Interior designer Myra Hoefer, whose life is rooted half in Paris and half in her little vine-covered pied-a-terre just steps from Barndiva, began pushing the good taste among the shops and restaurants ringing the plaza as far back as the 1970s. She maintains that while people keep marveling at the town's Eliza Doolittle-type makeover, Healdsburg, she says, has long had natural beauty and a sophistication it kept modestly under wraps.

"I don't think it's out of control," Hoefer says of the overlay of glamour beside the dusty pickups and ranchers with grape-stained hands. "I think we're all still really working people with a kind of upscale vision. We're not somebody trying to cut a fat hog. We want to live here because it's beautiful."

You can reach Staff Writer Meg McConahey at 521-5204 or