In 2001 my husband Ken and I, both environmental biologists and professors, bought this fabulous seven acres in the Sebastopol hills that sits high in the foothills above the Santa Rosa Plain. We were taken by the panoramic view of redwood studded hills, mountains and vineyards, as well as the dream of country living. Sunrise Ridge is an historic property sandwiched between the Morning Star Ranch commune of the sixties and the old Fleishman Estate, which is now the 200-acre, Torres (of the Spanish wine family) Winery and Vineyards.
The vision was clear - to build a home and guesthouse on the property so we could relocate our family from Southern California to a rural setting. It turned out to be a five-year journey starting with the collaboration of Christopher Alexander the architect of "A Pattern Language". After the guesthouse was finished we moved in to be close by as the main house was being built. It was a multistep process, lovingly and carefully unfolding to create a house with the quality "without a name". Today eight years later it anchors the property as if it has stood here for hundreds of years.
With the completion of the house we turned to the landscaping. The property was originally the apple orchid for the family that homesteaded this road in the early part of the previous century. Before that it was a redwood forest that was cut down around 1920. Then about 40 years ago most of the apple trees were cut down and not replaced. Decades of rain caused erosion on the steep slopes and took away the topsoil. Over the next five years and the help of permaculture designers Penny Livingston, Eric Olsen and staff at the Occidental Art and Ecology Center we designed a sustainable garden of fruit trees destined for local markets and products. Years of sustainable farming and biodynamic practices have brought back the health of the soil and imbued the land with a grounded peacefulness that we longed. Today the citrus, stone fruit and persimmons flourish! We are starting to sell fruit to the local markets. The lavender is harvested annually and distilled. Its oil and hydrosol carries the terror of this wonderful land.
Today we live the life of our vision overlooking the hills, vineyards, redwoods and mountains that lead to Napa. The gardens are maturing every year and we too are making our mark on this wonderful piece of mother earth.
Lavender Cottage at Sunrise Ridge is the secluded guest house on a seven acres estate which sits high upon an east facing ridge in west Sonoma County. It has sweeping views of vineyards and redwood forests that lead the eye across the Sonoma Plain to the Mayacamas and Sonoma mountains toward Napa. It is a garden sanctuary which uses a sustainable and ecological approach to grow heirloom fruit, berries, lavender and flowers. Beauty, functionally and good stewardship of the land is all part of philosophy of these organic gardens. A pond and patio on the south east part of the property acts as a cool summer oasis to sit and enjoy a glass of wine.
We are centrally located in the coastal hills of Sonoma County, near the hamlet of Occidental, and a mere fifteen minute drive from Bodega Bay and the spectacular Sonoma Coast. The area offers redwood forests, vineyards, wineries and world-class restaurants all in the heart of Somona wine country! The Russian River recreational area and the world renowned Osmosis Spa are also minutes away.