May 15, 2024 | by Kendall Busby

As many of you know, John Jordan loves a construction project. Since 2019, he’s been on a multi-year quest to update and renovate Jordan Winery’s guest spaces including the Library and Cellar Rooms, overnight guest suites, the Lobby and Retail Boutique, Bacchus Courtyard, the Dining Room, outdoor terraces and more. But before the hammer hits the wall, it is imperative to have a vision. Meet: Maria Khouri from Maria Khouri Interiors, the designer that captured John’s attention in 2020 after her transformation of a 1930s Spanish colonial mansion. She quickly began her first Jordan Winery interior design remodel: the guest suites. Before the plaster had dried on the suites’ walls, Khouri began plans for the renovation of Jordan Winery’s Lobby. She is currently completing a refresh of the Jordan Dining Room and bathrooms that will be revealed this summer.

After the Jordan Lobby debut, we caught up with the designer to talk about her background and her thoughts on the Jordan renovations.

What drew you to design early on?

Design came as a stark contrast to my life as a child in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War. Destruction was everywhere. Despite our surroundings, my father always created wonderful homes for my siblings and I to grow up in. He always taught me to find something positive to focus on and gave me the gift of looking on the bright side. So, I learned early on to seek and appreciate beauty where I could in the world around me—in objects, buildings, art and in nature.

Were there any signs as a teenager that you were destined for design?

I was always rearranging the furniture in my bedroom. Instead of taping concert posters on the walls, I ripped pages from any interior design magazine I could get my hands on and pinned those up. Interior designers and furniture makers were my teenage idols.

Where do you look for design inspiration?

Nature is so easy to find inspiration in, especially being in California. I was recently visiting Carmel, and we drove down Highway 1 to Big Sur. The colors of the sea were stunning —deep blues, grays, and some greens that were intense but not too bright. I said to myself that it would be the color palette I’d use in my next project. It really is amazing how inspiring and powerful travel is. Just seeing patterns, colors and textures when exploring a foreign city gives me ideas. I also read a lot. I thumb through design magazines in the morning and at night to see what’s happening in my industry.

What do you like most about being the interior designer for a place like Jordan?

I love the connection to nature that Jordan has. Just being on property changes my mood—the birds, the trees, the chateau. It’s intense how truly transportive the Jordan Estate is. Also, there’s a unique opportunity to be creative at Jordan, thanks to John. He trusts me, and let’s me develop concepts that are both true to the Jordan legacy and aesthetic, as well as a reflection of me as a designer.

What’s your favorite design element in the Jordan Lobby?

It’s impossible to name just one—every space has something so unique! I love the pendant lighting and chandelier by Fisher Weisman, and Alice Riehl’s porcelain sculpture that depicts the Jordan Estate. The hand-painted Gracie wallpaper in the women’s restroom is also incredible. The details on the reception desk—the marble we chose, the molding detail on the desk—all of it is astounding. Every room, every space in the lobby has a story to tell. That’s why I can’t choose just one.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while working on the Jordan remodel?

Respecting the Jordan tradition and understanding the essence of the Jordan brand. Making sure that I honored the past and the history of Jordan while simultaneously bringing the new design into the now—that was very hard in the beginning. The suites’ remodel was also stressful because of the timeline and pandemic. Suppliers were struggling with social distancing requirements; we couldn’t travel to French antique stores and had to purchase everything via FaceTime or Zoom. The lobby remodel went smoothly, in comparison. We were able to plan this project in such a way that we did not have to rush through the process.

Any top design tips that you can share?

Don’t rush. Seek inspiration. One of the most fundamental mistakes is not getting the scale right. Make sure your proportions are accurate. Don’t overcrowd or under furnish a space. Think about functionality first. A great design with a bad function is a bad design. Also, details are everything—the fabric, the edges, the selection of the marble, which molding, the sheen of the paint. Nothing should be overlooked during all stages and aspects of the project.

What’s the one thing you hope guests take away when they visit the Jordan Chateau?

Besides a bottle of wine? I hope that they’ve been transported, that they feel as if they’ve traveled to the French countryside for a beautiful afternoon.

Learn more about Maria Khouri at or follow her on Instagram @mariakinteriors.