California home with English country house style |


This charming home is in the town of St. Helena, in the heart of California’s Napa Valley wine country. It’s surrounded by vineyards and has a relaxed Californian aesthetic, with high notes of English country house style. Its homey, cozy good looks are to die for, but factor in the beautiful wallcoverings and fabric treatments and we think this truly is one of the world’s best homes

Yet just over a year ago it was quite a different story. It was built in the 1980s and, according to San Francisco-based interior designer Benjamin Dhong, ‘it lacked soul and authenticity’. The designer took on the project and set about transforming the space, room by room. 

Take the tour and discover the perfect blend of California Casual and English country style. 

dining room with textured wallcovering with dark wood table and traditional chairs

(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston)

‘The 1980s-built house had very suburban features,’ says designer Benjamin Dhong. ‘So we tried to minimize it and give it a wine country feel with a bit of English country house charm.’ The homeowner also had a selection of East Coast and English antiques, and the designer worked with her to include those in a refreshed scheme.

The new dining room ideas made use of the owner’s existing dining table and Queen Ann chairs, which were enhanced by layers of texture.  A yellow blockprint fabric has been used as a wallcovering. Seagrass carpet, a rattan draped console, a bamboo side table, and an overscaled lampshade pendant in a cheery yellow blockprint (by Pigott’s Australia) bring a cottage flavor and make the space more relaxing and inviting. ‘Portieres (fabric from Quadrille) at both openings frame and make the space more cozy,’ says Benjamin Dhong. ‘And simple off-white linen drapes at the windows add softness. The existing, rather odd, contemporary soffits were improved by adding a faux bois wallpaper from Nobilis.’ 

yellow living room with textured wallcovering and vaulted ceiling with rattan chairs and white sofa

(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston)

Since the dining room and living room were interconnected through a double doorway, the designer sought to link the spaces with his living room ideas, too. ‘I knew that fabric wallcovering in a cheery mustard yellow print (from Lee Jofa) would both unify and provide an interesting backdrop,’ says Benjamin Dhong. ‘We added layers of seagrass, wicker and bamboo furniture to harmonize with all the brown furniture. A pair of skirted tables with an embroidered sun motif adds more softness. An extra large round butler’s mirror in the living room is both statement, pop of gold and gives a reflection of the pretty garden.’ 

An extra large scalloped coffee table in a parchment finish expands the seating area, and a Louis XVI gives an elegant silhouette. 

living room with floral patterned textured wallcovering and vaulted ceiling with fire lit

(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston)

In the family room, which is open to the kitchen, designer Benjamin Dhong again turned his attention to some very dated brown beams, painting them in a neutral cream paint that gave the whole room a lift. At the heart of his family living room ideas is another luxurious fabric wallcovering. ‘I chose a wonderfully quirky floral print from Bennison Fabrics to use on all the walls,’ says the designer, ‘and a giant round mirror from Carvers’ Guild reflects the garden.’ 

room with floral wallcovering and skirted table

(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston)

Part of designer Benjamin Dhong’s remit was to give careful consideration to how each space might be better used. For this guest room, that meant quite a transformation, in looks and purpose. 


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