A trend I am seeing throughout the country is that builders are stepping up their game relating to elevations. Why?
A Dream Fulfilled
Once upon a time there were three partners who shared a vision—to build a castle-style home that was as true to its 15th century Renaissance heritage as possible - the dream had come true
|Because the site could be seen from the highway and city, Pleasanton planning officials were at first concerned about the unusual, castle-like exterior of the home proposed by Epiphany Creators. But in the end, the city became the company’s biggest advocate and used their work as an example of how to do construction well.
Once upon a time there were three partners who shared a vision - to build a castle-style home that was as true to its 15th century Renaissance heritage as possible, yet would also provide all the comfort, amenities and practical living space that a 21st luxury home buyer could want.
While this story isn’t a fairy tale, it does have a similar happy ending - an 8110-square-foot tour de force that sits majestically on a knoll east of San Francisco Bay. The success of the project relied upon the combined business, design and artistic talents of Epiphany Creators’ partners. Donna Pedersen, Kathey Ross and Kelly Cazzaniga, through hard work and their ability to assemble a team of true artisans to assist them, were able to build the home they’d dreamed of.
In the end, it was their unswerving dedication to the project, countless hours spent researching the history of the style and their patience in assembling a team of highly talented artisans from every field associated with residential construction that brought this spectacular home to life.
|This 8110-square-foot home, styled after a 15th century Renaissance castle, features what architect Joseph Gorney calls a three-quarter view, meaning it is oriented to capture the views offered by its location rather than to face the street. "It almost appears to be looking off into the distance," he says. The home’s exterior is complemented by its formal gardens, which feature animal, spiral, ball and cone topiaries. Landscape design was by Tom Pena.
For now, the two-story home in Pleasanton, Calif., serves as the offices of the design/development firm, providing testimonial to their creative abilities. Pedersen says that she selected the Renaissance style for Epiphany’s most recent project because of the opportunities presented by this architectural style. "I’ve always loved this look. The materials and finishes of this period fascinate me," she says, adding that the style also provided the ideal forum for showcasing the work of the entire construction team they’d assembled.
The home’s unique features are plentiful, including a limestone exterior, hand-carved interior niches that depict three-dimensional Renaissance scenes, custom-made gothic windows, groin vaulted hallways, hand-painted ceilings, stone fireplaces - even a wine cellar with carved cylinders to hold each individual bottle.
"In order to create a truly successful residential design, someone, be it the owner, architect or interior designer must keep a strong focus on the orientation of the project, no matter what the style," says architect Joseph Gorney, who designed the home. "Somebody has to hold the vision. In this case, Epiphany really drove the style. Their constant involvement was a major factor in its success."
|The central location of the home’s staircase is as functional as it is striking. Positioned to create a receiving area for guests in the foyer, the opposite wall creates a clever niche for the media center in the great room. One of the home’s two lath and plaster ceiling domes, hand-painted by Kelly Cazzaniga, accents the main stairwell.
Gorney took a more practical approach when translating Pedersen’s "old world" desires into a modern-day residence. "When we design a home, we first concentrate on its view orientation and how it relates to its site," he says, "Inside, we carefully consider how the rooms will flow together and how the different spaces are intended to be used. This home was designed with a dramatic interior that focuses on entertaining."
The floor plan suits an empty-nester couple downsizing from a four, five or six-bedroom, family-oriented home to one that puts more emphasis on accommodating guests, according to Gorney.
The main floor features a traditional layout with a grand central foyer. The formal staircase is designed to divide up the massive central entry and great room space, creating a spot to greet guests without revealing the rest of the home’s interior. A second, informal staircase is located off the service entry to the home.
|A pair of hand-carved stone niches stand sentinel on either side of the leaded glass, solid mahogany French doors that serve as the main entry to the home. Each 16-foot niche depicts a different Renaissance scene.
In addition to formal entertaining space, the main floor also has a game room, two-story library and spacious home office.
A wonderful enclosed pavilion is encircled by a series of French doors. This space includes an outdoor kitchen with a fountain focal point. "This is a really great space," says Gorney. "By opening all the glass doors, you can bring the outdoors inside."
The upper floor is set up as a series of adult-oriented guest suites, each with its own full bath. The second floor also includes the luxurious master suite, says Gorney. "Both floors really need to have a function. It is important to strike a balance between upstairs and downstairs programming, otherwise what is the point of a two-story house?"
|"We really strived to do something unique in every room," says Pedersen. The game room (top) features 12-foot gothic-style windows and solid cherry finishes.
The home’s 1.28-acre site was the last to be developed in Golden Eagle Estates, an exclusive neighborhood that features 85 luxury homes. Aware of the importance of establishing a good rapport with the neighbors, Epiphany insisted on maintaining the cleanest construction site at all times. "We were so picky that we were teased if there was even a single candy wrapper laying around," joked Ross.
Developer/Designer: Donna Pedersen, Kathey Ross, Kelly Cazzaniga, Epiphany Creators, Pleasanton, Calif.
Builder: Kenneth Faggiano, Faggiano Construction, Pleasanton, Calif.
Architect: Joseph Gorney, Gorney & Garcia, Danville, Calif.
Land Planner: Eric Kishi, City of Pleasanton, Calif.
Landscape Design: Tom Pena, Pena Landscape Construction, Danville, Calif.
Major Products Used:
Renaissance Stone Finishes: Chateau Cool Stone, Pleasanton, Calif.
Appliances: Viking, G.E.
Carpeting/Flooring: Camelot Mills, Walker Zanger, Ann Sacks Tile
Exterior/Interior Doors: Beveled Glass Works
Paint: Ralph Lauren
Plumbing Fixtures: Kohler, Grohe
Cabinets: Custom - Joshua Barrett Cabinetry
Door Hardware: Period Brass.
A Talented Guild