De Mar House has been and continues to be a labor of love for the owners. After coming to the Napa Valley for many years, it became more and more difficult to leave. A sadness was felt, almost like leaving a loved one behind. This feeling was put to rest, when on a vacation for their anniversary. They just wanted to look at some property, mostly out of curiosity. Well after looking at a few homes, nothing looked exciting enough to stir any interest. Then on a whim, the real estate agent, and now friend, showed them a turn of the century Victorian, which was to become De Mar house. It was the last day of their vacation, and an offer was given.
Before you knew it, after seeing the house for only fifteen minutes and with some negotiation, an offer was accepted. Disbelief and shock, gave way to excitement and anxiety. Did they just do what we think they did? Yes, they just purchased a vacation home on the other side of the country. Some thought them to be crazy- especially themselves.
However, everything felt right about what they did. And now the race was on. The beautiful Victorian was a diamond in the rough. It needed redesign, color and most of all, love. Months of planning and configuring took place. All from their home three thousand miles away. At the same time construction and changes were being made with the help of a patient, resourceful contractor, cell phones and fax machines.
Calling out to their friends that own a furniture store. They carefully purchased a home full of period style furniture. These friends kindly allowed them the use of some warehouse space for accessories and other small items. Well, realizing the needs of the home, the stock pile grew beyond anyone's belief. Trips were made to the Pennsylvania antique markets leaving with truckloads of goods. Even a trip to Europe was made, for some more special pieces.
There were countless nights of shopping and hours of internet purchases that added to the strain of doing what was needed. Careful planning was taken through all of the shopping- everything needed a home. Correct placement and design went into every aspect of the creation of De Mar house. After having everything moved cross country, a 'vacation' was spent working almost round the clock, unpacking and putting everything in it's place all by themselves. Believe it or not they wouldn't have changed a thing.
Now for a little background on the couple who had the vision to create De Mar House. Reading on you can see where some of the inspiration and themes got their start.
Cristina was born in Oporto Portugal, the famous region known for Port Wine. Leaving as a young child she had the love of wine instilled in her by her grandfather Amaro Soares. Growing up in New York she frequently visited her homeland and her grandfather who galvanized this love of wine in her. He always told her that Napa was a place where wine is an art. Now approaching adulthood she held on to this feeling of the love of wine.
Guy was born in Queens, New York from second generation parents of Italian and Polish decent. Wine was something that was on the table for special dinners and holidays. It was not until he met his future wife Cristina, and visited her homeland that he discovered the magic and allure of fine wine.
A couple of years later the couple, still dating, made their first trip to Napa Valley. They were swept away by the beautiful countryside, the friendly people and of course the world class wines. It was after this trip, they began avidly enjoying and collecting fine wine from California and also Portugal.
A few years later they were planning a trip to Portugal to see Cristina's family for Christmas. They had the idea to go to both London and Paris on this same trip. London was the first stop for several days, and a week was spent in Oporto for Christmas. These two stops in these breathtaking cities were all a blur to Guy.
You see, Guy had purchased an engagement ring for Cristina in Manhattan some few days before. Now he needed to hide it and think about how he was going to ask the love of his life to marry him. Almost two weeks into the trip, and now the couple are finally in Paris.
A couple of days went by, and now it was Cristina's birthday. She already celebrated her birthday with Guy and her family in Portugal, but Guy insisted they do something special on her 'actual' birthday. That night they went on an elegant dinner cruise down the Seine through the heart of Paris. As they passed by Notre Dame he went down to one knee and asked her to be his wife. She replied with a blank stare before saying yes. As they began departing the boat minutes later, snow began to fall. They went on to celebrate New Years at the Eiffel Tower and Guy finally got to relax...Their road led them to the De Mar House. They still feel sadness when they leave, but now they know a part of them is always in the Napa Valley...