Italian Style Farmhouse Designed To Look Old (Cont'd)

This house and its beautiful landscape was constructed from scratch.  Not one tree stood on the site. 

With its old, plush-looking landscape however,  it has a naturally-established look, as if seeds have scattered with the winds across the grounds.

What now has the appearance of an Italian Style farmhouse or old Tuscany estate was carefully constructed by a team of professionals led by Saint Dizier Design with attention to detail: 

  • creation of elegant rusticity, “a balance between dress-up and relaxed, a hodgepodge very carefully orchestrated,” according to Jacques Saint Dizier, of Saint Dizier Design
  • use of fieldstone that might have been dug from local earth 
  • capture vineyard panoramas, he raised the residence three feet to allow for stone terracing. "I’ve always felt that terracing merges architecture with the landscape,” he remarks, “so that you’re not sure where the stone walls become house.”
  • anchor the house with an array of gnarled trees with languorous branches as thought they've survived a hundred summers, reports landscape architect Frederika Moller
  • surround the property with masses of Teucrium and other herbs, confirming the house’s wine-country setting 
  • construct a bocce court (a long-time Italian pastime activity)
  • reinforce viewing areas of the 200 acres of grapes
  • The landscape has many moods, the result of the grand skills of landscape architect Frederika Moller.
  • To the rear, a series of outdoor rooms are formally defined by the rectilinear pool, pergola and bocce court.
  • Mediterranean plantings spill, climb and drape, blurring distinctions between the natural and the cultivated. A rose garden and a vegetable garden are enclosed by laurel hedges, bisected à la France by rose-lined pathways.

The High back woven chairs shown left are from Ralph Lauren Home, and it so happens that Saint Dizier Home Shop carries one of the largest collections of Ralph Lauren in the San Francisco area.

The pergola, pool and bocce court make for a perfect outdoor entertaining retreat.

And of course, this is a fine example of a Bocce court, an Italian ball sport, but played around Europe and also in overseas areas that have received Italian migrants.

Bonus Recipe:  For Outdoor Entertaining With An Italian Flair, "Brunschetta With Swiss Chard Pecorino

Outdoor entertaining Bruschetta, delicious grilled slices of crusty Italian bread topped with a myriad of toppings that can be prepared quickly and is often served as an antipasto.  This version is one of my favorites, you can use any green leafy vegetable such as Tuscan black cabbage, kale or spinach in place of the swiss chard as shown in the photo. The addition of buttery, toasted pine nuts or crispy pancetta bits to the topping would offer options to vary this dish nicely.

Bruschetta With Swiss Chard & Pecorino Cheese

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Bruschetta, delicious grilled slices of crusty Italian bread topped with a myriad of toppings that can be prepared quickly and is often served as an antipasto.


4 Slices Crusty Italian Bread (Ciabatta Works Well)
1 Garlic Clove Peeled
1 Large Bunch Of Swiss Chard
2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled And Minced
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Minced Sun-Dried Tomatoes (I Prefer Oil Packed)
Salt & Pepper To Taste
Dash Of Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 Cup Shaved Pecorino Cheese


Wash the swiss chard and dry it well, chop the leaves coarsely, and finely chop the stems.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat, and then add the minced garlic and cook just until fragrant.
Add the swiss chard and cook until it is wilted and soft.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes, and then season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Mix well, and then set aside.
Either grill the bread slices, or place under the broiler, lightly browning each side.
Place the peeled garlic clove on the tines of a fork and scrape it across each slice of toasted bread.
Divide the swiss chard mixture between the four slices of bread, and then top each with some of the shaved pecorino cheese.

From "Italian Food Forever," Buon Appetito! Deborah Mele

(Architectural Digest Photos, Architecture by c, AIA, and Karen Jensen Roberts, AIA/Interior Design by Jacques Saint Dizier, ASID and Richard Westbrook of Saint Dizier Design/Landscape Architecture by Frederika Moller Text by Patricia Leigh Brown/Photography by Mary E. Nichols Published June 2009 )

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