B Gets a Facelift

California wine country casual with a touch of minimalism. Here’s how we did it.

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Alyson Kuhn
Guest Author
bosworth house

Mackenzie and Robert had been looking to buy a B&B for almost a decade. When the Bosworth House in one of California's wine valleys became available, they leapt at the chance. The Victorian Italianate residence, built in 1904, is the 100th registered historic landmark property in Sonoma County. Long before escrow closed, Mackenzie and Robert had decided to convert the Bosworth House from an inn to a luxury vacation rental property where guests can enjoy all the functionality of a home with high-end features and fixtures — in the heart of a world-famous resort destination.

Sledgehammers swinging, Mackenzie and Robert undertook the initial demolition themselves, to see what was behind the wallpaper that covered every surface. They quickly confirmed the need to replace all of the house’s wiring and plumbing.

Here’s how helped Mackenzie and Robert infuse the newly named Alexander Valley Wine Country Inn with comfort, convenience and romance. 

WELCOME TO... Keyless Entry Locks!

Because the inn is a registered historic landmark, the exterior structure is protected for authenticity. The original Victorian Italianate color scheme has been restored to pristine: crisp white with a new Federalist Black front door (the old one had fallen prey to dry rot). But the front door and the back door have been updated with Schlage keyless locks.

Mackenzie enthuses, “No keys! Our guests don’t have to worry about working an unfamiliar key, carrying a key, or losing a key. We can change the codes before each arrival. We can also give the housekeepers their own code, and we have a separate code for ourselves. The Schlage keyless system is straightforward and easy to use.”

Robert adds, “I also had questions about exterior lighting and motion sensors, and I got helpful, specific answers from Everyone on ‘our customer service team’ is so knowledgeable — and a good explainer.”

“No keys! Our guests don’t have to worry about working an unfamiliar key, carrying a key, or losing a key… The Schlage keyless system is straightforward and easy to use.”

Updating a Quartet of Bathrooms

Each bedroom’s bathroom has been enlarged as well as totally upgraded. recommended faucets and other fixtures that are well-suited for commercial use, especially in view of California’s drought.

Robert comments, “We immediately replaced the lawns with drought-tolerant plantings and installed a drip system, but we also want to be mindful about saving water inside the house.”

Mackenzie was delighted when the team suggested a comfort-height toilet from the elegant Kohler Santa Rosa collection.  One of the most popular toilets from Kohler, this toilet is knee-saving, water-saving, and even space-saving. Its overall width is a couple of inches narrower than many toilets. The elongated seat (as opposed to round) is extra comfortable, and the automatic soft-closing lid is a thoughtful plus.

Outfitting a Gourmet Kitchen

The kitchen has been fully renovated to allow guests to self-cater their epicurean fantasies. The Kohler Whitehaven cast-iron sink is an updated version of a vintage farmhouse sink. The tall apron front acts as a drip edge to protect the cabinet below. The large basin is handy for prepping glorious local produce, arranging flowers, and washing over-sized pots and pans. The gently sloped bottom helps with draining and cleanup.

The Kohler Artifacts faucet combines turn-of-the-century charm and modern functionality, with a high-arc swing spout that makes it easy to fill large pots and vases. The coordinating side spray switches smoothly from food prep — including a “berry soft” setting that provides a gentle spray — to serious cleaning. Kohler's “sweep spray” setting creates a wide, forceful blade of water.

Making Hardware Choices Easy

Robert describes the new interior of the Alexander Valley Wine Country Inn as “California wine country casual and a bit minimalist.”  The clean look is reinforced throughout the house with new hardware that is simultaneously retro-evocative, artisanal and Euro-trending.

While the door knobs and cabinet pulls all vary from room to room, much to the same way they would in a private residence, what remains prevalent throughout the Inn, is the oil-rubbed bronze finish.  Featuring a warm copper undertone, this aged finish perfectly blends Victorian and Craftsman, giving the Inn a modern look of the old world.

Mackenzie elaborates, “This was a way to carry through the Colonial or Federalist feel—primitive and solid, but proud. I could just picture a blacksmith pounding away, forging these fixtures on site. The dark iron look is simple, but with exquisite detail.”

She adds, “Here again, was so helpful. The customer service reps consider it part of their job to follow what’s trending, as well as to ask you questions about your project that help them decide which products to recommend. We had some back-and-forthing on the hardware—not due to anything on the end—but basically because we couldn’t decide between beautiful and more beautiful. What a great dilemma!”

Wine Country Inn Decor

Chic & exquisitely renovated, this Historical Landmark 4 BD/4 BA sleeps 8 and is the perfect destination for family and friends exploring Sonoma County wine country together! 

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