At Home in the Vineyard

Inside one of Napa Valley’s most spectacular new private residences.

  • Category
  • Created by
    MJC Development
  • Interiors by
    Kendal Agens
  • Architecture by
    Stephen Willrich
  • Construction by
    Westwind Construction

“We wanted to create a property that responded to Napa and its rich agricultural history as well as the ever-evolving wine country lifestyle,” notes developer Matthew Cook as he surveys the latest property he’s completed. Here at Gentry we’ve been following Cook’s career and projects closely. Each has been more stunning than the last. It all started several years ago when Cook created MJC Development with his cousin Andrew Johnston. Both men have an eye for design and the acute sense of what their client’s will not simply want, but love. Case in point: Restoration Hardware CEO Gary Friedman purchased a home from Johnston and Cook immediately upon touring it.

“Entertaining is so important to our clients and so right for the Napa lifestyle. This house is laid out to create a comfortable and casual setting for family gatherings as well as accommodating to large scale entertaining.”

For this new Napa Valley residence five minutes from both downtown Napa and Yountville, MJC collaborated with architect Stephen Willrich and interior designer Kendal Agins to craft a thoroughly modern farmhouse that first and foremost respects the land.

Recalls Cook, “When we were siting the house, careful attention was paid to capture the expansive views, sunlight, and privacy. Architecture and the site always need to respond to and inform each other. With the climate that Napa offers, we wanted the design to place equal emphasis on the interior spaces and landscaped setting. The main house floor plan is a simple H-shape that greets guests upon arrival with entry courtyard and walkway sequence, structured with rows of ancient olives and lavender. Once inside, expansive doors and windows emphasize flow to a series of outdoor rooms and pool area beyond.”

Cook maintains that flexibility is key to a great house. With that in mind, each MJC project always features a series of connecting spaces with a variety of scale. The result is the house can feel equally comfortable for two or a crowd of over 100. “Entertaining is so important to our clients and so right for the Napa lifestyle,” says Cook. “This house is laid out to create a comfortable and casual setting for family gatherings as well as accommodating to large scale entertaining.”

At the center of the house is the great room with views of both the arrival courtyard complete with a mini-vineyard planted with Cabernet grapes and the pool terrace and vineyards beyond. Agins adds, “The great room has a timeless elegance and drama. We worked with modern sofas and a big chunky coffee table and paired these items with antique vintage accessories. We loved having the strong contrasts of dark bookcases and the dark marble against the white walls.” This space also serves as a bridge between the bedroom wing and the kitchen family room wing.

The designer took a clean modern approach to the upholstery throughout the home. “We focused on making comfortable spaces to sit and enjoy the time away from our hectic lives,” she says. “The rest of the furnishings tell a story of vintage finds, travel, and family fun. We carefully collected art, maps, and photographs that are dynamic to the spaces and interesting in texture or content.”

A special addition to this home is a second master suite. Cook notes, “In many of our projects we’ve placed the master suite on the second floor to give it the best views, but I’ve had several clients ask for a master on the ground floor as well, so here we stacked them. On the second floor you have commanding vistas of the valley, the Stags Leap Formation, and surrounding mountains. On the ground floor the views take you right out to the gardens, vineyard, and pool.”

When asked about their favorite spaces in the completed project, Agins mentions the entertainment room located on the second floor. “The vaulted space offers a private retreat,” she says, “and opens out on to a large roof deck that both functions as an outdoor living room.” Cook points to the terrace and lawn with majestic palms and the charming guesthouse saying, “Just think of the wonderful parties that will take place here.”

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