April 6, 2019 | by Lisa Mattson
We’re thrilled to announce the completion of the redesigned Jordan Winery dining room in Healdsburg by Geoffrey De Sousa of San Francisco, one of the top interior design firms on the West Coast. This is De Sousa’s first project for a winery, and the Jordan dining room’s first remodel in more than 20 years.
Geoffrey De Sousa is known around the world for creating interiors that are cosmopolitan and warmly modern. With the Jordan Winery dining room and its adjoining areas, De Sousa and his staff reimagined the 18th century-French design, retaining its best architectural features while introducing new design elements. He and his staff worked closely with John Jordan and Todd and Nitsa Knoll, the husband-wife team behind Jordan’s culinary hospitality program, to reimagine the space, which is central to both Jordan’s winemaking philosophy of making elegant, food-friendly wines and to the chef’s culinary philosophy of bringing a snapshot of the surrounding countryside to the plate.
“I’d always loved the dining room, with the French neoclassical lines and antiques, but I wanted the space to show reverence to nature and the habitats across our estate that inspire my cooking,” said Todd Knoll, executive chef at Jordan Winery. “Our vision for the dining room remodel was to refresh the room in a way that pays respect to our French inspiration while honoring the land and conveying an appreciation of timeless beauty and craftsmanship. The new design has brought drama, elegance and mystery to the space.”
Situated in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, Jordan is a 1,200-acre estate with more than 80 percent of the property preserved as natural habitat. Large swaths of Jordan Estate remain as they did when the native Pomo and Wappo tribes hunted and gathered in the region—groves of towering oak trees are draped in lichen, time-sculpted rocks are wrapped in velvety-green moss and prized mushrooms poke through the underbrush of the woods. In the thick morning fog, these quiet corners of Sonoma County are mysterious and ethereal to Chef Knoll, who often finds himself lost in the primal wonder of nature while foraging for Jordan menus. He worked with De Sousa to capture all of these elements and emotions in the dining room design.
“We always enjoy working with spaces that have strong architectural features and a story to tell,” Geoffrey De Sousa, proprietor of Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design and De Sousa Hughes. “The Jordan dining room is now not only an homage to old-world France, it’s also a portrait of the surrounding estate and the chef’s philosophy.”
The before and after transformation is quite striking. Look at the above of the dining room two years ago before Valentine’s Dinner at Jordan and in again February 2019, the latter of which was taken by photographer Kim Carroll from the same angle.
The original interior design of Jordan Winery’s dining room and guest suites, led by John Jordan’s mother in the 1970s, featured antiques and other elements that celebrated 18th-century French design. A minor remodel in the mid-1990s continued in this style. Today, buttercup yellow walls with sherbet green fabric in framed molding are now a deep gray with an elegant wallpaper pattern that brings the outdoors in. Mahogany brown chairs were disassembled and completely reimagined with embroidery that celebrates nature; all woodwork has been painted and lighting was replaced. Bathrooms were also updated. French toile fabric partitions that kept guests from viewing the kitchen’s prep area have been replaced with a new butler’s pantry. The butler’s pantry features French doors that open to a covered alcove, giving guests the opportunity to see Jordan’s culinary staff in action during outdoor events, such as Picnic Days at Jordan, Bastille Day Brunch and Bounty of Sonoma County Dinner.
The wallpaper installation was extremely intricate. Master craftswoman Heidi Wright Mead of A Paper Hanger said it was the most challenging project of her career–more difficult than the paper hanging at McDonald Mansion in Santa Rosa, Calif., during its historic renovation. She and her staff formed the wallpaper over the moldings from the crown to the base board to accentuate the original character of the room. This included intricate work around the oculuses located above and below the windows (check out her Instagram video). According to Heidi, she’s never seen a wallpaper installation with this much meticulous hand-labor; every wall in the room had some sort of molding from floor to ceiling. We captured a portion of her work through time-lapse video.
Design features include:
- Restoration of Jordan’s existing high-back chairs, including intricate chair embroidery by a renowned, haute-couture artist based in London, who studied with Alexander McQueen, and has worked for some of the world’s most renowned fashion houses, including Tom Ford, Versace, Givenchy and Fendi. Each embroidery pattern is distinct and inspired by the vibrant, moss-carpeted rocks and lichen found across Jordan Estate.
- Addition of an elegant wallpaper design called Midsummer Night from Wall&deco, created by graphic designer Lorenzo De Grandis of Milan, Italy. The forest-like pattern is both mysterious and elegant like the woodlands of Jordan. The exciting installation was led by an expert wallpaper hanger, who specializes in applications for historic buildings and projects with intricate details.
- All new lighting selected by San-Francisco based designer Jonathan Browning Studios, pulling inspiration from French Beaux Arts classicism—an homage to Jordan Winery’s original inspiration.
- A refresh of the room’s grand fireplace by Sonoma County metalsmith Randell Tuell of Tuell + Reynolds, who created a bronze surround, hearth trim and tools to give the fireplace a modern touch.
- Accent walls and woodwork painted with Benjamin Moore French Beret, a cross between dark gray and navy that conveys timeless elegance.
- Floor-to-ceiling drapes in gold leaf (reminiscent of the golden hills visible across Jordan Estate each summer) and navy cotton velvet tablecloths with flax-hued linen toppers fabricated by Susan Lind Chastain, Inc.
- Wall art featuring Chef Knoll’s photographs of estate tree bark, moss-covered stones and wild mushrooms.
- Addition of a “Piethian Apollo,” a playful statue by New York artist Stephen Antonson from his pie-faced bust series, which aligns with Jordan’s reputation for its fun culture and humorous music videos.
- Custom vases by wine country’s leading ceramic artists, Nikki and Will Callnan of NBC Pottery, were created for the space. NBC also harvested clay from Jordan’s garden to create “estate garden plates” that will be used to showcase food pairings in the dining room and on Jordan’s Estate Tour & Tasting.
- Hexagon terracotta floor tiles found throughout the hospitality wing of Jordan Winery’s iconic chateau—sourced from Provence and installed in the late 1970s—were stripped, stained and sealed by hand in a warm gray tone, adding to the overall ambiance of the newly reimagined dining room.
Guests can experience the new dining room at Jordan’s next seven-course, prix fixe dinner party event, Spring Dinner with the Winemakers, on May 4. Tickets are $295 per person and go on sale on April 2. Members of Jordan Winery’s loyalty program, Jordan Estate Rewards, can also book private food-and-wine-pairing experiences in the dining room with Jordan Private Tables. Once members spend $500 at Jordan, they gain Silver status and access to booking the dining room.
What do you think of the new Jordan Winery dining room?
Gorgeous photographs by internationally renowned interior design photographer, Jose Manuel Alorda, are featured in the below gallery.