First-time visitors to Italy and southern France are invariably enchanted by the architecture, especially the solid, shuttered stone houses that provide a refuge from the heat of the sun.
It's an architectural style that has long proved ideal for the Mediterranean climate. It is also well suited to many parts of the world, including the Sonoma Valley wine region where this house is located.
The house was conceived and built by Jon Reiter of Jon Reiter Fine Homes. A frequent business traveller to Europe, Reiter is passionate about the architecture and traditional craftsmanship embodied by the centuries-old villas.
It was this passion that inspired the design and construction of Montevigna, as this house is known. Reiter says the desire for authenticity even influenced the choice of building site.
"This wooded, 2.5-ha parcel of land was once a quarry and comprises lots of pits and mounds," he says. "But this was also why it was perfectly suited. Just as European home-owners would choose a site with plenty of natural building materials, so we chose this site for the stone we could use in construction. We could also build the house on a knoll to maximise the views."
Reiter says that as well as using stone quarried from the site, he wanted to incorporate recycled and reclaimed building materials wherever possible. And this extended to the landscaping. The entry, for example, features a gateway, columns and cobblestones imported from France.