Casa Bella a Kenwood retreat

The former Kenwood B&B now hosts groups, with with events ranging from family reunions, birthdays, weddings and corporate retreats.|

Victoria Timpe sat on the porch of Casa Bella, taking in the view - the sweep of mountains just beyond Highway 12. That was the moment Timpe knew she wanted to buy the Kenwood bed-and-breakfast with her husband, Doug.

“This is such a gorgeous area,” she said.

The lanky, 5-foot-10 inch woman with strawberry blonde hair swept up in a bun is fashionable, clad in a black coat and suede gray boots. The San Franciscan said she and her husband have lived in the city for 12 years but plan to eventually move to Sonoma County, where nature is right outside your door.

A series of synchronicities led to their impulse to buy the B&B, Timpe said. The first was coming to a wedding in April 2016, where the wedding guests stayed at CazSonoma, a B&B in Cazadero. The couple was taken by the inn in its bucolic setting.

“It was like the idea, ‘Could we do something like that?’ ’’

Then a family friend living in Sonoma got her real estate license and alerted the couple that Casa Bella had come on the market.

“All this was just an idea and then we started doing our due diligence, reviewing the idea and then looking at other places, but the location of Casa Bella was super sweet,” Timpe said.

The couple was taken by the wood pillars and the wainscoting in the entrance way, touches of the American Foursquare that dates back to 1914. The property, a 1.9-acre spread, has a hot tub and a deck, a bocce ball court and a fire pit.

The couple purchased the B&B in August and changed its business model in November, no longer offering it as a traditional bed-and-breakfast. Today the inn hosts groups, with events ranging from family reunions, birthdays, weddings and corporate retreats. Their business card now reads: Casa Bella, Kenwood Luxury Retreat.

The inn can sleep up to 18, and groups pay roughly $1,500 to $2,500 a night to rent the entire property. There’s a property manager who lives at the inn and serves as concierge, coordinating guests’ wishes, whether it’s to hire a chef or schedule winery tours and tastings.

Timpe knows there are mixed feelings in the valley about the planned Resort at Sonoma Country Inn, the 50-room hotel expected to break ground in late 2017.

“I hope growth won’t be a bad thing. Hopefully it will highlight a problem we can all work together to solve,” Timpe said.

The Timpes plan to eventually move to Sonoma County, with their eye on Glen Ellen or Sonoma.

“We want to be a part of the community here,” she said. “You always hear about people coming here to open a winery or a tasting room. I’m hoping it can still be a place where the average Joe can come here and live out their dream.”

Peg Melnik

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