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Mai.son.ry [mey-suh-n-ree] - noun. A setting in which people come to be inspired by all things aesthetic.


Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley represents "a life aesthetic"

As an art, design and wine gallery set amidst a contemporary, landscaped sculpture garden, Ma(i)sonry offers guests a respite and a retreat. While its past may not appear to play a prominent role in its new incarnations, the history of the former Charles Rovegno House still permeates the walls and rooms of this elegant stone structure.

In 1892, Charles Rovegno was one of many Italian immigrants drawn to Napa Valley's fertile farmlands. At the turn of the century, the valley was on the precipice of becoming a notable agricultural region for which it is known for today.

When Rovegno began his life as a vineyardist in the early 1900s, very few wines were being produced in the valley. Rovegno settled in what was then known as Yountville's "Chinahouse," an area so tiny, it fell just short of the designation "Chinatown." In fact, Yountville was not the charming restaurant and wine destination it is today, rather it was a rough and tumble trapping and farming community filled with those from the fallout of California's gold mining days.

In 1902 - with the help of Angelo Brovelli, a local mason responsible for many of Napa County's idyllic stone bridges, Rovegno began building what would be his last home. Using stone quarried from the eastern hills of Napa Valley, Rovegno and Brovelli constructed a utilitarian, craftsman-style building that possessed more functional charm than overwrought beauty.

The gable roof, simple cut stone lintels and the use of rough cut field stone all suggested that Rovegno intended to use the manor as a hotel rather than his residence. In his lifetime, this would not be the case, but perhaps Rovegno possessed prophetic powers of foreshadowing. Almost 20 years after he passed away in 1954, the historic stone property was converted to a boutique, seven-room inn known as Burgundy House Inn, which remained in operation until 2007.

Today, the Charles Rovegno House is a blend of past, present and future. In addition to its National Register of Historic Places status, Ma(i)sonry is listed on the Napa County Historic Resources Inventory. While its façade has been "lifted," the integrity of this historic structure remains intact. Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley's intimate, organic design serves as the perfect backdrop for "a life aesthetic."


The Team

Polenske's question was answered with the guidance of a historical mason and architect, in addition to urban designers from San Francisco-based Gould Evans Baum Thornley Architects LLP, whose past projects include the Duckhorn Vineyards Estate House in St. Helena and the Presidio Hill School in San Francisco. Ma(i)sonry's intimate, contemporary design aesthetic was executed with consulting designer, Erin Martin of Erin Martin Design and M showroom with the collaboration of husband and wife landscape architect team, ROCHE + ROCHE.

Proprietor/Curator: Michael Polenske
Project Manager: Paul Leary
Architect: Douglas Thornley, Gould Evans/Baum Thornley
Consulting Designer: Erin Martin Design
Landscape Architect: Dave Roche, Roche + Roche
General Contractor: Thomas Trainor, Thomas Trainor Construction
Structural Engineer: Eric Kreager, MKM Associates

Originally built for Charles Rovegno in 1904 as his private residence, the building is one of only a few listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Napa County Historic Resources Inventory. The building was designed and built by an Italian mason using stone quarried from the eastern hills of Napa Valley, representing a noteworthy period of design from 1874 to 1912. Almost 20 years after Rovegno passed away in 1954, the property was converted to a boutique, seven-room inn known as Burgundy House Inn, which remained in operation until 2007.

Creating a "living gallery"

Gold Nugget Awards

Ma(i)sonry Wins Award-Winning Design for Outstanding Adaptive Re-Use Project
Gold Nugget® Awards
Recognizing those who improve our communities through exceptional concepts in design, planning and development.

Principal architect, Douglas Thornley, surveyed the site of the former Burgundy House Inn and adapted his design around Polenske's living gallery context. With the goal of retaining many of the structure's original materials, Thornley's primary strategy was to highlight the classic stone features of the building by opening up the space, allowing for the natural flow of light in the former warren-like inn. Thornley also stressed the elimination of all non-historic elements to restore the building to its original state and character. Before this could happen, a complete seismic retrofit of the unreinforced masonry building was needed to guarantee that this piece of history would be preserved for future generations.


By removing all the worn internal partitions, yet salvaging the interior stone wall which had served as the original exterior façade, a fluid gallery space emerged, emphasizing the original stone walls with the use of abundant natural light. After discovering the beautiful un-peeled log rafters hidden under a heavy layer of plaster ceiling on the 2nd floor, the ceiling was removed to provide "a unique view back into time."

Adapted Reuse

Removal and Additions

Landscaped Gardens

Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley - "a life aesthetic"

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