Living Lavishly Volume 13

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Where do you want to live? - (805) 936-0277 A Professional Real Estate Company

Making Clients Happy for 35 Years in San Luis Obispo Real Estate! Pismo Beach Homes has been your trusted advisor in buying and selling homes in San Luis Obispo County for over 35 years. We provide trusted, old-fashioned service in guiding you through the buying and selling process. We have the largest digital advertising reach of all local real estate companies to get your home sold fast!

Vice SLO Housing Authority, Clark Center Board President, Leadership SLO Board, AG Hospital Foundation Board, Boys & Girls Club Leadership, Past-President Lumina Alliance 2Chair / Living Lavishly

Each Office is Independently Owned and Operated. BRE License #01397619

Regional Community Leaders - Digital Marketing Experts

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE We love watching our local economy come back to life, one purchase, one interaction at a time. At Simply Clear Marketing, we have the unique perspective of interacting with hundreds of local businesses. We get to see it on their faces, hear it in their voices, and we can tell you that there’s nothing like the energy and joy of human interaction, especially when it comes to building momentum. It has been hard this last year seeing all the empty store fronts in our local cities and personally feeling the despair of uncertainty. But, it has been a joy to see families and businesses adapt, fight, and in some cases — reinvent themselves to survive. Every

Bret Colhouer

community is unique, and it’s safe to say we have an amazing community here on the Central Coast. This issue of Living Lavishly is focused on community and the love and appreciation of interaction. From small gatherings to large expo events, we come together to interact physically, socially, spiritually, and economically. Selfishly, we look for opportunities to feel good or have fun but it’s not always about us. In fact, we’d argue its rarely just about us. A bottle of wine, a good meal, an expo, a concert, and even a sunset are all enhanced by someone else or many more.

Lani Colhouer

The currencies exchanged in these interactions are many; a smile, good conversation, positive energy, and time spent together has never been more important. And from a more transactional standpoint, spending money with local businesses is part of what we need to do to keep our community strong and healthy. As you read on, we hope — as always — that you’re inspired by what you see and feel. We hope it motivates you to take action, to organize time with those you care about, and to get creative about how you do it. We hope you’ll be inspired to get out of the house and enjoy the wonder and beauty the Central Coast offers or stay at home and create your own little paradise for friends and family to enjoy. Whatever you’re motivated to do, we’ve packed this issue full of ideas and creative solutions to assist you along the way. So, sit back, read, and enjoy our latest gift to you, Living Lavishly Magazine, Volume 13.

Bret Colhouer | Lani Colhouer | David Diaz

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David Diaz


Design, Build, and Remodel Services

Expert designs and building services for small and large remodeling projects 5 / Living Lavishly 240 Brighton Ave., Grover Beach, CA 93433 805.904.6435 · Lic # B1066889

CONTRIBUTORS Molly O’Brien Molly O’Brien is a proud Cal Poly journalism alumna who’s currently working as a Los Angeles-based freelance travel writer for a number of outlets including The Washington Post, Travel + Leisure, Business Insider, Fodor’s Travel, Lonely Planet, and Bloomberg as well as her own travel website, She frequently returns to the Central Coast to enjoy the friendly, community feeling atmosphere and endless outdoor activities. In town, you’ll most likely find her parked at a San Luis Obispo coffee shop for hours while working on an article, scoping out a wine or brewery tasting, or on a hike somewhere with an ocean view.

Charlotte Ross Charlotte Ross is a Central Coast local and a Cal Poly alumnus. She recently earned her bachelor of science degree in journalism with dual minors in Spanish and wildlife conservation biology. She enjoys writing, spending time outdoors, and doing arts and crafts. You can check out more of her work at simply, connect with her on LinkedIn, or follow her earring account @lobos_earrings on Instagram.

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SLO County’s Largest Quartz Inventory

Try our Virtual Design Tool to see your Kitchen Makeover Instantly at! 7 / Living Lavishly

805-466-8453 | 4905 #C Traffic Way, Atascadero



Around the Home

Living Lavishly Wine Guide

The Essential Landscape Design Guide


The Perfect Pairing


The Cayucos Project


Staff Picks: Our Favorite Wineries


Architectural Features


Decanting Guide


2021 Color Trends

Creating Your Own At-Home Wine Tasting


Transitional Style

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How to Organize a Wine Tour


Coastal Elegance


Modern Farmhouse


Bohemian Flow


In the Kitchen


Inspired by Life Q&A: Mari Robeson


Surrounded by Plants: Gabriel Frank


Luxury Picnics on the Central Coast


How to Live a Luxe Life


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CookWell Corner


In-Season Recipes


Plant to Plate


What’s in Season?



Hidden Gems Chateau Noland


Allegretto Resort






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615 Clarion Ct. #2 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 Phone (805) 543-6397

Fall 2021 / Winter 2022 PUBLISHERS


Bret Colhouer | Lani Colhouer | David Diaz

SALES Jessica Micklus MARKETING Maddison Stevens Bryan Kirkpatrick Tina Mitchell Aidan Weber

Emilia Bollini


Kelley Braga CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AIA Central Coast Andrea Chavez Cindy Bevans

Charlotte Ross Courtney Coleman Daniel Mazawa Laura Jeffrey Maddison Stevens Mari Robeson Molly O’Brien Nicole Mines Victoria Sexton

Recycling Note This magazine is 100% recyclable. It can be put in blue recycling bins, dropped off at the SLO County Library (if this issue is less than a year old), or even mailed to, which distributes old magazines to children, teens and adults who are at risk of illiteracy.

Advertise With Us! Complete details regarding advertising rates, space, sizes, circulation, coverage and similar information are available to prospective advertisers. Please call or email for more information. This is a publication of Simply Clear Marketing, Inc., Copyright 2007-2022 all rights reserved. One free copy per person. Additional copies can be obtained at our offices at 615 Clarion Court, #2, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401. Simply Clear Marketing and Media makes every reasonable effort to ensure the accuracy of its contents. Please notify us if information is incorrect.


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@LivingLavishlyMag | @SimplyClearMarketing | @InspiredExpos


11 / Living Lavishly | Paso Robles Wine Country, California | 805-369-2500

The Essential Landscape Design Guide Learn how to maximize your residential landscape in six easy steps. By Daniel Mazawa


ransforming a landscape can be overwhelming; there are so many places to find inspiration, and

there are drastically different styles to consider. That’s why it can be helpful to work with a professional— landscape designers are trained to see the big picture and identify opportunities that elude most homeowners. Here are a few steps homeowners can take to understand the design process and get a grasp of what they want from their landscape.

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Analyze the Site

Establish the Functions

On the Central Coast, there are several different and natural

It’s easy for someone who owns a home to identify what

backdrops that many homeowners enjoy. Whether it is a

they want, but it can be a little more difficult to define

distant view of rolling oak woodlands or a beachfront bluff

what they need. Everything takes up space, so prioritizing

experience, it is important to understand the setting of

functions is extremely important. Figure out how much

a place as influenced by the natural world. Take stock of

usable space is needed for parking, outdoor entertaining,

existing trees or plants on site as well as sun and shade.

open utility areas, connecting pathways and any other

The architecture of the home and the neighborhood aesthetic may set the tone for the landscape design style. Consider the experience of driving up to the home and

high-frequency functions. Pools, hot tubs, sport courts, outdoor kitchens, vegetable gardens and other secondary functions can be fun additions to fold in.

walking around the yard. A guest arriving at the home

Consider the best locations for all functions as far as

should know right where the front door is and where to

convenience, sun exposure, views, and feel. For example,

park. The movement around the landscape should be

both an outdoor kitchen and a vegetable garden are

functional and beautiful. Where are the areas of interest?

convenient near an indoor kitchen, but the garden wants

What is the flow and the circulation? Identify the

open sunshine and the outdoor kitchen benefits from

opportunities and constraints in a setting before figuring

shade or shelter. Also consider the indoor/outdoor

out what to do.

connection as perceived through windows and doors from inside. A pergola can feel like an extension of an indoor room, or a distant view can be framed to be enjoyed from inside.

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Define Design Style

Design Spaces Before Features

A good first step is to decide whether a landscape is going

While design features are important, the spaces they

to be geometric and calculated, or free flowing and

create are more important to the user experience. For

natural. A modern home may work better with a straight

example, a tree may be a beautiful feature, but the shade

-lined landscape, but these forms can deconstruct as they

and shelter a tree grove provides can create a comfortable

move away from the structure. A natural setting such as a

room complete with walls and a ceiling. Comfortable

woodland can work well with curves and natural pathways

spaces are often perceived as a bit wider than they are

especially if preserving existing trees.

tall, or 1 to 1.618 height to width per the golden ratio.

People who like control, simple bold design, or tidy surroundings gravitate towards straight lines with geometric configurations. People who like tranquility,

A pergola that is 16 feet wide by 10 feet tall is a good example. The same comfortable feeling can be achieved with shrubs and trees.

natural settings, or designing with nature gravitate

Conversely, putting too many plants next to a front door

towards flowing curves. Bold Modern style utilizes the

entry can make it feel tight and uninviting. Open it up and

straight-line end of the spectrum and Natural Style falls

make the path wide, prominent and inviting. Wide open

on the curved-line end. Mediterranean, Southwestern,

views will feel more comfortable when framed with trees

Cottage, and Japanese gardens fall somewhere between.

or from a comfortable viewing patio. The psychology of

Having a clearly defined style that repeats and transitions

spaces can be overwhelming, but it is obvious when a

smoothly will make a landscape feel complete.

space feels right.

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Work Out Transitions Landscape is the glue that holds together spaces and structures. Transitions can be the most dynamic aspects of a landscape, or they can be eyesores. Complex hardscape features such as patios, retaining walls, fences, pergolas, outdoor kitchens, water features, and fire features will often intersect and connect with one another. Figure out how connections will work to make a seamless transition point. Formal landscapes will often transition to a natural area. Utilize decorative bunch grasses on the edge of the landscape to blur the line between mulched landscapes and natural areas. When utilizing multiple design styles, create transitional landscapes to blend gradually. For example, a contemporary landscape may transition to a natural area going from straight lines to calculated arcs and then to a curved path.

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Iron Out the Details Details in the landscape should emphasize the overall

There is a lot to think about when trying to maximize a

design style and theme. In most cases, color themes

landscape. A professional can help. Landscape designers can

should be complementary, so they don’t clash. Choose

take ideas and dreams and turn them into a buildable design.

colors for concrete, stone, wood, paint, mulch, and plant

Knowing the process before starting design or construction

material that paint a picture that goes together.

can be invaluable in being able to communicate goals and

Textures should also be considered. Fine texture details such as exposed aggregate concrete, small ledge stone,

expectations to create a successful landscape to enjoy for years to come.

or small plants can feel lost in a large space. Bold coarse texture details like big boulders or large-leaved plants can feel overbearing in small spaces. Perennial plants provide color, texture, and movement.

Daniel Mazawa is the General Manager of Madrone Landscapes and a Cal Poly Landscape Architecture alumnus. For over 12 years, Daniel has been designing, building, and

Plants should fit the design style with color as well as layout.

overseeing operations at Madrone Landscapes in Atascadero.

Bold masses of plants work well with contemporary landscapes,

When Daniel isn’t at work, he may be gardening, cooking,

while multi-species combinations can work well with natural

surfing, or otherwise enjoying the Central Coast lifestyle.

areas. Finishing details can make the difference between a

For more information, visit or call

hodge-podge yard and a cohesive landscape.

(801) 466-6263.

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THE CAYUCOS PROJECT 18 / Living Lavishly

Historical Home Turned Contemporary By Charlotte Ross Photos courtesy of Yvette Chaix Interior Design

Yvette Chaix, owner of Yvette Chaix Interior Design, shares the process of a historical Cayucos home she and her team redesigned into something traditional with a unique twist.

As a child, Chaix dreamed of being an architect; she grew up with art being a big part of her life. As she grew older, her dream evolved into becoming an interior designer. It wasn’t something she planned on, but as soon as she started, she couldn’t stop. Now, 20 years later, she says interior design is all she has ever known, but she loves it. “I feel really fortunate,” she said, “not many people can say they have done what they love from beginning to end.” Chaix’s office is based out of San Luis Obispo, but her projects take her team to places near and far; from across the county to Monterey to Las Vegas and “wherever the job takes them.”

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The Design Process for the Cayucos Project After two years of plans and installations, Chaix and her design team finished their project in Cayucos. The three women worked with the homeowners, contractors, painters, electricians, and plumbers to gut out a historical Cayucos home built in the 1880s and transform it into the contemporary work of art it is today. The home was relocated from downtown Cayucos to a neighborhood

changes from the start of the project. In this particular home, they were able to change the roofline in order to build a kitchen add-on, properly space the windows, design custom light fixtures, and add an outdoor shower. Chaix and her two full-time employees, Michelle and Cheyanne, designed practically everything down to the furniture from the beginning of the process. The clients wanted this to be their retirement home with a fresh start, so the team was able to design everything new. Chaix says there were regular electrical and plumbing

on J street.

walk-throughs throughout the construction phases so

Chaix was brought onto the Cayucos project in February

small details and custom designs, they had to pay

2019 during the architecture phase, which she says is, “always the best time to be brought on.” Designing plans prior to the demo allows her to make important

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they could make alterations as needed. With so many attention to each little aspect of the build. Chaix says the homeowners were the ones that made the project so fun for everyone.

One of the most difficult parts of designing the Cayucos home, Chaix says, was choosing the right paint colors for the exterior. Gina, one of the homeowners, wanted a colorful home, but not too wild – she wanted the colors to be timeless but still have a beachy look. Chaix went back and forth through the Sherwin-Williams “historic colors” palette and had the painter test several different colors until eventually settling on two different shades of green and a white trim with copper tone gutters – a simple and classic choice, yet still unique to the area. Most of the bold colors lie within the home. The front door is custom designed with a stained-glass window made by women in Santa Maria, which projects a dazzling array of colors throughout the hallway. In the living rooms and bedrooms, there are hints of pink and patterned rugs (some hand designed by Chaix). There are bold-colored furniture throughout the rooms with emerald tiles in one bathroom, pink accents in the other, and traditional, yet modern appliances in the kitchen. There is even a rock ‘n roll room with posters lining the walls, an old record player, and cabinets filled with vinyl for Jerry, the other homeowner. “Every part of this house has so much to it,” Chaix says. “Everywhere I turn, I’m like ‘oh god, I love this room...’ I just love every “They let me do my job and they trusted me,” she says. “I asked every step of the way, ‘Do you like this? Do you want this?’ and they always told me ‘We trust you, Yvette. We’re not designers’ It just made it such a beautiful

part of it.” What makes this historical home so unique to the Central Coast, Chaix says, is that there are not many Victorian homes, especially in Cayucos,

project to work on.”

that get fully gutted and redone. “The owners

And the homeowners said the same about Chaix, “We

says, “and they remodeled it entirely but kept

love Yvette, she did such an amazing job.” Throughout my walk-through of the home, they were smiling, pointing out some of their favorite details of their new home.

bought a house with so much character,” she that character and made it feel [far from old].” There are still touches of the “beachy Cayucos” feel with the outdoor shower and back porch,

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but it is rare to find this style of home in San Luis Obispo County. Chaix says she loves the work she does because she can turn anything ordinary into something unique and beautiful. For this project, it was the clients that made it so special to design. She says she loved drawing up the kitchen and cabinetry, but it was the client’s trust in allowing her to use bold colors and fun furniture that made it so different. At the end of the project, they were like family.

To learn more about Yvette Chaix Interior Design, please visit

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BRING YOUR VISION TO US The experts at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery are here to help create a home that’s as extraordinary as you are. Any project, any style, any dream—bring your inspiration to Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. Visit to schedule your personalized showroom experience today.


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Wells Collection

ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES By American Institute of Architects California Central Coast || 2021 AIA CCC Design Awards

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Jespersen Ranch Residence V Architect: bracket architecture office Photographer: Matthew Anderson Photography

Jespersen Ranch Residence V is a 3,500 square foot single-level home set in a small cluster of lots surrounded by a foothill creek and vineyards. Oriented perpendicular to the linear rigor of the vineyard, parallel wings are set off from the main high-volume great room to enclose a large, covered patio and frame an outdoor courtyard protected from the northwesterly winds while still opening to the natural views beyond. The form language borrows from local agricultural structures, reinterpreted with contemporary and fire safe materials such as fiber-cement shiplap siding and standing seam metal roofing. The garage and second floor accessory dwelling unit are set off from the main residence to afford privacy and align the breezeway with the vineyard beyond.

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Darling Hotel Architect: TEN OVER STUDIO Based in San Luis Obispo Photographer: 4 Creeks Creative Realized by a family deeply rooted in the Visalia area, the 32-suite boutique Darling Hotel celebrates rich local heritage while providing an exciting new place to experience the heart of Visalia. The project rejuvenates Visalia’s neglected, historic Art Deco courthouse with elegant and authentic architecture that preserves and amplifies its legacy. A simple strategy to celebrate existing elements at all scales while rehabilitating the building for modern purposes resonates throughout the interior and exterior of the building. Exterior facades were carefully restored and, after an extensive retrofit to existing egress for code purposes, a seamlessly designed stair tower was the only needed exterior addition. Throughout the interior, light fixtures, elevator cars, doorknobs and other original details were meticulously preserved.

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When existing features could not be found or duplicated, other elements of the building were innovatively reused, and modern construction techniques were employed to replicate elements necessary to retain the building’s singular character. The hotel’s rooftop restaurant, The Elderwood, located in the old elevator machine room, celebrates the existing building directly by showcasing the concrete negative of the Art Deco frieze on the primary façade as the dramatic backdrop to its bar. The hotel and rooftop restaurant are both named and designed to honor members of the hotel owner’s family who have lived and worked in the area since 1911. A dynamic, generational story of family and community reverberates through all facets of the building, making The Darling a tangible promise to continue that story for generations to come.

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Covid Clubhouse else a child considers to be necessary, most of which

Architect: CWA Studios, Chris Allen Photographer: Chris Allen

was either financially impractical or would require the assistance of supernatural powers. After redirecting focus to a more achievable solution, the family started out with their first task, locating the playhouse on the site.

The “COVID clubhouse” was born out of a need to

Conveniently, the property was a blank slate, having just

entertain and educate an architect’s children during the

removed a pair of dying Juniper trees. The farthest corner

initial stay-at-home order. What started as a simple

of the backyard had a gentle sloping bank which would

distraction tactic turned into quite an undertaking to

otherwise be considered unusable space. Therefore, a

which the result was well worth the wait. As a child,

decision was made. The playhouse would be lifted on

the owner was constantly exploring the constraints of

a raised foundation consisting of 6x6 pressure treated

building materials and developing what would become

posts and cantilevering beams allowing the floor to float

an admiration for the built world. Encouraged by the

over the bank and provide a unique perch for the kids

opportunity to introduce their own children (5 and 2) to

to daydream of sailing to their own COVID-free worlds.

the imagination of architecture, the owners entrusted

Months later and countless hours of memories generated,

them in developing the initial concepts of what would

the owners completed what has become a vital part of

become their future playhouse. Ideas were floated for

their backyard experience. It is a daily reminder of how

a magical drawbridge, a circus tent, and really anything

influential architecture can be to all aspects of our lives.

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CoastHills Headquarters

After the building had been designed and situated on site, the City asked us to move the building north to

Architect: Arris Studio Architects Photographer: Specialty Construction Located in a bustling business corridor of Santa Maria, the CoastHills Headquarters serves as a landmark for the

avoid future Caltrans road work that would shave off a portion of the frontage. This project is part of the Enos Ranch overall development and there was a great deal of coordination and back and forth regarding grading, drainage, landscape and monument sign placement.

Enos Ranch Center at the Betteravia freeway exit. The

The building includes a multi-purpose space on the

project serves as the main branch and corporate offices

ground floor to be utilized during and after office hours

for CoastHills Credit Union.

for community events.

Inspired by the surrounding hills and farmland, the

In 2020, our firm designed the tenant improvements

facade is a representation of CoastHills’ branding:

for the A.T. Still University at the second level of the

hues of blue and green undulate along the sides of the

building. The client had reserved the second floor design

building and large, expansive glazing create framed

as an educational use tenant improvement to provide an

views of the landscape.

amenity space for the local community.

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Make your remodeling dreams come true.


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Bauhaus Block Contractor: Semmes and Company Builders

solid and massive qualities of the SMU, and along with it provide a thermal battery system that balances the daily

Architect: JADE Architecture

and seasonal temperature swings.

Photographer: Elliot Johnson Photography

The South orientation provides a generous view and ample overhang, while allowing for exceptional winter

This contemporary home exemplifies the simplicity in both form and function of a modern Euro-style home. The Architectural Realism of the materials and use of space lends itself to a clear understanding of where you are in the home and what its amenities are there for.

heating. Summer cooling is enhanced by the numerous operable openings including a thermal chimney provided by the entry clerestory. The total effect is one of living comfortably indoors with a very large view that makes one feel like the outer world is at their beckon. The heating system is backed up by an in-floor Radiant

Masonry was used for its thermal mass potential,

system that is supported by a solar thermal system that

and the durable high quality finish to it adds to the

also provides for the Domestic hot water. The electric

structure. The patterning of the block is replicated in the

system is enhanced by a 2.6 KW Grid tied Photovoltaic

basic design of the overall structure adding a timeless

system. High Fly Ash concrete floors, sleek ceiling fans

aesthetic presented in the German “Bauhaus” school of

and LED recessed lighting throughout are examples of

design. The association of steel and class enhance the

the sustainable home building focus.

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Bishop Street Studios abandoned in 1973 and has sat vacant since. It now houses


10 residential units, case worker offices, a shared laundry room, and a beautiful community room with sweeping views over San Luis Obispo. New two-story buildings

Bishop Street Studios transforms a neglected city landmark into a visible local symbol of hope and opportunity. The project is an affordable housing development consisting of 33 very-low-income single occupancy studios, one-bedroom units for independently living mental health residents, and a one-bedroom unit for a resident manager.

provide an additional 24 residential units. The project achieves LEED Gold through, among many other measures, extensive recycling efforts of existing building materials, locally sourced new materials, high performance walls, roofs, fenestration, PV panels, water conserving fixtures, and relentless attention to indoor materials and methods to reduce any negative impact to

The project included the preservation, restoration, and

indoor air quality. Site improvements include a central

reuse of an abandoned two-story brick building, as well

community plaza, butterfly habitat, majority local

as the construction of three new buildings built into

landscaping, and easily accessible bike parking within

the hill below. The existing building was built in 1932

200 yards of an extensive bicycle network connecting

as an orphanage, later used as a juvenile hall, but was

to the entire city.

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Creative design by trained professionals Complete & Detailed Drawings Style, finish & color samples People value our experience The Final Result: A Kitchen You Will Enjoy for Years!

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2021 COLOR TRENDS By Nicole Mines

Brand new color palettes have taken the stage by storm in 2021. Paint companies and color pros emerged with their top shades of the year, highlighting the fresh start we needed after all of the turbulence that 2020 brought forward. Some common themes we found in these trendy color palettes were tones of resilience, serenity, and comfort — and let’s be honest — all of these much-needed qualities are surely welcomed after the year we’ve had. So, as you take a look at the pro’s picks, we hope you find inspiration to spruce up your home, wardrobe, or even simple ways to add more color to your life!

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Ultimate Gray & Illuminating Pantone Color of the Year Ultimate Gray and Illuminating are a great combination to set the mood in any room, adding a dose of sunshine and positivity. This ideal combination is suited for any office, whether in the home or in a commercial space. Ultimate Gray provides the firm foundation for Illuminating, a vibrant yellow that heightens awareness and enhances intuition, lighting the way to the intellectual curiosity, originality, and resourcefulness of an open mind.

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Canyon Dusk 2021 Behr Color of the Year Photo courtesy of Behr Paint This warm color emerged as Behr’s Color of the Year for all the right reasons: its comfort and grounding reassurance is sure to bring class and style to any living space. It brings in a satisfying sense of connectivity and solidity and is an ideal shade for anyone seeking soft moments throughout the interior or exterior of the home.

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Aegean Teal Benjamin Moore 2021 Color of the Year Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore This gentle combination of blue-green and gray brings an intriguing mid-tone and a natural harmony. “Amid uncertainty, people yearn for stability. The colors we surround ourselves with can have a powerful impact on our emotions and wellbeing,” said Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore Director of Color Marketing & Development. “Aegean Teal 2136-40 and the corresponding Color Trends 2021 palette express a welcoming, lived-in quality that celebrates the connections and real moments that take place within the home.”

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Passionate HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams 2021 Color of the Year Photo Courtesy of HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams Timeless and elegant, Passionate is a deeply saturated hue that is daringly rich. HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams revealed this color as a part of their 2021 Color Collection of the Year. Their “Delightfully Daring” palette encourages customers to have confidence with bold colors in and around the home. The dark energy of the pigment is invigorating, and boldly modern but with historic influences.

Urbane Bronze Sherwin-Williams 2021 Color of the Year Photo Courtesy of HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams Sherwin-Williams announces its 2021 Color of the Year: Urbane Bronze SW 7048. A warm, sophisticated bronze, the color inspires all of us to find sanctuary in any space. Urbane Bronze is a rich anchor that grounds the mind in calm and stability with its ties to the natural world. “The home is now the ultimate retreat from the world, and color is an easy and effective way to create a personal haven,” said Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “Urbane Bronze encourages you to create a sanctuary space for mindful reflection and renewal.”

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Home Inspirations

A home is a sanctuary — a place where we can shut off from the rest of the world. It’s also a space where we host memorable gatherings with those we love most. Whatever your home means to you, we understand how important of a space it is, and we cherish the value a healthy and beautiful home brings. However, what makes a home are not the designs, decor, and fixtures. In fact, what makes a home are the people and

Presented by The Inspired Expos

memories that inhabit it. It’s the space that hosts those muchneeded family gatherings; a space that provides those first steps for the little ones; a space that holds beautiful memories near and dear to the heart. So, as you read more about lavish design trends for your home, we hope you find inspiration to reimagine the spaces you use most. After all, one thing remains clear: your home is your sanctuary. The memories and meanings it holds are completely unique to you.



AUGUST 21 & 22, 2021

SEPTEMBER 18 & 19, 2021

FEBRUARY 26 & 27, 2022

MAY 14 & 15, 2022 43 / Living Lavishly

TRANSITIONAL STYLE 44 / Living Lavishly

The term “transitional design” usually refers to a mixture of traditional and modern elements—a cohesive mesh of styles used to achieve a feeling of luxury. This type of interior design style is ideal for those with a dichotomy of decor items: masculine vs. feminine, vintage vs. modern, dark vs. bright, neutral vs. bold, and so much more. This style is also ideal for those who love to throw the rules out the window. Want to incorporate an antique piece with a sleek steel end table? Or, maybe you want to combine traditionally upholstered fabric chairs with contemporary lighting. Either way, this trend is fitting for those who want to play with contrasting details. It can be liberating to find freedom in a trend by making it your own!

by Ashley Byrd 45 Photo / Living Lavishly

Elements of a Transitional Style Get comfortable with the art of mixing textures When it comes to texture, fabrics, floors, cabinetry, and paint details can all play a key role in achieving a transitional style. We recommend starting with your favorite fabrics on your furniture pieces, such as pliable leathers, soft suedes, or corduroys. From there, you have several options in approaching the varying fixtures surrounding these pieces.

Choose impactful art, but use it sparingly Artwork in transitional style design can help achieve Photo by Dylan James

a luxurious feel, however, overcrowding a room with art can push the style past the point of cohesion. Having a statement piece can also be a unique conversation starter or a focal point of the room.

Incorporate saturated tones and colors When compared to a traditional style, transitional design elements are typically more intense in color. While traditional styles usually have a warm and inviting feel, transitional colors tend to give a sense of lightness and air.

Photo courtesy of Sidekix Media

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Carefully select your accessories Any accessories in a transitional style should be chosen wisely; you’ll want to make sure there aren’t too many items overcrowding your space. With a mix of fabrics and colors, having one too many details may be overwhelming to the eye.

If you find yourself attracted to new takes on old classics and want to achieve luxury with this popular trend, perhaps a transitional design style is right for you. To discover your own cocktail of blended designs, Photo by Isaac Martin

we suggest connecting with an interior designer to help you achieve your design dreams.

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COASTAL ELEGANCE 48 / Living Lavishly

Soft blues, ocean hues, and muted tones. Coastal designs have always been in style, and there’s no surprise why. An open and airy vibe can make any space feel vacation-like, even if you’re landlocked. However, here on the Central Coast, we’re lucky enough to have the coast just a stone’s throw away. If you find yourself attracted to the elegance of coastal living, we invite you to start by finding the elements of the seaside that you love most. Next, draw out the basic concepts from each of those elements. How do you feel when you think of the coast? What things come to mind? What textures, colors, and items do you favor most when it comes to a seaside lifestyle? Let’s take a look at some basic elements that can help you achieve the elegant coastal look of your dreams.

Photo by Sidekix Media 49 / Living Lavishly

Elements of Coastal Elegance Pick the right palette There are many ways to transform your space into a coastal oasis. To start, we like to look for the color palette. Soft blues, ocean hues, and muted tones are one direction to sway towards. On the other hand, a simple white scheme with accents of wood or shiplap can elevate your space to a modern coastal chic style.

Skip the seashells There are more subtle ways to impart a feeling of coastal living. Keep it simple, keep it light. We recommend playing with textures while keeping your

Photo by Hutomo Abrianto

color palette minimal. Adding accents of color to a neutral color scheme can help achieve a feeling of seaside luxury.

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Photo by Douglas Sheppard

Less is more When it comes to coastal decor, balance is key. If your overall goal is to capture the sereness of coastside living, we recommend playing with neutral colored decor for the larger pieces, and textured elements for the smaller pieces.

Source from local artists Your home is unique to you, and your art should be too. Local art can contribute to the unique nature of your home, especially if you want to embrace the natural coastal beauty of the Central Coast.

Coastal elegance is a calming aesthetic suited for anyone that feels most at peace when they’re close to the coast. To discover your own version of a coastal Photo by Josh Hemsley

elegance look, we suggest connecting with an interior designer to help you achieve your design dreams.

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MODERN FARMHOUSE 52 / Living Lavishly

A relaxed spirit and inviting details make the modern farmhouse style admired by many — including those who live far from the countryside. Characterized by rustic charm and warm minimalism, this design can be achieved by mixing sleek furniture, neutral colors, and hints of distressed materials. To master the modern farmhouse style in your home, we suggest focusing on practicality and then layer with decorative elements.

Photo Courtesy Battani 53of/ Camyllam Living Lavishly

Elements of a Modern Farmhouse Style Carefully select your decor In order to master the modern farmhouse style, focus on the details. Unique signs, family heirlooms, and decorative motifs all help to curate the perfect space unique to you. It also helps to add depth, character, and warmth to your space.

Seek simple sophistication The best part about modern farmhouse decor is the everyday appeal of the decor. Aim to use matte finishes and low-shine materials to create a sense of casualness that doesn’t sacrifice elegance.

Include rustic & distressed finishes Photo Courtsey of Ryan Christodoulou

The staple of the farmhouse interior design style is bringing elements that add character and a “lived-in” feel. Anything from weathered wood, exposed brick, or distressed finishes helps to make the house feel more like a home with a deep history. If you live in a house that isn’t dripping in historic charm, try adding elements like rustic wood shelving, tumbled linens and mid-century reclaimed or textured wood furniture.

Use neutral colors To achieve this look, it’s important to stick to soothing naturals to help keep the space light, while highlighting statement pieces in your home. White walls can also help contrast heavier furnishings like dark woods and metals, which can make your space Photo Courtesy of Polygon Realty Limited

appear smaller. Add in plenty of mirrors and reflective surfaces to help make the room feel larger.

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Embrace open space Bare windows, high ceilings and additional lighting elements really compliment the overall design. A lot of large open spaces that allow light to flow into your home help to minimize the barrier between indoor and outdoor spaces.

The modern farmhouse look is ideal for those who admire a charming countryside living space. To achieve a classic modern farmhouse style for your home, we suggest connecting with an interior designer to help Photo Courtesy of Collov Home Design

you achieve your design dreams.

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BOHEMIAN FLOW 56 / Living Lavishly

Photo by Timothy Buck

At the core of the bohemian design, this style is an aesthetic that is both unique and inviting. Those who find themselves drawn to eclectic, earthy, and relaxed styles are best suited for the bohemian style. Although there are no hard rules to follow when it comes to this design, there are some similar practices that are used to achieve a bohemian look.

Natural Materials & Fibers A typical bohemian room includes various pillows, throws, wooden accents, and gorgeous art pieces. These elements are key to achieving a bohemian and comfortable aesthetic. Our favorite way to do this is by adding vintage or vintage-inspired throws to add texture and warmth. For example, adding a throw to the back of a chair, a fur rug, and some wooden baskets for plants help to make your space more inviting and give it a more lived-in feel.

Photo by Andrea Davis 57 / Living Lavishly

Elements of Bohemian Flow Plants No room is complete without a few plants and in this case, the more plants, the better! Plants such as ferns, succulents, or a monstera are a staple in bohemian interior design. The beauty of plants is that they don’t compete with the room, so you don’t have to worry about clashing patterns or shapes. If you struggle to maintain indoor plants, look into low-maintenance plants such as air plants and succulents, which still add depth to a room.

Photo By Lydia Mailloux

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Play with Different Prints The easiest way to master a bohemian style is by layering patterns. Anything from contrasting rugs to colorful cushions and throws can be used to add personality to your space. Have fun mixing and contrasting different patterns, shapes and styles to easily create a lush, bohemian feel. With that said, make sure to keep a consistent color theme to prevent a disjointed feel.

Add Some Vintage or Handmade Items Boho interior design is all about unique flair. By adding pieces that tell a story can help bring the Photo by Micheile Henderson

whole look together. Incorporating mixed-matched furniture finds from a local thrift store or swap meet or souvenirs from a recent trip are perfect for your bohemian home.

Photo courtesy of Spacejoy

If you are attracted to a style full of carefree layers of pattern, texture, and color. Bohemian flow might be the right style for your home. For helpful tips and guidance, connect with an interior designer to help you master this look!

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3 TIPS TO CREATE YOUR DREAM SPACE Photos by Marcel Alain Photography

1. Find inspiration

2. Define your budget

3. Hire an expert

The first step to reinventing a space is to

Before jumping into an interior design

Hiring a professional interior designer

brainstorm your ideas. What is your design

project, it’s important to set budget

is like hiring an editor. Using years of

style? If you’re drawn to a specific color

expectations. A high-quality interior

industry knowledge and expertise, an

palette, furniture pieces, or materials, it

design project will factor in elements such

interior designer can add or subtract

may be nice to use that as a starting point

as shipping costs, installation charges,

elements of a room to make sure the space

in designing your dream space! Using

accessories, possible build-ins, and design

is achieving the desired effect. An expert

inspirational tools such as mood boards,

fees if you’re hiring a designer. If you’re on

designer is also keen in making sure your

Pinterest, and home design magazines can

a tight budget, it might be nice to limit the

vision isn’t being lost, all while staying

help you achieve your vision.

scope of your project rather than tackling

within your budget. Your vision is unique

everything all at once.

to you, so it’s important to feel that your new living space expresses who you are.

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Inspired by Life

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” And, indeed, dreamers and doers are needed as catalysts for change. In this issue, we ventured to seek out stories of local people with big dreams. Behind each story contains someone who holds a delicate fabric, ready to be woven into our beautiful community. Artists helping artists, business owners leading with passion, and a new generation of entrepreneurs barely scratches the surface of San Luis Obispo County’s inspiring leaders. So, as you read further, we invite you to learn more about those paving the way for change, and hope you feel inspired to inspire others as well.

Madeline Minas Executive Editor

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CENTRAL COAST ARTIST MARI ROBESON Article & Photos by Charlotte Ross

62 / Living Lavishly


ari Robeson is a local artist and writer based out

physically work. So like everyone else who had a crummy

of Arroyo Grande, California. She spent many

2020, I had to pivot.

years as an interior designer but now combines that with storytelling – through writing and podcasts – and painting.

I turned to my art and my writing as I had many times in

In this Q&A, Robeson shares her journey as an artist in all

my life, as a way to help me work through my challenges. I

different mediums and the importance of supporting the

used the physical pain as my teacher. I asked my body how

arts in our community.

I could heal and out of that I wrote a fantastical novel that I am now illustrating. It wasn’t what I expected to be doing

Q: Tell me more about your journey of what led you to where you’re at in your artistic profession today.

with my career at this point but to answer your question, that is where my journey in my artistic profession has led me to today. I’m so grateful I still have the ability to create, even if the path was one I never imagined I would take.

A: Thank you for asking. Like most artists, I was creative as a child and focused on those skills when I was in high

Q: How has being an artist shaped your life?

school. After high school I went to Cal Poly and graduated with a BS in Art & Design. I worked corporately after

A: Throughout my life, art has presented itself in many

college and when my first of three daughters was born, I

different forms. It has provided an income, it has provided

started my own business. My work has always been a mix

a place to express myself, it’s been my most helpful

of graphic design, painting, writing and interior design.

therapy, and as of late, it has brought me inner peace. At times my art has been a form of inspiration and other

I landed in the world of interior design for quite a long

times, a form of introspection.

time. I really enjoyed the process of creating a design and building something from an idea on a piece of paper.

I feel like artists see the world through a different lens.

During my time as an interior designer I noticed I couldn’t

We notice the negative spaces in between the leaves,

always find the perfect textile or wallpaper. So when

we see the beauty in the imperfect, messy parts of life

digital printing came along, I would design my own.

and when life hands us a car accident, we ask, “How can

That happened to get me noticed by Williams Sonoma

I use my creative gifts to see the world from this new,

and Pottery Barn. For a few years I worked for them as a

challenging perspective?”

freelance designer which was really interesting and fun. Designing products for the industry I loved was a perfect

If 2020 did anything, it made us all very aware that there

marriage of my artistic training and understanding how

are years that are blissful and years that are deeply

the end product would eventually be applied.

challenging. It has been my most challenging years when I realized that my art does not belong to me. To create art

Then, the journey shifted. At the beginning of 2020, my car

is more than how it has shaped my life, it is how I can use

was rear ended by a distracted driver while I was stopped

art to be of service to others. How can my stories and my

for a pedestrian at a crosswalk. The accident totaled

paintings help another person as well? Art is an offering of

my car and created a new set of physical challenges for

inspiration. It is a way of channeling joy with the hope to

myself. Even though construction and design would not

elevate others.

stop during Covid, my injuries left me where I couldn’t

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Q: Tell me about the art scholarship you offer to high school students. How did that all begin?

Q: What do you hope the scholars gain from your scholarship?

A: In 2016 my sister Louise, who I love dearly, passed away.

A: I would like all the recipients to know how supported

She was an incredible artist and always supported my

they are by the art community around them. I want to

artistic endeavors. She was also very philanthropic, and I

validate that creating art is important.

wanted to find a way to carry on her legacy. To honor her memory and how she helped so many, my husband and I created an Art & Dance Scholarship in her name. In 2019 the first recipients were awarded. Unfortunately, Covid delayed the past two years but we are excited to award 2022 recipients next Spring!

Q: What about your podcast? A: That is the main part of this mission, the YouTube podcast. I started the podcast because I know a lot of very successful artists and creative entrepreneurs. It’s one thing to hand someone a scholarship and another thing to also give them expert advice from artists and creatives who are thriving in their careers. I knew these artists would be willing to share their advice and the podcasts are a way to spotlight their creative journeys too. It’s a win all the way around. I grew up in the ‘starving artist’ generation. This is a limiting belief that stops a lot of artists from pursuing a creative career. I would like to transmute that old belief into a new generation of ‘thriving artists.’ We do this by sharing our stories and helping each other. There are so many ways to make an abundant living as a creative. The podcast gives evidence of that.

Q: Why do you think it’s important to highlight other artists in our community? A: I think it’s important because I feel like the artists are sometimes overlooked. It’s often the first program cut, as if there was no value in it. Yet if we were to take away all the beautiful art, sculpture, music, books,

64 / Living Lavishly

film, etc. it would be a rather melancholy existence. After

the Board for San Luis Obispo County Arts. Neal is on the

a year of being in our homes, I believe we can all agree

pulse of what the Central Coast Art Community needs and

on some level, our environment has a big impact on our

they do a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes.

productivity and happiness. Artists may have a different

Here’s what he had to say:

looking office, but it is still work. There is so much more than simply creating a piece of art. They wear all the hats

“It requires a person to take action on a lot of levels. At the

of an entrepreneur and we should support them whenever

most obvious level, buying work from an artist is a great

we can.

way to support, but don’t stop there. It is helpful for you to tell your circle, post about any work you’ve purchased

Q: What can we do to support other artists?

(or just like) from an artist on your social media platforms,

A: I love that you asked this question because it is so

Go to their events, and bring a friend or family member.

important. The Central Coast has an abundance of

Financially support local organizations that support artists

incredibly talented artists living here. It starts with

such as nonprofit arts programs – locally you can donate

awareness that these are small businesses too that need

money to the SLO County Arts Council. Lastly, support

the support from the community to survive.

local businesses that support artist opportunities – tell

and encourage the people who follow you to follow them.

those businesses why you’re spending money there, so The best person to really answer this question would be

they continue to give those opportunities to artists.”

my fellow artist friend, Neal Breton, who is the President of

- Neal Breton

(805) 547-1947

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Q: Do you have any big future plans with your own art or with others?

tuned for that! However, I am creating paintings for the

A: I do! As I mentioned before, I have written a novel. It’s a

exhibiting the full collection of paintings at Superfine in

story that I believe will help many people, that is written

San Francisco next February.

book version of it. I recently released four of the limited edition giclee prints that are part of the story. I will be

in a very fantastical way. The main story takes place in an enchanted house and its surrounding magical gardens. As I was writing, I sketched image after image. It kept presenting itself to me as an animated, stop motion film,

To connect with Mari Robeson or check out more of her

something like Alice in Wonderland meets Coraline. I love

work, you can visit or follow

film and have been learning animation but how this story

her YouTube channel and social media accounts.

will manifest, I have no idea just yet. You’ll have to stay

@MariRDesign on Instagram & Twitter.

66 / Living Lavishly

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SURROUNDED BY PLANTS The story of Gabriel Frank of Gardens by Gabriel – where his passion for the natural world began and what it inspired. Article & Photos by Charlotte Ross


rom a young age, Gabriel Frank was always surrounded by plants. His parents were gardeners, and as far back as he can remember, they grew their own food. “They rolled me into the garden and Earth from day one,” he said, “it was just part of what we did.”

It wasn’t until he was older that Frank realized not every kid grew up this way – with their own garden.

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The Frank family lived in Plant City, Florida where strawberries and citrus grow in abundance. Frank always knew his passions were in the realm of horticulture, so he took jobs working at nurseries and with landscapers to confirm his intuition. . Once he knew it was what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, Frank left Florida and headed to the city to attend a two-year program at the New York Botanical Garden. Here, he studied at the School of Professional Horticulture. It was in Manhattan where Gardens by Gabriel first blossomed. Frank’s business started small and simple, with just townhouses and window boxes, but almost 20 years later his gardens have transformed several yards on the Central Coast. During college, he and one of his classmates flew out to Mendocino, CA for a six-month internship, where they got hooked on both the plants and the local weather.

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Pismo Beach | Avila Beach | Central Coast

After the program, decided to go back to California

Australia, Chile, South Africa, and the Mediterranean

where the plants and culture were calling him.

Basin) and drought-tolerant vegetation. When his crew

His college friend had moved to Los Angeles but Frank knew he wanted to be away from the city, so he followed his grandparent’s suggestion and visited San Luis

has full reign over a yard, they can create spaces with edible plants, succulents, boulder work, natural stone for sitting areas and patios, water features, pergolas, and more.

Obispo, which is where he decided to stay. His classmate

Frank’s gardens can be found up and down the Central

eventually moved up to the Central Coast too, and

Coast between Arroyo Grande and Cambria. His team

became both the designer for “Gardens by Gabriel” —

specifically focuses on local projects, which take

and Frank’s roommate.

on average about two to three weeks to finish. The

Today, the garden business is based out of Morro Bay and employs a small team of five installers, two designers, a project manager, an officer manager, and Gabriel Frank himself. Frank said he never wanted a large

landscaping team puts their full energy into each design, showing up each day at the same time with the same crew, in order to make the constructive process go as quickly as possible.

crew of landscapers with big trucks, but rather, a smaller

“In landscaping, you make this huge mess and then turn

crew that could properly focus on “high quality artistic

it into something beautiful,” said Frank. He emphasizes

environments” – which typically includes anything from

that after being invited into someone’s home, it’s

full native plant gardens with succulent spotlights,

important to make their dream a reality before leaving.

Mediterranean inspired spaces (from California,

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Frank said he hopes Gardens by Gabriel will inspire other artists to create their own art – “all artistic endeavors and pathways of creative work create a community of artistry,” he said. “I want people to live happier, healthier lives. And spending time outside in nature in your own backyard paradise is a bridge to that.” Frank currently lives in Santa Margarita with his wife, whom he originally met in Morro Bay many years ago, as well as their two children. Each year they plant sunflowers, peas, and beans together — and although right now plants might not currently be his children’s first priority, he

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said he’s already noticed their “growing” curiosity towards them.

Book Spotlight: Striking Succulent Gardens Gabriel Frank recently came out with his first book, “Striking Succulent Gardens,” where he demystifies assumptions about succulents and helps readers think like a designer. Frank breaks down his creative process when designing succulent gardens, introduces new species, and encourages intentional design on a simple level. His book can be found in local nurseries and bookstores (Growing Grounds, Coalesce, Boo Boo Records, etc.) and on Amazon.

To learn more about Gardens by Gabriel, please visit


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LUXURY PICNICS ON THE CENTRAL COAST Article & Photos by Charlotte Ross

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ll along our golden coast lies beautiful beaches and cliff sides, ideal for enjoying a meal with a view. San Luis Obispo County offers surreal scenery for celebrating both

big and small life moments with the people we love – whether it’s birthday parties, bridal showers, anniversaries, or date nights – and now we can do it with a luxury picnic. Pop-up picnic businesses have been blooming around California during the pandemic, and just this year, two more have come to our parks and beaches.

Meet Cassidy from “A Little Picnic” Just a few months before Cassidy Tomasini launched her picnic business, she was scrolling through social media and came across a pop-up picnic in San Francisco. Her first thought was, “I want to go to San Francisco and have a cute picnic there,” which eventually turned into “I want to start my own picnic business here on the Central Coast… Why not?” – and so, “A Little Picnic” bloomed. Tomasini graduated from Cal Poly in June 2021 with a degree in Recreation, Parks, & Tourism Administration, which she credits for all of her ideas and confidence in creating the business. At the beginning, she says she was intimidated to take the first leap, but had to just remind herself to go for it and figure things out along the way, and so she did. She took a few months to purchase all of her picnic supplies, take photos, start an Instagram page, and create a website before making “A Little Picnic” public around Valentine’s Day. Now, Tomasini sets up, on average, 1-2 picnics per week as a side passion. She meets people from all over – locally, out of town, and even out of state, and each picnic is just as exciting as the first. “My favorite thing is seeing people’s reactions,” she says. “I love seeing people enjoy [the picnics] and be happy.” Tomasini says her picnic business allows people to celebrate

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all the special moments they missed in quarantine and

include a cake, donuts, a polaroid camera to take

experience the Central Coast in a more intimate way.

instant photos, painting supplies, balloons, and a

Tomasini has a list of suggested picnic locations on her website, which include some of our local beaches and

charcuterie board, which comes prepackaged from “Little Grazer” in Atascadero.

parks, two of the most popular including Shell Beach

Owning her own small business, Tomasini says, has

and Avila Beach. The basic picnic setup includes a

encouraged her to support other small businesses

floor covering for the sand, pillows, a sit-down table,

even more. “It makes me so excited when people book

dishware, glassware, sparkling cider, and flowers.

my picnics, so I want to be able to share that with

“Every celebration needs flowers,” Tomasini says, smiling. And then there are add-on options which

others even more,” she said. which is why she buys her charcuterie boards and baked goods locally. The name “A Little Picnic,” was chosen to honor Tomasini’s grandpa, who passed away when she was in high school. He was also a small business owner for a floral shop in Santa Maria, called “A Little Something.” Tomasini says she has fond memories of going to his shop when she was younger and receiving colorful flower arrangements for every holiday. Now she insists on having flowers at each picnic, and eventually would like to make her own bouquets.

“My favorite thing is seeing people’s reactions.” Tomasini says she is happy living in San Luis Obispo County and setting up picnics as a side hobby, but would love to expand her business and grow larger. She says she wants to put more energy into “A Little Picnic,” and eventually set up picnic parties for big gatherings and corporate get-togethers.

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e can assist you step by step find the right design and selections fit your needs and lifestyle.




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Meet Mimi from “Mimi’s Picnics”

After lost internships and missed opportunities from

too, says the major helped guide her in planning how to

the pandemic, Amelia Puhek (Mimi) knew she wanted

make her business affordable and attainable. Puhek went

to do something creative on her own. For almost an

to stores like HomeGoods and World Market to make her

entire year, she looked for inspiration and thought about

boho dream a reality, where she collected the dishware,

starting her own pop-up picnic business. She had visions

pillows, baskets, decor, etc. and had a friend of her

of boho decor on her mind and vague plans of what

father’s build the sit-down table.

she needed to begin; the list kept growing longer, and it wasn’t until March 2021 when she was finally able to launch “Mimi’s Picnics.”

When Puhek first began her business, the picnic groups started out as two to four people celebrating birthdays, bachelorette parties, or anniversaries. Now, her average

Puhek, like Tomasini, graduated from Cal Poly in June

picnic consists of two to six people, with occasional

2021 with a degree in Recreation, Parks, & Tourism

large gatherings. For Mother’s Day, she set up a 20

Administration (Experience Industry Management). She,

person picnic for a family friend and had to collect more supplies, including three more tables.

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“Mimi’s Picnics” offers two different packages; the

to give people a reason to still celebrate in dark times —

“Classic” which is more simple and elegant with neutral

and seeing how positive they react — is what she says

colors and decor, and the “Add a Little Sparkle,” which

she loves most.

is more celebratory with colorful pillows, dry flowers, and feathers. Both setups include a table with all of the dishware, and guests can choose from a list of add-ons on Puhek’s site. These additions include a donut wall (which she says the kids go crazy for), a tipi (which offers shade for kids and babies), a charcuterie box (presealed and made locally from Farm & Harvest), a bluetooth speaker, and paint supplies.

Puhek says she has had people from all over California book her picnics. On average, she sets up two picnics every two weeks – which she says is perfect with her full time job. Typically, the picnics are on the weekends or at sunset, so Puhek loads up her car early in the morning then goes straight to the beach or park after work to set up. “It’s a good challenge for me,” Puhek says about balancing

One of Puhek’s favorite picnics, and one of her firsts, was a surprise birthday celebration for one of her good friends – she was blindfolded all the way there and when the picnic was revealed, Puhek says her friend was shocked with excitement, which reassured her that she

the two. “It helps me realize how much I love it, because I get off of a full day shift then still have energy and excitement for setting it up. I love it.” She says people are always very accommodating with her schedule and when they book early in advance, she almost always makes it work.

was doing something good with her business. Being able


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Like Tomasini, Puhek plans on staying on the Central

To learn more about A Little Picnic, please visit

Coast to continue working and setting up picnics on, or follow @alittlepicnic.slo

the side. She mentions San Luis Obispo County is the

on Instagram.

perfect spot for enjoying relaxing, yet luxurious dining with a view of the ocean. When she first started

To learn more about Mimi’s Picnics, please visit

“Mimi’s Picnics,” she was worried it would be a flop,, or follow @mimispicnics on

but since then, has been pleasantly surprised at how


successful it has become. Far in the future, Puhek says she imagines opening something even bigger — like a picnic style “we come to you” restaurant with the same earthy, boho style. Until then, she wants to keep growing as a small business and maybe find people to help her later on.

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HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR KNIVES Tips from Juan the Sharpener

A sharp knife makes cooking dinner for your loved ones a pleasure. A dull knife can make it a frustrating chore. So how do you keep a sharp knife from losing its edge? I tell my customers that a knife well sharpened will keep its edge for months if they take care of it – and it’s easy to get the job done. Here are four easy tips for doing so. — Juan the Sharpener

1. Cut on wood, not on plastic.

2. Keep it clean, please.

People like plastic cutting boards because they’re

For a sharp knife, cleanliness is next to – well, long life. Once

convenient. Trouble is, they dull sharp knives. A wood

you’re done cutting, don’t leave your knife to its own devices on

board is better – and an end-grain board is better yet.

the counter or, worse, in the sink. Wash it, rinse it off, dry it and put it away.

3. Think “social distancing” when storing your knives.

4. Avoid the daily grind.

Nothing chips a sharp edge faster than another sharp edge.

Here’s the truth about those fool-proof $19.95 sharpening gizmos

This means your knives won’t get along with the neighbors

you see advertised on television: They’re junk. The things eat steel

if you let them clank around loose in a drawer. Keep the

for lunch – and if you have one, call me and I’ll come throw it away

peace with drawer dividers or a knife block on the counter.

for you. Then I’ll give your knives a proper sharpening.

Photos by Marisa Flores


Schedule an appointment with Juan the Sharpener today! 805-878-5203


Mention Living Lavishly Magazine for 10% off all your sharpening needs. *one coupon per customer, per appointment 81 / Living Lavishly

HOW TO LIVE A LUXE LIFE Learn how to live a luxurious life, even if you haven’t achieved your financial goals.

By Victoria Sexton Photos by Bryan Kirkpatrick While there’s nothing quite like living a luxurious life, the fact of the matter is that most people are still working on their financial goals. However, that’s hardly a reason not to live a luxurious life, especially here on the Central Coast. It doesn’t matter if the bank balance shows a million dollars or a thousand dollars — a luxurious life can still be within reach. Living a luxurious life is a lifestyle, not just a financial status. It’s a state of mind that anyone can take advantage of. Here are just a few ways to live a luxurious life, with or without a luxurious bank account.

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Splurge, but only once in a while Long-term financial planning can feel like running a marathon. As with any long-term goal, resilience and endurance are key. Saving money is great, but life is short. Splurging can feel utterly luxurious. A well-timed splurge can feel indulgent and can help someone stay the course with financial planning. The key is knowing what to splurge on and where to save. Find areas where you can splurge every once in a while. A well-timed spa day won’t bust the budget, and the rest and relaxation might be just what’s needed to keep on track in the long run. Small splurges keep the momentum going and help to ensure that those financial goals become a reality. The rest of the time? Find ways to save that don’t bust the bank, such as a delicious dinner at home, made with fresh local ingredients.

On the Central Coast, every day is a vacation While most people dream of just vacationing on the Central Coast of California, some people get to experience a vacation every day. For those fortunate to live here, picture the area through the eyes of a tourist. Enjoy every day as if it were a staycation. On the Central Coast, even the day trips aren’t far from home. Take that day trip to Cambria. Visit the elephant seals in San Simeon. Go wine tasting in Paso Robles or kayaking in Avila Beach. Take advantage of everything that this area has to offer. Soak up every rich experience, and be grateful to live in such an amazing community.

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Tap into a wealthy mindset Explore what a wealthy mindset really means. In many

especially here on the Central Coast. Take some time to

ways, the definition of “wealthy” is all relative. For

enjoy the sunshine and lean into that everyday luxury of

many people, “wealthy” might be a number. For others,

living on the central coast.

“wealthy” might mean freedom of choice or something entirely different. Wealth exists in many areas — not just financially. Wealth can describe non-monetary items, such as friendships, food, and experiences. Think of all the ways life can be rich and lean into gratitude for what you have.

Victoria Sexton is a financial coach. She helps her clients to make their money fun, easy and effortless. When she’s not working with clients or writing her latest book, she’s spending time with her husband and two boys.

These are just a few ways to make your life luxurious.

For more information go to: or email

Living a luxe life is more easily attainable than it seems,

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The Living Lavishly Wine Guide

As we kick off the Central Coast’s annual harvest season, we thought it would be appropriate to launch our first ever Living Lavishly Wine Guide. In this guide, we cover a range of wines, wineries, and various ways to enjoy your favorite glass. Whether you’re new to the Central Coast wine scene or a seasoned pro, we hope you enjoy reading more about what our wine region has to offer. From robust reds to crisp whites — we know there’s something in here for everyone. Cheers!

Madeline Minas Executive Editor

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THE PERFECT PAIRING 90 / Living Lavishly

By Nicole Mines

Find your ideal wine and cheese duo. It’s hard to go wrong with a glass of Central Coast wine and cheese. That’s why we’ve created your ultimate Perfect Pairing Guide to help you discover just how delicious these iconic duos can be. But before jumping into our recommended pairings, it’s important to not overthink it! Everyone has their own taste preferences. When hosting a gathering, it’s good to offer at least one white wine and one red wine with an array of cheeses: hard, soft, sharp, mild, and so much more. It’s always nice to let your guests decide which pairing they favor the most! If you’re interested in learning more about achieving the perfect pairing, here are some simple things to keep in mind: • Full-bodied and bold. Full-bodied wines go well with bold cheeses such as sharp or aged cheeses. • Soft and light. Soft cheeses pair well with white wines or sparkling wines, especially those that are light on oak flavors.

The pleasant bubbles and high acid of champagne combined with the soft texture of brie is an iconic


duo worth pairing. Something sharp and acidic is needed to cut through the fat that brie provides. The end result? A satisfying contrast.





Known for its mineral notes and citrus flavors, sauvignon blanc brings out the earthy and nutty


flavors in goat cheese. Since goat cheese can be more on the heavy side, it’s agreeable to balance it out with some acidity.




Traditionally, the lighter flavors of rosé wine feature crisp notes of red fruit, flowers, citrus, and melon. This profile pairs well with Havarti cheese, which is slightly acidic but with a buttery taste.


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Pinot noir is a light to medium bodied red wine that is typically fruit-forward, offering strong


notes of darker berries and spices. This pairs well with Gruyere which is known for its rich, creamy, salty, and nutty flavor profile.


Pinot Noir

Tempranillo packs a bold and structured flavor. This full-bodied red wine hosts notes of spice


and fruit forward tastes. This pairs well with Gouda, which offers flavors of sweet and creamy nuttiness, and a dense, springy texture.



Common flavor profiles of Sangiovese include notes of red fruits like cherries, strawberries, plums, and raspberries. Sangiovese pairs well with the firm-textured Pecorino Toscano, a sturdy and nutty cheese offering hints of salt and an




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e ves

underlying savory, sweet flavor.


Malbec is known to be a dry, full-bodied wine exhibiting a rich, dark fruit nose with flavors


of blackberry or red plum, and notes of vanilla, tobacco, dark chocolate, and oak. Its bold taste pairs well with Swiss cheese, which has a milder flavor and dense, firm texture.


Cab’s full-body and rich tastes of dark fruit with savory notes like pepper, cedar, oak, and herbs



pair well with aged cheeses. This bold combination adds a sharper and more intense flavor combination that packs a polished punch.



Traditionally firm textured Petite Sirahs offer a more acidic taste, with underlying flavors of fruit like plums and blueberries and herbal overtones. This pairs well with the creamy flavors of Mozzarella cheese — which is more delicate and soft.

Petite Sirah


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Staff Picks:

OUR FAVORITE WINERIES It’s no secret that San Luis Obispo County has a plethora of gorgeous wineries to choose from. Our team of writers, designers, marketers, and self-proclaimed wine aficionados brought forward what their favorite wineries on the Central Coast were, and why. From bold reds wines in North San Luis Obispo County to the delicious white wines in South County, and all of the creative varietals in between, we had quite a selection to choose from!

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“For an interactive experience, I love visiting Sculpterra Winery in Paso Robles. Their extensive sculpture garden is always so pleasant to walk around and their Primitivo is definitely a must-have! For a more relaxed experience and a delicious bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, my go-to winery is Edna Valley. Their tasting room view of the iconic rolling hills of Edna Valley are always a sight to behold.” — Madeline Minas, Executive Editor

“My favorite winery to visit on the Central Coast is Talley Vineyards because they have an excellent pinot noir and chardonnay. Their tasting room is nuzzled away in between acres of vines, located in the Arroyo Grande Valley. It has panoramic views of not only vines, but also other fruits and vegetables. Their staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable too.” — Emilia Bollini, Art Director & Graphic Designer

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“My favorite wineries to visit are Kelsey See Canyon and Baileyana. Kelsey See Canyon has free roaming peacocks, live music and the wine is delicious. Baileyana has delicious wines, indoor and outdoor tasting areas, bocce ball courts, large picnic areas, and allows you to bring in your own food.” — Jessica Micklus, Sales & Marketing Director

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“Peacock Cellars in Arroyo Grande has delicious wines, a wonderful hometown feel, and amazing service. The staff always goes out of their way to make you feel welcome and cared for. The tasting room has plenty of places to sip wine with friends and family and a cute country market where you can buy yummy local produce and baked goods. Whenever family and friends visit us from out of town, we take them to Peacock Cellars, and the consensus is always that it is the BEST WINERY on the Central Coast!” — David Diaz, CTO

“Baileyana, Tangent & True Myth Tasting Room is my favorite winery on the Central Coast. I love that they have several brands and types of wines to choose from all-in-one space. Additionally, their outdoor space is beautiful and casual. I can lay a blanket down and sit on the grass with friends and our kids for a family friendly wine tasting day. The Bocce Ball courts are an added benefit to those that want an activity while enjoying their wine too.” — Kelley Braga, Operations & Events Manager

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“As a lover of red wines, I am on the constant hunt to

“My favorite winery in North County is Tooth & Nail. A

find my favorite in the Paso Roble area. Since beginning

visit to this winery makes you feel as if you’re embarking

my venture into Paso Wine Country, I have found my

on an experience straight out of a fairy tale. Tasting

favorite wines to come from Thatcher Winery, Steinbeck

wines here is like being a prince or a princess, visiting

Winery, and Eberle Winery. Each one has a rich history

a castle with a real moat and the most gorgeous views

and beautiful wines. I make sure to visit these spots as often

of the vineyards of Paso Robles. Avila Beach’s Kelsey See

as possible.”

Canyon Vineyards has real live peacocks on-site, so you

— Maddison Stevens, Marketing Coordinator “My favorite winery to visit on the Central Coast is the Hearst Ranch Winery in San Simeon because it has such a beautiful view. The seating is right above the San Simeon State Park, surrounded by Eucalyptus trees, so you can relax while you sip on wine and watch the waves roll in. One of my favorite strolls for sunset is through the cypress trees right above the beach there as well, so it’s the perfect spot to drive out to on the weekends. Plus, there are zebras and elephant seals nearby!” — Charlotte Ross, Lifestyle Writer

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can drink with the birds — and it’s really close to the beach if you’d like to make a seaside picnic excursion with your purchases, after your tasting. Finally, I really enjoy Tolosa Winery in Edna Valley because it’s a classic, and it has such a storied background.” — Molly O’Brien, Associate Editor

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Every year, people fall victim to carbon monoxide

Even though most heaters don’t have a problem, you can’t

poisoning caused by a heaters’ combustion byproducts

afford to guess. If you truly have a cracked or failed heat

silently entering the home instead of going out the

exchanger it is serious, and in some cases, can be fatal.

chimney. The silent enemy is odorless, tasteless, and

This is why your heater should be regularly maintained

colorless. The tragedy? In most cases, early detection and

and have the heat exchanger inspected annually-

regular maintenance could have prevented the problem.

especially if you’re not absolutely sure of its condition.

It often boils down to whether or not you have a bad heat

Unfortunately, this is where trusting homeowners

exchanger. The heat exchanger is the metal passage the

can also be misled into replacing their heater, without

heater’s combustion products pass through, separating the

accurately verifying their heater even has a real problem.

flame’s harmful gases from the indoor air being heated.

Knowing up front what a bad heat exchanger is, and

In fact, 1 out of every 10 heaters over 15 years old, where annual maintenance has been neglected, will probably have a breached

how to verify this problem may someday save you from unnecessary expense and grief.

heat exchanger and potentially dangerous carbon monoxide

Here are the top questions we get, and what you need to

poisoning. The odds increase as the equipment ages.

know about bad heat exchangers:

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1. How long will my heater last? First, it is important to know that every heater, no matter what the age, can become unsafe - but the average life of a heater is about 10 - 15 years. If a heat exchanger has cracks and holes, it can be dangerous. Many are surprised to find out some heat exchangers that Wighton’s has inspected over the years contain cracks and holes -- even those that were installed within the last ten years.

2. What causes a heat exchanger to fail? The heat exchanger is constantly heating, expanding and contracting as the unit heats up and cools down. The stress of this constant expansion and contraction will eventually wear the metal out. This is known as metal fatigue. Over time this will cause the metal in the heat exchanger to split or crack - no different than if you were to bend a paperclip back and forth until it breaks. Horizontal heaters, typically installed in the attic-space above the home, and oversized heaters are subject to worse stress and usually wear out sooner due to their operating conditions. If either condition exists in your home, it is critical that you have a system performance check of your heater completed every year - especially if it is over 10 years old. When a failed heat exchanger is discovered, the heater must be shut off for obvious safety reasons. Since it is against the law to repair it, the heat exchanger or the entire heater must be replaced.

3. Is there a foolproof way to verify a heater is still good? The only true way to know for sure if your heat exchanger is cracked is to visually see the crack. This can be accomplished by either removing the blower housing or cutting an access into the ductwork on the top of the heater and then inserting a light into the burner area where the flame usually is. If the heat exchanger is cracked, you will see light shining through the cracked heat exchanger. If you don’t feel confident checking your own heat exchanger, the surest & safest way to know if you have a breached heat exchanger and potentially dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning is to hire a professional. A reputable company will always personally show you the crack or hole, so there is no doubt in your mind about their integrity or honesty. Mr. Schorer of Wighton’s Heating and Air Conditioning agrees that people should always be cautious when this diagnosis is given because the repair or replacement can be quite an investment. Your heater should be regularly maintained and your heat exchanger should be inspected annually — especially if you’re not absolutely sure of its condition.

Wighton’s goal is to keep you and your family healthy! We encourage you to have your Heating, Air Conditioning & Indoor Air Quality checked by one of our professional technicians. P R E SE NT E D BY

Schedule a Heating System Performance Check with Wighton’s today. (805) 543-4881 |


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Quick Decanting Guide By Nicole Mines

What is Decanting Wine? Decanting wine is the simple act of letting wine have some air time. Carefully pouring certain wines into another container — without distributing the sediment at the bottom — can help improve the taste. Different types of glass vessels work for different purposes. Examples include standard decanters, swan, cornett, and duck, which all come in varying sizes.

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How Long Does it Take to Decant Wine?

Light-Bodied Red Wines

Medium-Bodied Red Wines

20 - 30 MIN

30 - 60 MIN

- Pinot Noir

- Gamay

- Zinfandel

- Malbec

- Primitivo

- Grenache

- Cabernet Franc

- Sangiovese

- Merlot

- Tempranillo

- Shiava

Full-Bodied Red Wine 60+ MIN

White Wines & Rosè 15 - 20 MIN

- Cabernet Sauvignon

- Mourvèdre

- Petit Sirah

- Sagrantino

- Tannat

- Aglianico

Most white wines and rose wines don’t need to be decanted. In fact, they should only be decanted if the wine shows signs of reduction or lacks aromas.

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Creating the Perfect At-Home Wine Tasting By Molly O’Brien

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Three SLO CAL event planners and wine experts share their expert insight on how to host the perfect at-home wine tasting experience.

1 . First, set the tone by preparing a spread of some locally curated cheeses and bites. “Keep it fun!” said Amber Karson, founder and owner of downtown SLO-based boutique luxury event planning firm, Karson Butler Events. Karson has produced wine-focused events across the globe including The World of Pinot Noir annual festival, The Paso Robles Wine Festival and the Santa Barbara Wine Auction. “Elevate your at-home tasting event with a thoughtful cheese display - we love pairing our wine with a variety of easy to grab nibbles.”

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2. Second, consider choosing a theme for your at-home tasting before purchasing your wines.

“The theme can be white wines, or red wines, or [both],” said Tolosa’s In-House Master Sommelier, Bob Bath. Bath has been working in the industry for almost three decades, and was one of the first 25 Master Sommeliers in the United States. “You might want to feature a particular region or a particular variety — you might want to have a ‘horizontal tasting,’ which is a tasting of wines from the same vintage. Or a vertical tasting which is a tasting of the same wine from different vintages. It’s up to you.”

3. Next, ready your wines for serving.

Bath recommends aerating them if necessary, and taking them out of any temperature controlled storage ahead of time and letting them warm up for a bit. “I like to serve my red wines — particularly Pinot Noir — around 65 degrees and those Chardonnays around 55-60 degrees,” said Bath. “You may want to decant your young wines for aeration purposes, or aged wines for sediment purposes.”

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4. Keep an open mind!

5. Finally, remember to enjoy the evening, yourself!

Try hosting your tasting outdoors, purchase a few new types of wine to test out, or experiment with different

One of the best parts of hosting an at-home tasting

combinations of pairings. “When planning your at-

is that you can take your time enjoying the experience.

home tasting, experiment with wines in non-traditional

“Our favorite part of hosting at-home tasting sessions

packaging including screw tops, cans and boxed wine,”

is the ability to linger long into the night — no time

said Justin Baldwin, Founder of JUSTIN Vineyards &

limits,” said Karson. “There is nothing better than

Winery. “These are new age alternatives to cork

a SLO CAL evening with friends over for a glass of

finished wine. They’re a practical and unpretentious

wine (or two!).”

twist on an old method that supports an al fresco setting, and a new meaning to living lavishly!”

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How to Organize the

PERFECT WINE TOUR Photos and Article by Laura Jeffrey

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ine tasting has always been a popular pastime here on the Central Coast. Locals love opting for a day out that provides a fun way

to enjoy the world-class wines and the beauty of the Central Coast wine country. With that said, spur-of-the-moment trips from winery-to-winery are almost certainly a relic of pre-pandemic days. Here are some tips to make any excursion in wine country as successful as possible.

Plan early The pandemic has changed the way local wineries welcome guests back for tastings. During the off-and-on closures, most wineries transitioned to seated tastings. Gone are the days where you bellied up to the bar with strangers on either side. With slots often filling up for weekend tasting reservations days or weeks in advance, planning a wine tour before the last minute ensures tasters their top choices in wineries will be available.

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Hire a professional

Have a designated driver

Professional tour companies have experience with the

Hiring a professional is recommended, but if availability

multiple booking platforms and reservation systems

or budget doesn’t allow it, it’s best to assign one person

that can lead to confusion for many wine consumers.

in the group to abstain from any alcohol tasting. As

Furthermore, touring organizers have working

tempting as it might be to sample along with the party,

relationships with tasting room managers, often allowing

this can prove dangerous. Reward the DD with a special

for more flexibility than online booking platforms allow.

bottle from each winery to enjoy at a later date.

The bottom line is that making reservations is the key to a successful winery visit; this is where a professional company that offers this service can save time, energy, and headaches.

Hydrate This may seem obvious, but for every glass of wine consumed, an equivalent amount of water can offset the dehydration that alcohol causes. Bringing a refillable water bottle is great, but some wineries may not fill them at this time. Most seated wine tastings will have a carafe of water for the table, so don’t be shy to ask for refills.

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What to wear, and what not to wear Since tasting rooms are usually surrounded by beautiful vines and rolling hills, they usually provide the perfect Kodak moment for any tasting group, so dress accordingly. No matter the style, wearing comfortable shoes is recommended because the opportunity to walk in the vineyard or through a cellar (with possibly wet floors) may present itself. On the Central Coast, being prepared means having


layers of clothing for any day out. With tastings both in-and-out-of-doors, a jacket or light sweater can be a lifesaver. The temperature can vary as much as 40 degrees from the hottest Paso Robles afternoon to a chilly cellar or wine cave. Even more important is what not to wear. The biggest no-no’s in the tasting room are perfumes, colognes, or lotions with a strong scent. Part of the tasting experience is finding the variance in aromas among different wines. Wearing a strong scent makes it more difficult to pick up the nuances of the wine and inhibits others’ ability to do the same.

Bring food Again, planning is the key to a fun day and it’s more fun without rumbling stomachs. Noshing on a few crackers is not a proper meal, so remember to work in lunch for the day. Bringing a picnic set-up is usually acceptable at wineries that don’t offer their own menu. As a general rule of thumb, if the winery sells and/or serves food, then bringing in outside food is prohibited. There are many amazing menus to be found in wine country—after all, good wine and good food are a harmonious match. The best resource is the winery website, as most will post their offerings.


(805) 541-5800 113 / Living Lavishly

Tipping is appreciated Even though tipping is not typically expected, it is always appreciated. Winery and tasting room pourers offer a service in the same way a restaurant server, hair stylist, barista, bartender, and other service workers do. In wine tasting rooms, a server may even offer an advanced wine education lesson, a tour, and up to an hour of a personalized conversation. So, if you find yourself receiving memorable and outstanding service, don’t forget to leave a tip as a thank you.

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Final Thoughts The theme is clear by now, but mapping out a day of wine tasting in advance is the best way to have a great experience and to avoid disappointment. Whether using the services of an experienced tour organizer or DIY-ing a group’s day out, the combination of thorough planning and a designated driver are sure to maximize any visit to the Central Coast’s wine country.

Laura Jeffrey, owner and operator of 101 Wine Tours, has been providing private custom tours for seven years on the Central Coast, where she finds the proliferation of artisans and quality- driven small business an inspiration. Laura is a Certified Sommelier and a proud member of local wine alliances, chambers of commerce, and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. For more information, visit or call (805) 874 – CORK (2675).

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For more information or to see a Valor in person, visit Pacific Energy 2121 Santa Barbara Ave. San Luis Obispo 805-544-4700

In the Kitchen

Let’s get cooking! We connected with local chefs and farmers to bring you this season’s must-try recipes. Fall and winter harvests are an exciting time of the year, especially with holiday gatherings in the mix. With comforting veggie plates, hearty meals, and savory side dishes — what’s not to love? Plus, with San Luis County’s wide range of climates, our backyards and farms are able to grow fruits and vegetables that many people, far and wide, seek to have in their kitchens. So, as you read more about what’s in season, what to grow, and what to eat, we hope you feel compelled to try something new!

Madeline Minas Executive Editor

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COOKWELL CORNER By Courtney Coleman

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Fall Veggie Stir-Steam Ingredients: · 2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil · 2 cups carrots, yam, burdock root, or fennel bulb (or all four!), sliced into ¼ in pieces · 1 cup filtered water · 1 tbsp ground ginger · 1 tsp ground coriander · 2 cups fresh green beans or broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces · 2 tsp fresh minced dill (or 1/2 tsp dried dill) · 1 bunch kale or collard greens, chopped into bite-size pieces · 2 cups diced green cabbage · 3 tbsp Ohsawa or Eden brand tamari soy sauce OR 1 tsp unrefined salt · Juice of a ripe lemon

Preparation: In a large stainless steel or cast iron frying pan or wok with a lid, place ghee or coconut oil over medium heat, spreading evenly over the bottom of the pan. Immediately add dense veggies like carrots or burdock root, water, and ground ginger and coriander. Stir well so spices spread evenly over all the root veggies and cover with lid. After four minutes, stir, then add green beans or broccoli. Cover and cook for another two minutes. Stir again, and layer kale or collard greens and cabbage on top, and cover with lid for two more minutes, remove lid and stir. When all the greens appear wet and slightly wilted, turn off heat and sprinkle in dill, soy sauce or salt, and lemon juice. Stir one last time and enjoy!

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Delightfully Stuffed Mushrooms This is a recipe I came up with recently for a friend’s housewarming party, and it was a total hit! I hope you have a delightful time making this recipe your own, with your favorite vegetables, cheeses and herbs... there’s so much room for creativity here!with lid for two more minutes, remove lid and stir.



· 24 large cremini mushrooms

First, you’ll want to dust, de-stem, and bake your criminis (cup-side -down)

· 2 sticks organic salted butter (or ghee) · 2 cups cooked brown rice (or any cooked whole grain) · 1 minced yellow onion

at 350 degrees for 12 minutes on a cookie sheet (ungreased - don’t worry, they won’t stick). This bakes most of the juices out so that when you bite into them, they don’t squirt hot water in your mouth! Next, let them cool a bit, shake them free of excess water, then baste them with melted, organic, salted butter (or ghee). Set your basted

· 3-5 large cloves garlic

mushrooms cup-side-up on a baking sheet. Stuff each mushroom with

· ½ tsp unrefined salt

about one heaping teaspoon of this mixture:

· 2 cups finely minced kale

Two cups cooked brown rice mixed with a minced onion that’s been

· 1 lb grated sharp cheddar (I like goat cheddar!) · 4 oz sliced black olives · 1 cup minced chives or parsley · 1 tbsp each dried marjoram and dill

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sauteed in butter for about five minutes, 3-5 minced cloves garlic, ½ tsp salt, two cups minced kale, 1lb grated raw or goat cheddar, 4 oz sliced black olives, one cup minced fresh chives or parsley, and dried marjoram and sage. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then let cool for five minutes before serving...YUM!!

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Yam-Portabella Bake



· 4 tbsp pasture butter, ghee or

Rub a glass casserole baking dish with

virgin coconut oil · 2 large yams - any variety - Garnet, This dish is super decadent, and it holds its own on any fall or winter dinner table, even as a main dish. Enjoy!

Jewel, Hana or Okinawa/Japanese

In a large, stainless steel pot over low heat, place one cup water, butter or ghee or coconut oil, and diced, bite-size pieces

· 2 large portabella mushrooms

of yams and portabella mushrooms.

· 1 cup water

When water heats and butter/oil melts,

· 1 tbsp ground coriander and 1 tsp ground ginger (OR 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice) · ½ tsp nutmeg · 3 tbsp Eden or San-J brands tamari soy sauce (or ½ tsp unrefined salt) · Optional: 2 cups raw pecans for the top

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butter, ghee or coconut oil and set aside.

sprinkle in coriander and ginger (or pumpkin pie spice), nutmeg, and soy sauce. Turn off heat and stir well until all the yams and mushrooms are coated with this lovely sauce. Lay yams and mushrooms with all the sauce into the casserole dish. Sprinkle with raw pecans if desired. Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350 degrees...YUMMY!

Vibrant Veggies with Olive Oil & Lemon This is a GREAT, super simple way to balance out a rich, salty, heavy meal with vibrant steamed veggies and the tangy flavor of lemon juice.

Ingredients: · 2 cups diced root veggies (carrot, yam, fennel bulb, burdock root, turnip, etc) · 2 cups diced medium-dense veggies (broccoli, green bean, cauliflower, etc) · 2 big handfuls of chopped kale, collards, cabbage, or any cruciferous greens · 2-3 tbsp good quality, virgin olive oil · Juice of 2 ripe lemons

Preparation: In a deep, medium sized stainless steel saucepan, place a fitting steamer basket and about two cups of water in the bottom. Wash and slice any root veggies into 1/4 inch pieces. Place the root veggies in the bottom of the steamer basket, and steam for about four minutes until almost tender. Next, add about two cups of diced medium-dense veggies

HEY, Siri.


and steam for another two minutes. Lastly, stuff two big handfuls of greens on top of the other veggies, cover again, and steam for another 2-3 minutes. When all the greens are slightly wilted and wet-looking, carefully transfer all the steaming veggies into a dish and drizzle everything with lemon juice and olive oil. Voila!

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3 EASY IN-SEASON RECIPES Courtesy of Andrea Chavez & Cindy Bevans of Talley Farms


is the season for delicious food! We believe meals are best cooked with fresh, local ingredients and in-season produce. These healthy recipes are the perfect

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way to add more veggies to your meals this fall and winter.

Avocado with Roasted Brussels Sprouts Brussels sprouts and avocados, what’s not to love? Ingredients: · 1/4 cup pecans · 1 lb. brussels sprouts · 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil · 1/2 Hass avocado cut into 1/2 inch dice · 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves · 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar · Salt and pepper Kitchens - Bathrooms - Remodels - ADUs - Custom Homes

Directions: 1. Toast the pecans in a pan on the stove, or in the oven. Let cool and then coarsely chop. 2. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Add the brussels sprout and cook until bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain, cut in half and pat dry with paper towels. 3. In a large glass baking dish, toss the sprouts with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and turn them cut side down. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees until nicely browned. 4. In a large bowl, toss the sprouts with the pecans, avocado and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the vinegar and serve.

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Cindy’s Sweet Potato Stacker

Ingredients: · 1 sweet potato · 1 tbsp olive oil · Your own selection of toppings!

Directions: 1. Turn on the oven to 400°F. 2. Wash and scrub your potato. 3. Slice it lengthwise 1/8” thickness. 4. Toss with olive oil and put on a cookie sheet, spacing potatoes out evenly. 5. Put in the oven for 20 minutes, take out and turn them over and cook for another 20 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool slightly. 6. Choose from the following stacking items: cheese, turkey, avocado, arugula, salt and pepper to taste, egg (fried or scrambled), tomato, red onion, and so much more. The list is endless!

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Andrea’s Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients: · 1 large onion, diced · 5 cloves garlic, diced · 3 ribs celery, diced (optional)

This recipe makes a large pot of sauce, which Andrea likes to freeze in meal size containers for future meals. Talk about a healthy meal prep!

· 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced (if your kids don’t like these, dice them) · 2 lbs. zucchini squash, diced · optional: 1 lb. ground beef, cooked · (3) 15 oz. cans tomato sauce · (1) 12 oz. can tomato paste · (1) 28 oz. can tomatoes, diced in juice


· 1 cup water

1. In a large stockpot, cook onion, garlic and celery in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add cans of tomatoes. 2. Add spices, water and wine. Add

· 1⁄2 cup red wine · 1 tbsp sugar · 1 tbsp dried oregano

mushrooms and zucchini. Let sauce sim-

· 1 tsp dried thyme

mer on low 2-3 hours, stirring

· 3 bay leaves


· 1 tsp dried basil (sub fresh)

3. This makes a huge amount. Freeze leftovers in meal size containers. Serve

· 1 tsp fennel seed

over whole wheat pasta or spaghetti

· 1⁄2 tsp pepper


· 1⁄4 cup dried parsley (sub fresh)

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Plant To Plate Central Coast Easy Living Written By Mari Robeson

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World class wineries, magnificent hiking trails and glorious ocean sunsets are just a few things we have to be grateful for here on the Central Coast. We also have the perfect weather conditions to dabble in the nourishing art of gardening. Recently I’ve spoken to many of you who took on the challenge of harvesting a “Stay at Home” garden during 2020 and have maintained it throughout this year as well. Whether that meant a simple herb garden grown on a window seal, or a full blown backyard harvest, what a delightful surprise it was to realize that we all have the capabilities to grow something of our own if we make time and have patience. As the summer months wind down and fall approaches, there are still plenty of fruits and vegetables we can plant to take advantage of the mild climate we have on the Central Coast.

Pottery Created & Photographed By Celeste Dowlan

Plant If you don’t have a lot of space in your yard you may want to consider container gardening. Galvanized water troughs are a great option especially if you battle with the occasional gopher. You can find them at most large hardware stores. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce and spinach are all perfect options for a fall harvest as well as beets, carrots, leeks, onions, peas, radishes and turnips. Artichokes are another crop that can be planted in late fall. A fun idea is to get together with your neighbors and split up your crops so you can have an abundant variety to share when you harvest.

Plate Nothing makes a table setting more interesting than using a collection of plates and trays hand-crafted by artisans. This little bread tray was made by local pottery designer, Celeste Dowlan. The unique pottery invites conversation while adding texture and interest to your table top. A mix of different pieces collected over time invokes a warm and cozy feeling to your home. Mix and match pieces but stay within a certain color palette. Add flowers but stay away from heavily scented ones that might compete with the aroma of your meal. Dahlias and sunflowers are perfect fall options to add some beauty and color to your table top decor.

Enjoy There is nothing more satisfying than enjoying a meal created from plants grown in your own backyard. The past year and a half had many challenges, but the resurgence of the home garden gifted us a new and grounding opportunity to connect back with mother nature. It’s never too late to start, even if you only have space for a few pots in your yard. The rewards are not only nourishing for the body, working with the earth is enriching for the soul too. Of course, if gardening is just not your thing, our local farmers markets are a wonderful option too! Happy gardening!

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What’s in Season? Fall & Winter Edition Nothing beats cooking and preparing fruits and vegetables during their in-season months. In California, fresh produce is plentiful. We see a variety of California produce being locally grown, harvested, and shared with our community — even during the winter months! It’s a true farm-to-table experience. We encourage you to experience in-season, local produce whenever you can. Whether it be through your local farmer’s market, a CSA subscription, or simply planting and harvesting in your backyard, we feel that nothing beats a locally grown meal. Here’s your guide for what’s in season for Fall and Winter. Pro-tip: many of these fruits and vegetables flourish when planted and harvested here on the Central Coast!

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THE MAGIC OF CHÂTEAU NOLAND By Molly O’Brien Photos by James Lester Photography

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Cruising on Highway 101 South from San Luis Obispo toward Pismo Beach, adjacent to the San Luis Bay Drive exit, you might have spotted a castle-like structure alongside the road nestled into the hillside and wondered, “What in the world is that?” It’s not a castle — but rather, a Château. It’s Château Noland. This beautiful property overlooks the apple trees of SLO Creek Farms and the vineyard countryside of Avila Beach. It was hand-built by a multi-generational SLO-based family with an impressively well-traveled history, who decided to settle upon the Central Coast as their ultimate home. Now, they’ve opened up the property to share with guests.

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Inspired by Life

Original castle owners Chad and Jaymie Noland first

Chad began designing Château Noland immediately

came to San Luis Obispo with their three children

upon their return to San Luis Obispo. The château and

in 1988. Chad founded a well-known local business,

its impressive grounds were inspired by the beautiful

Noland’s Horse Drawn Carriages, which has since operated

buildings and gardens that the family encountered while

successfully on the Central Coast for nearly thirty-five years.

exploring Asia and Europe.

Jaymie practiced veterinary medicine and began teaching at Cal Poly in 1996. She has been serving as the Department Head in the Cal Poly College of Agriculture since 2013.

Over the next 25 years after moving back to San Luis Obispo, the main home structure and the adjacent carriage house was crafted with the help of the Nolands’

The château’s story first started in the fall of 1990, when

friends and family from across the world. Virtually every

Chad and Jaymie stepped away from their careers to

part of the house is handmade and designed by Chad and

spend an inspired year traveling the world with their

his children. From the floors, to the doors — and even the

children. The family visited forty-six countries total,

roof trusses — every detail is created with care.

spanning across four continents.

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The Event Venue of Your Dreams The Château Noland is now owned and operated by

artisanal murals inspired by the family’s nearly year-long

husband and wife, Dan and Lindsey Noland. The family

trip to Europe decorate the inside and outside of the

decided to convert the property to a vacation rental in

château. You’ll feel as if you’re embarking on a trip to a

2016 before expanding into the events planning business,

foreign land.

hosting their first wedding celebration in 2017. Next, they converted the horse stables in the carriage house to accommodate additional guest suites in 2018. Whether it’s for an overnight stay, or hosting the Central Coast wedding of your fantasies, a visit to Château Noland feels like an experience straight out of a fairytale. Immediately upon arrival pulling up the driveway and strolling across the bridge to walk up the Grand Staircase and through the front door, it feels as if you’re stepping

My personal favorite room during my visit to the property was the Paris Suite. Its high dome vaulted ceilings are colored like a bright blue sky with a panoramic mural of the french countryside on the cylindrical walls (see if you can spot Dan proposing to Lindsey beneath the Eiffel Tower on the mural!). Here, you’ll also encounter an enormous jacuzzi bathtub for soaking and a large, comfortable bed.

into a day in the life of a princess. The unique stone

Downstairs, there’s an enormous kitchen for serving

architecture, cylindrical dome hand-painted ceilings, and

family-sized meals, and a living room space with a cozy

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fireplace and a plethora of books and board games to keep entertained the old fashioned way. Perhaps my favorite detail of the house itself is the “secret passageway” that leads up to the spacious hidden attic space. Whether you’re five, 25, or 85, it feels like magic to discover and hide away for a spell while gazing out onto the beautiful scenery below. In fact, from any front-facing room in this house, you can soak in the sweeping views of Avila Valley and the lush Estate Lawn. It’s a fantastic opportunity to indulge in the California lifestyle and watch an unforgettable sunset.


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A Wedding Spot Fit for a Princess As a wedding venue, the château events space can accommodate up to 200 guests. The Noland family even offers a curated wedding package which includes a hosted twonight stay in the three Master Suites and 8 Pied-a-terre, sleeping up to 22 guests at the estate (bridesmaids and their guests, family members, and more). The lush, green Estate Lawn area outside was originally an English horse riding arena — and has since been converted to host tables and chairs for guests. Couples who celebrate their nuptials here may even make an unforgettable grand entrance in a romantic horse drawn carriage into their reception. Since its horse-drawn carriage days, the carriage building has been converted into multiple spacious rental accommodations — perfect for large gatherings such as a wedding or family reunion. There’s a chic bridal suite upstairs in the carriage building, which offers everything a bride and her attendants might need to get ready on this special day. From large mirrors to ample lighting, to enough space to relax and indulge in a glass of celebratory champagne together — it’s a perfect spot for creating lasting memories.

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A Central Coast Legacy The Noland family’s philosophy is built on deep-rooted household values. This means giving back to the community, and providing each guest with the utmost ease in their event planning, so they can enjoy the most memorable of visits. No matter how long or for what purpose you’re visiting the Noland family château, you’ll no doubt encounter an unforgettable experience. The family’s legacy and the property’s stories will continue to grow — and the memories that are made at Château Noland will last longer than a lifetime.

To learn more about Chateau Noland, please visit

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ALLEGRETTO VINEYARD RESORT By Molly O’Brien Photos courtesy of Allegretto Vineyard Resort

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Italy By Way of Paso Robles Visiting Paso Robles’ Allegretto Vineyard Resort is like embarking on a trip to Italy — but without the hassle that can come with traveling abroad. In music, the term “allegretto” describes a cheerful, upbeat tempo — and this property aims to offer this kind of playful and melodious feeling to its guests. As Paso’s first destination resort, The Allegretto offers each visitor the opportunity to experience delicious, fresh and locally-sourced food and hand-curated art and architecture amidst the seemingly endless scenic beauty of the Central Coast region.

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The Allegretto feels like a spiritual and emotional oasis. Immediately upon stepping through the doors and into the large, open lobby space, I experienced a powerful sense of calm. This sense of inner connectedness continued as I explored the grounds, which span across 20 acres of walking paths, well-manicured Mediterranean gardens, vineyards, a grove of plentiful olive trees, lush fruit orchards, and lavender fields. There are 171 sizable, high-ceiling rooms, many of which feature large patio areas to relax in the California rays. There’s an ambiance of luxury everywhere you go as you stroll throughout the property. The

sophisticated architecture and design of the resort offers a window into the wisdom of lessons learned from across the world. The resort itself was built on a foundation of family values, and Founder Doug Ayres tastefully uses this property to bring the beauty and the flavors of the world to the Central Coast. Everything about the resort feels well-balanced — from the structured shape of the building that allows guests to wander each wing and contemplate the art, to the interior fire-pit speckled courtyard space which opens up the invitation for guests to gather together.

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A Lavish, Living Art Museum Elegant art pieces adorn each of the walls in the common spaces. Sculptures are sprinkled across the property for visitors to appreciate as they wander throughout this kind of living museum. Ayres sourced these art pieces for his collection from near and far. One of the standout pieces in this enormous gallery is the centerpiece of the Sequoia Room; it’s a real, enormous cross-section of a giant Sequoia tree that had fallen in Sequoia National Park. This artifact establishes a sense of power within this tranquil space adjacent to the lobby. The resort itself was actually built around this tree section when it was constructed. Its rings are marked with a tangible timeline of natural history and human history, starting from the building of the Great Wall of China,


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onto the birth of Christ, following through the First and Second World Wars, and beyond. Additional standout art pieces to investigate include the awe-inspiring obelisk in the East Garden. This ancient Egyptian monument structure was used in Roman state architecture to denote power in significant places across the world -- and this sentiment holds true today at The Allegretto. It’s clear that Ayres and his team continuously dedicate thoughtful time toward creating a lavish and meaningful guest experience. If you’d like to learn more about the art, you can take an immersive, guided Art Tour. These tours can be booked through the concierge desk, and are hosted on Fridays and Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m.

Wining, Dining, and Sun Shining Wine lovers can enjoy a tasting of Allegretto Wines at the property’s tasting room, or better yet, embark on a vineyard tour and tasting pairing experience on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday morning at 10 a.m. Foodies can rejoice at the upscale yet casual

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Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, Cello Ristorante & Bar which is adjacent to the Chef’s Garden, where the kitchen staff grow some of the seasonal ingredients used in each dish.

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While I was exploring the property’s wonders, it felt like I

the resort pool and Jacuzzi area, which hosts numerous

was constantly stumbling upon a new hidden gem around

plush chaise lounge chairs and shaded cabanas available

every turn. Perhaps one of the most standout features of

for reservation. Spending time here truly feels as if you’ve

the resort I encountered was the peaceful labyrinth. It’s

taken a trip to an intimate Italian villa.

the world’s first Sonic Labyrinth, in fact — it’s activated by motion sensors that play the soft and soothing sounds of wind instruments as you walk throughout.

Another must-visit site while visiting The Allegretto is the Abbey. Modeled after the rustic chapels of Europe, the Abbey blends ancient symbols with contemporary

For the more active and competitive at heart, there’s

artistry with a modern aesthetic to bring together a

an oversized chess board out back by the vineyard to

sense of harmony and peace.

challenge your opponent to a battle of wits. There’s also a bocce court out front, to test your tossing skills (which can be trickier after a much-deserved glass of Allegretto Wine).

The mural of the night sky on the chapel’s ceiling depicts the stars of the heavens. If you’re visiting the building at the right time of day, you may catch a glimpse of the sunlight working its magic. At the exact right angle, the

Those seeking relaxation can stop into Spa Allegretto and

colors of the glass will dance on the floor to create a

book a massage appointment. Soak up the sunshine at

truly celestial experience.

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A Second Home for Visitors and Locals Alike Douglas Ayres filled this property with art and artifacts from his own world travels, with the intention of offering it to his own guests for an immervie and potentially transformative spiritual experience. The sense of peace that’s felt while exploring the grounds is combined with the excitement that comes from celebrating what makes us human — a desire to make genuine connections with others. The Allegretto offers all of this alongside good wine, fun games, and tasty food — which combine to create an upbeat and unforgettable trip.

To learn more about Allegretto Vineyard Resort, please visit

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155 / Living Lavishly


freshest designs!

Sofas • Chairs • Tables • Recliners • Dining Rooms • Sleepers • Bedroom • TV Consoles • Reclining Sofas

Family owned & operated for three decades serving San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. 156 / Living Lavishly

1069 E. Grand Avenue, Arroyo Grande - 805.489.8533 - Mon-Sat 10am-6pm