Unable to resist the charms of the Lowcountry, the mondavi family infuses their vacation home with wine-country Finesse.
When it came time to build their second home, Napa Valley power couple Robert Mondavi, Jr., and his wife, Lydia, members of California’s acclaimed winemaking Mondavi family, set their sights on Beaufort, South Carolina. Lydia, an Atlanta native and founder of 29 Cosmetics, was ready to reconnect with her coastal Carolina roots. “My great-great-great-grandfather guarded the waters along Beaufort, and my paternal grandfather, who served as a Marine in World War II, was trained at Parris Island—the very island we overlook off our deep-water dock now,” she explains.
It’s a history and lifestyle that Lydia was eager to share with her young son, Robert Mondavi, III. “Rob and I wanted him to really experience the culture of the South,” she says. “Everything from fireflies and thunderstorms, to running on the beach and digging for clams or catching shrimp. These are things you can’t experience in Napa Valley.”
The couple enlisted the help of Caroline Reu Rolader, principal of Atlanta-based Reu Architects, and interior designer Anita Wilbanks, Lydia’s mother, to design a home that would blend the casual elegance of California’s wine country with the charms of Lowcountry living. The result is a soothing color palette from Benjamin Moore that mimics the colors of wet sand, Spanish moss and the waters of the Atlantic—all set against a breezy backdrop that includes graceful wood features that weave a sense of history into the space. The wooden ceiling beams and sliding barn door in the great room are crafted from California Redwood tanks, which are treasured Mondavi family heirlooms that date back to the 1940s.
Additionally, the couple partnered with Authentic Reclaimed Flooring in Locust Grove, Georgia, to create the Mondavi Home Collection of flooring that can be seen in every room of the home. The silver-gray heart pine floors are created using reclaimed wood from the Old Crow Bourbon distillery in Kentucky.
Also on display from the couple’s innovative new collection is the Reserve Barrel line. Produced from decommissioned wine casks personally selected by Robert at each harvest’s end, this line mills barrel heads—once destined for yard mulch—into a monochromatic compilation of golden oaks and ruby reds that can be used in a variety of creative applications, from flooring to table tops.
The Mondavis decided to use it as a backsplash for a wet bar, imparting their own piece of history into the home. This reuse-and-recycle ethos will be seen in a new addition to the Mondavi Home Collection this fall: candles displayed in repurposed wine bottles. New lighting crafted from old barrels will also be introduced in the near future.
Also top of mind when designing their vacation home was the couple’s love of entertaining. “Through the wine industry, and even beauty and spa, Rob and I entertain a lot, so we wanted to design a house where guests truly experience our lifestyle,” says Lydia. To that end, the home’s beach-view screened porch, featuring its own sitting room and dining table, effectively doubles the entertaining space of the adjoining great room.
Meanwhile, overnight guests are treated to a private carriage house complete with its own porch and a butler’s pantry stocked with fine cheeses and charcuterie. The space even boasts one of the four state-of-the-art Thermador wine preservation columns throughout the property. But, as in any vintner’s home, the kitchen serves as the entertaining hub. Here, the specially designed hood, dropping only 20 inches from the ceiling, keeps the space open and conducive to conversation enjoyed while preparing meals over a glass of fine wine.
“We worked with Caroline to make very thoughtful design decisions,” says Lydia. “And above everything, it was important that the home—just like all our endeavors—be approachable and comfortable. It’s how we live.”