This California wine country home will surprise and delight you with its English country house style

Textured wallcoverings and floral notes restored the sparkle in this Napa Valley home, adding English country house style

yellow living room with textured wallcovering and vaulted ceiling, white sofas and rattan chairs
(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston)

This charming home is in the town of St. Helena, in the heart of California's Napa Valley wine country. It's surrounded by vineyards and has a relaxed Californian aesthetic, with high notes of English country house style. Its homey, cozy good looks are to die for, but factor in the beautiful wallcoverings and fabric treatments and we think this truly is one of the world's best homes

Yet just over a year ago it was quite a different story. It was built in the 1980s and, according to San Francisco-based interior designer Benjamin Dhong, 'it lacked soul and authenticity'. The designer took on the project and set about transforming the space, room by room. 

Take the tour and discover the perfect blend of California Casual and English country style. 

dining room with textured wallcovering with dark wood table and traditional chairs

(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston)

'The 1980s-built house had very suburban features,' says designer Benjamin Dhong. 'So we tried to minimize it and give it a wine country feel with a bit of English country house charm.' The homeowner also had a selection of East Coast and English antiques, and the designer worked with her to include those in a refreshed scheme.

The new dining room ideas made use of the owner's existing dining table and Queen Ann chairs, which were enhanced by layers of texture.  A yellow blockprint fabric has been used as a wallcovering. Seagrass carpet, a rattan draped console, a bamboo side table, and an overscaled lampshade pendant in a cheery yellow blockprint (by Pigott's Australia) bring a cottage flavor and make the space more relaxing and inviting. 'Portieres (fabric from Quadrille) at both openings frame and make the space more cozy,' says Benjamin Dhong. 'And simple off-white linen drapes at the windows add softness. The existing, rather odd, contemporary soffits were improved by adding a faux bois wallpaper from Nobilis.' 

yellow living room with textured wallcovering and vaulted ceiling with rattan chairs and white sofa

(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston)

Since the dining room and living room were interconnected through a double doorway, the designer sought to link the spaces with his living room ideas, too. 'I knew that fabric wallcovering in a cheery mustard yellow print (from Lee Jofa) would both unify and provide an interesting backdrop,' says Benjamin Dhong. 'We added layers of seagrass, wicker and bamboo furniture to harmonize with all the brown furniture. A pair of skirted tables with an embroidered sun motif adds more softness. An extra large round butler's mirror in the living room is both statement, pop of gold and gives a reflection of the pretty garden.' 

An extra large scalloped coffee table in a parchment finish expands the seating area, and a Louis XVI gives an elegant silhouette. 

living room with floral patterned textured wallcovering and vaulted ceiling with fire lit

(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston)

In the family room, which is open to the kitchen, designer Benjamin Dhong again turned his attention to some very dated brown beams, painting them in a neutral cream paint that gave the whole room a lift. At the heart of his family living room ideas is another luxurious fabric wallcovering. 'I chose a wonderfully quirky floral print from Bennison Fabrics to use on all the walls,' says the designer, 'and a giant round mirror from Carvers' Guild reflects the garden.' 

room with floral wallcovering and skirted table

(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston)

Part of designer Benjamin Dhong's remit was to give careful consideration to how each space might be better used. For this guest room, that meant quite a transformation, in looks and purpose. 

'We decided to make this a garden room,' says the designer. 'Another Lee Jofa floral fabric was chosen for the walls, a sophisticated design, rather than too sweet. A French daybed was placed in front of the window and a skirted center table (fabric by Brunschwig et Fils) provided coziness for the daybed, and visual interest and allowed it to be the hub for a variety of furniture. The Bliss Studio tub chair is comfortable enough to lounge in, while its spoked top keeps it from being too visually blocky. I hate plain white ceilings so faux bois wallpaper was added.' 

A faux bois demilune from Currey & Company is another nod to the garden room ideas and an extra large plaster quatrefoil mirror provides a graphic element. The simple seagrass floorcovering adds further texture to the space. 

bedroom with textured wallcovering and skirted table and paneled wall

(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston)

Anyone looking for bedroom ideas could take inspiration from this charming primary bedroom scheme, with its paneled walls and grass cloth (from Phillip Jeffries) on the ceiling. 'The texture brings in coziness,' explains designer Benjamin Dhong. 'It's like wearing a light cashmere sweater.' 

The designer felt the center of the room was too awkward for seating, so a skirted table in a central Asian pattern (from Lee Jofa) with a pair of Serena & Lily wicker chairs was used instead. 'Their skirts anchor the pieces,' adds the designer. 'The low bookcase was brought in to manage and display her objets, while a pair of cement pots bring a garden element. Natural woven Roman blinds shield from the bright Napa sun, and a cheery block print cotton fabric from Pigott's Australia adds a pop of yellow. The brass porthole mirror adds interest to a bland flat door.'

mud room with yellow lacquered walls and hats and bags and bench seat

(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston)

It's hard to believe that this upbeat mudroom had no natural light and was, according to designer Benjamin Dhong, 'terribly bland and pedestrian'. 

Gleaming electric yellow paint for walls and millwork, a bench seat with a country check cushion, and artwork hung at bench height are the three mudroom ideas we love in this beautiful space.

The house as a whole is a testament to the successful collaboration between the designer and his client, who is a serious gardener and beekeeper. 'I love it when a client has a point of view and fine heirlooms. This helps to create a more personal story,' the designer adds.

Interior design: Benjamin Dhong
Photography: David Duncan Livingston

Karen Darlow

Karen is the houses editor for and homes editor for the brand’s sister titles, Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors, and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. She loves visiting historic houses for Period Living and writing about rural properties for Country Homes & Interiors, and working with photographers to capture all shapes and sizes of properties. Karen began her career as a sub editor at Hi-Fi News and Record Review magazine. Her move to women’s magazines came soon after, in the shape of Living magazine, which covered cookery, fashion, beauty, homes and gardening. From Living Karen moved to Ideal Home magazine, where as deputy chief sub, then chief sub, she started to really take an interest in properties, architecture, interior design and gardening.