Napa Valley vintner Lauren Ackerman never intended to enter the home restoration game. But several years ago, after finding herself inexplicably drawn to a dilapidated historic home in downtown Napa, she not only entered the game, she became a champion. The prize? A painstakingly restored and beautifully furnished Queen Anne Victorian that she shares with the public via a variety of events including chef-led wine lunches and dinners, wine tastings, afternoon tea, and wedding ceremonies and receptions. Ackerman’s remodel success story is a victory for the entire community.
Over a five-year period, the former tech entrepreneur and philanthropist repaired, refurbished, and reimagined what is now called The Ackerman Heritage House. Located at 608 Randolph St. in downtown Napa, the 4,200 square foot home, originally built in 1888, suffered from severe neglect and deferred maintenance. The floors revealed gaping holes, the wiring was faulty, and the gardens were overgrown. But through the ramshackle disrepair, Ackerman was able to see the home’s potential. In addition to overseeing the restoration of stained glass windows, original hardware, wood doors, floors, and crown moldings, Ackerman set out to authentically furnish and decorate the home. In order to fully understand the time period and its social and material proclivities, she immersed herself in a six-week Oxford University course focused on the era. She then sourced the home’s Victorian-era contents from antique stores around the world and via e-Bay, often finding startling deals on rare and antique objects d’art. Each art piece and antique features a unique story, from the silver flatware and the antique china place settings, to the 1880s era books chronicling world discoveries and historic times.
A fully equipped, modern kitchen makes the historic home accessible for immersive food, wine and private event experiences. The property also includes the Ackerman Family Vineyards tasting room – The Aviary – in a restored carriage house in the home’s garden space. The public is invited to tour the home via a number of exceptional experiences, including afternoon English tea, food and wine pairing lunches with Chef Kelly MacDonald, and a number of wine tasting options.
For information on Ackerman Heritage House events and tastings at The Aviary, visit www.ackermanheritagehouse.com
Fran Miller, Contributing Writer
Fran Miller is a feature writer for a variety of online and print publications. A pop culture junkie with a colorful background in politics, television, and pro sports, she loves sharing her travel, dining, and wine finds with readers, and prides herself on lyrically capturing the heart of all of her stories.