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East Meets West: Inside Range Life in California

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East Meets West: Inside Range Life in California

November 27, 2018

Should you find yourself in the small Northern California wine town of Livermore, stop into newly opened Range Life, a restaurant and cocktail bar in a historic brick carriage house. The project is a collaboration between a couple from New York (Lauren Heanes-Longwell, a commercial set designer, and Waine Longwell, a mixologist from Brooklyn’s craft cocktail scene) and a couple from San Francisco (Bill Niles, the former chef at Tartine Manufactory, and sommelier Sarah Niles).

Lauren, a Livermore native, remembered the 1800s brick building from her childhood. “It used to service the railroad going up to the Sierra and was sited next to a general store,” she says. “It was originally a carriage house, but when we began renovations it was a gift and smoke shop.” Together, the foursome transformed the old building into a neighborhood gathering place, with interiors that take design cues from a point between their two coasts: Marfa, Texas. Join us for a look.

Photography by Nicole Franzen, except where noted, courtesy of Range Life.

East Meets West Inside Range Life in California The historic building at \2\160 Railroad Avenue was built in \1875 with bricks made in the backyard, Heanes Longwell says.
Above: The historic building at 2160 Railroad Avenue was built in 1875 with bricks made in the backyard, Heanes-Longwell says.

The Longwells—Waine and Lauren—worked together on the interior, under their firm name L.A. Heanes Design. Their vision? To take cues from Marfa, Texas, with its modern-meets-rustic style, to welcome Livermore’s “cowboys and wine-makers, scientists and engineers.”

The couple tore out the interior and started from scratch, with Waine considering the practical flow of the restaurant and Lauren applying her set design background. “Those gorgeous half-round windows in the front were broken and covered with purple stucco,” Lauren says. To preserve the building’s architecture—and light—they replaced the windows and added new Douglas fir trim and doors.

East Meets West Inside Range Life in California Now the Niles helm the food (Bill) and the wine (Sarah), and the Longwells run the bar (Waine) and the creative operations (Lauren). As a nod to Texas, the restaurant is filled with cacti from Sacramento shop Public Land. Photograph by Lauren Heanes Longwell.
Above: Now the Niles helm the food (Bill) and the wine (Sarah), and the Longwells run the bar (Waine) and the creative operations (Lauren). As a nod to Texas, the restaurant is filled with cacti from Sacramento shop Public Land. Photograph by Lauren Heanes-Longwell.
East Meets West Inside Range Life in California Along one wall of the dining room is another Marfa inspiration: a Donald Judd inspired banquette, made by Colin Wolberg, a friend and woodworker from New York.
Above: Along one wall of the dining room is another Marfa inspiration: a Donald Judd-inspired banquette, made by Colin Wolberg, a friend and woodworker from New York.

Above L: The Judd-style bench is made of alder. Above R: A simple place setting. Photograph by Lauren Heanes-Longwell.

East Meets West Inside Range Life in California The couple preserved the building&#8\2\17;s original handmade bricks, painted white.
Above: The couple preserved the building’s original handmade bricks, painted white.
East Meets West Inside Range Life in California Recycled wine bottles serve as water pitchers.
Above: Recycled wine bottles serve as water pitchers.
East Meets West Inside Range Life in California On the opposite wall is a dramatic bar. Behind it is an arch tiled in Heath Ceramics&#8\2\17; Meadow Green tiles; the bar itself is made of concrete surfaced with Vanilla Bean tile, also by Heath Ceramics. The half circle designs are a reference to Sun Tunnels, an environmental art installation in Utah, and to the Livermore landscape.
Above: On the opposite wall is a dramatic bar. Behind it is an arch tiled in Heath Ceramics’ Meadow Green tiles; the bar itself is made of concrete surfaced with Vanilla Bean tile, also by Heath Ceramics. The half-circle designs are a reference to Sun Tunnels, an environmental art installation in Utah, and to the Livermore landscape.
East Meets West Inside Range Life in California Wolberg, the woodworker, also made the bar top, as well as the clean lined shelving in the small market area.
Above: Wolberg, the woodworker, also made the bar top, as well as the clean-lined shelving in the small market area.
East Meets West Inside Range Life in California The market, tucked into the front of the restaurant, stocks housemade preserves, hot sauce, and other local provisions. Note the oversized rattan pendant.
Above: The market, tucked into the front of the restaurant, stocks housemade preserves, hot sauce, and other local provisions. Note the oversized rattan pendant.
East Meets West Inside Range Life in California The restaurant&#8\2\17;s back patio was designed by California firm Terremoto around a \100 year old pink peppercorn tree. It&#8\2\17;s framed by low, board and batten cedar fences; the tables were made by local woodworker Travis Cutright.
Above: The restaurant’s back patio was designed by California firm Terremoto around a 100-year-old pink peppercorn tree. It’s framed by low, board-and-batten cedar fences; the tables were made by local woodworker Travis Cutright.

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