THE MORE, THE MER­RIER

BADMINTON. SLEEP­ING CAB­INS. WINE. DEB­O­RAH BOW­MAN AND ROBERT RICCARDI’S CAL­I­FOR­NIA HOME HAS BE­COME A STYLISH, LAID-BACK RE­TREAT FOR FRIENDS AND FAM­ILY— A KIND OF SUM­MER CAMP FOR GROWN-UPS.

Better Homes & Gardens - - Contents -

Sum­mer camp for grown-ups? This home is de­signed for fun.

These days, when Deb­o­rah Bow­man an­tic­i­pates a bevy of week­end guests at her house out­side of Cal­is­toga, CA, she’s cool­headed and re­laxed. That wasn’t al­ways the case. She and her hus­band, Robert Riccardi, used to spend days shop­ping for and prep­ping food. “Af­ter years of try­ing to do ev­ery­thing, we’ve come to re­al­ize that we don’t need to put so much pres­sure on our­selves,” Deb­o­rah says. “It’s more re­lax­ing and fun to let guests help with, or even take over, an en­tire meal. And they’re happy to do it!”

That laid-back ap­proach car­ries over into all as­pects of week­ends at their home, which has the feel of an adult sum­mer camp. There are bikes for get­ting to nearby vine­yards, ham­mocks for nap­ping, and badminton rack­ets for af­ter­noon matches. In the evening, Robert, an ad­ver­tis­ing ex­ec­u­tive, screens clas­sic movies in the liv­ing room or mixes drinks in a for­mer trac­tor shed they’ve trans­formed into a bar and pool room.

When the evening winds down, two out­ly­ing cab­ins be­come prized sleep­ing spots. They lack heat and hot wa­ter, but their sim­plic­ity is part of the ap­peal. “They are quiet ex­cept for the crick­ets and frogs, dark but for the stars,” Deb­o­rah says. “Best of all, they have no cell re­cep­tion.”

It’s the 1,855square-foot house that is the hub, how­ever.

The cou­ple ren­o­vated the place five years ago with en­ter­tain­ing in mind, open­ing it up to the out­doors and dec­o­rat­ing with durable fab­rics, for­giv­ing sur­faces, and a core of mid­cen­tury mod­ern fur­nish­ings rich in patina. Deb­o­rah—a graphic de­signer who pre­vi­ously worked in a San Fran­cisco auc­tion house—is a savvy an­tiques hunter, drawn to clean lines as well as signs of age. “Noth­ing here is pre­cious. Dogs on so­fas, kids drip­ping ice cream. Those things don’t faze me,” she says. “They’re just signs of life.”

Por­tions of Deb­o­rah and Robert’s prop­erty were dam­aged in the Tubbs wild­fire. They are in the process of re­build­ing.

Ad­justable fur­ni­turecon­verts for larger gath­er­ings.In the din­ing room, above, the ta­ble (in­spired by a mid­cen­tury de­sign)ex­tends to fit up to 14. The pa­tio,right, is usu­ally set up for loung­ing,but hinged legs on the cus­tom-madecof­fee ta­ble el­e­vate it to din­ing height for out­door en­ter­tain­ing. The sofa and arm­chairsare just pushed back and re­placed witha pair of benches.

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