Guerneville?s historic Applewood Inn has been sold to a retired Texas industrialist who wants to create a Tuscan-style retreat.
?The whole theme is going to be Tuscany,? said Carlos Pippa, the new owner.
He purchased the six-acre property for $4 million from Jim Caron and Darryl Notter, who had owned it for nearly 25 years. The deal closed last week.
Applewood has 19 guest rooms and includes a restaurant that earned top honors in Zagat?s 2010 Bay Area restaurant survey. Rooms range in price from $195 to $345 per night.
The retreat?s centerpiece is Belden House, a 1922 Mission Revival home built for a Santa Rosa banker. The home, which was converted to a bed and breakfast in the early 1980s, is a Sonoma County historic landmark.
It?s surrounded by redwoods, 80-year-old apple trees and a kitchen garden. The inn is on Highway 116 about a half-mile east of Guerneville.
Caron and Notter acquired the inn in 1985, adding the restaurant, wine cellar and two new guest villas. They put it on the market for $7.75 million in 2003, but later dropped the price to $6.5 million.
Pippa, who lives in Plano, Texas, said he discovered Applewood while he was looking to buy a bed and breakfast property in Northern California.
?I looked at 11 properties and this was the last one,? he said Monday. ?As soon as I saw it, I knew this is the one I wanted. I love the natural richness that you have with the coast and redwoods.?
Pippa founded a Texas company that made spray painting booths for auto, aerospace and other industrial manufacturers. He sold that business in 2004 and started a gourmet food import company in Texas. He has since sold the food business.
Pippa said he always wanted to own an inn because he has fond memories of his Italian grandfather?s pension ? or family guesthouse ? in Ecuador, where he was born.
Pippa said he?ll run Applewood with his girlfriend, Sylvia Ranyak. They plan to add Tuscan touches and reopen the restaurant for lunch with a Tuscan menu.
They also plan to open a spa and cooking school. The new owners want to use solar and wind energy to power the inn, Pippa said.
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