It started with a church, bought 20 years ago. Then in 2007, Karen Sage and Chuck Laughlin also bought the house in front of the church. Now they live in both. Sage and Laughlin own the Hotel Sutter in Sutter Creek. Their unique and exquisite homes are a must see on the home tour.
They call the home on Fleehart Street, their Playhouse. Built in 1920, the renovated home bears no resemblance to the original. Everything reflects the artists that Sage and Laughlin are. In fact, the home also serves as an art studio. In the living room, Gallery track lights highlight the
arched room divider and arched window pay homage to the church across the courtyard. A wall of accordion glass doors lets the outside in and affords a better view of the church beyond. The setting is airy and ethereal.
As a nod to the practical, there is a modern kitchen. Nearby, a spiral staircase leads to the floor below. This cavernous room showcases a soaking tub from Bali and a wine room with fifteenth century doors from Thailand. Notice that this house does not contain an actual bedroom. That is because the bedroom is in the church.
The church, previously St. Joseph’s church, is the second living area. A rope beside the entrance rings the church bell. Inside, arched church windows afford lots of natural light. The altar is now the kitchen’s work island and the confessional is now the kitchen’s pantry. Mixed in are comfortable furnishings that rival Architectural Digest. Upstairs is the bedroom, with a four-poster bed and netting floating from the ceiling. Behind the bed is a
freestanding claw foot tub, sitting under a skylight, a very romantic setting.
The vision for this home was Sage and Laughlin’s. The architect was Doron Dreksler and the main contractor was Alan Clinton, who also worked on the Hotel Sutter. Ironwork is by Chris Parkey Ironworks in Martell. The landscape designer is Cathy Landgraf of Shenandoah Nursery, who created a stunning series of outdoor rooms and seating areas. A curvy wall leads to a small teahouse and to the exit gate, where alas, we must exit this enchanting place.