RH, formally known as Restoration Hardware, is notorious for not being your average furniture retailer. The company has transformed the luxury retail market by constructing elaborate high-end home-furnishing stores, better described as galleries, that create an interactive retail experience.
Over the last few years, RH’s CEO and chief innovator Gary Friedman has further reimagined the traditional retail store, or what he calls “…archaic windowless boxes,” with the addition of several hospitality components being integrated into the luxury spaces. Friedman explains, “We don’t build retail stores – we create inspiring spaces that blur the lines between residential and retail, indoors and outdoors, home and hospitality.”
Until now, the RH galleries were predominantly occupied by design, retail, and furnishings with a smaller space dedicated to hospitality. But the most recent RH gallery to open in the heart of Napa Valley has taken a much different approach. Restoration Hardware Yountville is a multi-faceted experience intended to “…activate all of the senses” with food, espresso, wine and design.
The distinguished wine county compound integrates contemporary classically-inspired architecture by renowned architect Jim Gilliam of Backen & Gillam Architects. The extraordinary site is comprised of a standalone full-service indoor/outdoor restaurant, a redesigned 1904 historic stone wine tasting vault, two RH lifestyle design galleries, and a courtyard wine and barista bar. The five spaces are beautifully weaved together with signature RH design elements, century old limestone fountains, fireplaces, and bluestone walkways.
Nestled under a soaring glass-pane roof, the standalone restaurant is like a pavilion of glass and steel wrapped with expansive 16-foot-wide steel frame folding doors by Jada Windows. The light and airy space, adorned with several opulent crystal chandeliers, allows color to flow from the outdoors in and flood the eatery with daylight. As night falls, the massive chandeliers – composed of Rococo iron and hundreds of crystal pendants – come alive and light up the transparent glass-filled shell. But it’s the 100-year-old heritage olive trees that truly transform the space and visually connect the dining experience with the surrounding landscape.
Neighboring the standalone restaurant, two elegant RH lifestyle galleries showcase a beautiful selection of cozy furnishings, lighting, textiles and globally-sourced artifacts and antiques. The oversized blackened steel picture windows frame the property’s lush landscaping and add layers of light into the inviting space.
The property’s two-story stone wine tasting vault is full of history, designer RH furniture and a copiousness selection of rare and limited local wines. The stylish and laidback atmosphere offers several lounge areas to savor a glass of wine, as well as two upstairs tasting rooms for a more intimate sampling experience. Bordering the wine vault is the outdoor café and garden courtyard where guests can order wine, espresso, tea, and fresh cold pressed juices to be enjoyed in one of the eight lavish trellis-covered open-air living areas.
RH Yountville is undoubtedly an experience that stretches our perception of retail, hospitality and the home. The company has proposed a lifestyle gallery and restaurant in Corte Madera, CA with the Yountville gallery and restaurant serving as a canvas for what’s to come.