CALIFORNIA MONTEREY FURNITURE
MADE BY THE MASON MANUFACTURING Company from 1930 to the mid-1940s, California Monterey furniture’s popularity flamed out by the middle of the 20th century, as the zenith for sleeker forms took root—but the romance and intrigue of the region’s pioneer history never has. As a nod to The Alisal’s cowboy origins, and to the Mission buildings that dot the surrounding hills of Santa Barbara County, Turner worked with a second-generation California furniture maker to design custom case goods and built-in cabinetry inspired by original California Monterey pieces. Here, four hallmarks of this signature Golden State style.
❶ DISTRESSED ALDER WOOD CONSTRUCTION: This hardwood is soft enough to take an antique finish easily, which Turner created with a drum sander. Alder also absorbs stain well, allowing for an even coloration.
❷ CHALKY BROWN
FINISH: Original Monterey pieces feature an “old wood” stain that was rubbed with rotten stone for a “dusty” finish. For a more permanent means of achieving the same effect, Turner applied a custom glaze that re-creates the chalky look.
❸ WROUGHT IRON
HARDWARE: The hinges, drawer pulls, and strapping details like those seen on this “keyhole” bed are made by hand over a hammer forge and anvil and evoke details found in Spanish colonial architecture.
❹ “RIVER OF LIFE”
CURVES: Original Monterey pieces featured elements from ranch life, including a horseshoe brand (and the name Monterey). Turner incorporated a popular 1930s motif, the “river of life” curve, into the shape of the headboards, footboards, and bedside tables.
The Alisal’s illusory slowing of time, produced in part by the absence of televisions and reliable cell service, paves the way for real rest, recreation, and reconnection with family and friends—something Turner sought to further facilitate with his redesign. In the cottage’s living room, once a cavernous area that lacked an inviting focal point, he created distinct gathering spaces centered on a newly clad stone fireplace. Thanks to its comforting heft and the rest of the room’s beefed-up cozy textures, it’s impossible not to linger a little longer over vintage board games Turner stocked on the shelves or a borrowed book from The Alisal’s library. No longer just a guest room on the ranch, the Turner House feels like a true home away from home for the next wave of The Alisal families. “They’ll just have to find a way to add to the story,” says Turner.
AUTHENTIC REPRODUCTIONS Complete with ornately detailed feet in an oil-rubbed bronze finish, the double-slipper, cast-iron tub from Signature Hardware is a nod to the ranch’s 19th-century origins. To re-create the look of old-world terra-cotta, Turner used unglazed tile in earthy reds from California-based Daltile.
The Alisal offers lessons and trail rides for all levels of riders.
CALIFORNIA COLLECTIBLES For a “decorated over time” look, Turner accessorized the guest cottage with old gold rush maps, antique arrowheads, and vintage Native American tapestries. “You can get a sense of the history by what hangs on the walls,” he says.