ISSUE 40  |  Napa Valley Rustic

Restaurant Visit: Medlock Ames in Sonoma

October 06, 2011 10:30 AM

BY Sarah Lonsdale

Pristinely pruned vines and end-to-end limousines may be a trademark of Napa Valley, but neighboring Sonoma Valley is much more down to earth. So when Christopher Medlock James and Ames Morison of Medlock Ames purchased a century-old, local general store and saloon in the heart of Sonoma’s Alexander Valley, they were intent on preserving the small-town vibe.

To create the desired effect, James and Morison enlisted Wade Design to oversee the architecture, SF designer Will Wick of Wick Design Group to orchestrate the interiors, and New York firm Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects to create the naturalistic plantings. To learn more, see our story posted at Dering Hall, a new website devoted to bespoke furnishings.

Above: Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects created a low-maintenance planting scheme, with flower beds in custom zinc boxes displayed in a grid.

Above: In the interiors, Wick used the one-room schoolhouse as inspiration, relying on a soft color palette with natural earth tones to provide a seamless transition for the indoor-outdoor spaces. Vintage black industrial lights suspended above an oak trestle farm table. The 1950s dining chairs are by Walter Gropius, retrieved from a school library.

Above: The bar features a zinc-coated countertop and a foot rail made of plumbing pipes. Vintage Klondike refrigerators are used to store white wine.

Above: Parisian bistro tables with Bakelite tops provide seating; floor-to-ceiling triple-hung windows (inspired by Jefferson’s Monticello) open to the outdoor terrace.

Above: A copper wood-fired oven is used for making pizzas on Saturdays, with toppings from produce in the garden.

Above: The formerly gritty bar has been given an overhaul without losing its saloon-like feel.

Photographs 2, 3, 4, 6 by Joe Fletcher, photographs 1 and 5 by Marion Brenner.