It’s indoor-outdoor living at its best in Jay Jeffers’ Poolhouse

Published Date: January 5, 2023

Poolhouse exterior with outdoor seating
There comes a moment when the dream of owning a second home collides with reality. What you imagined gets replaced by what you really want, and what really works. Just ask Jay Jeffers and Michael Purdy.The renowned designer and his creative director-husband planned to buy acreage in the Sonoma Valley, just 45 miles from their San Francisco home, and build a tiny house with a pool to escape the fog for long, sunny relaxing weekends.Then, their savvy real estate agent peppered the couple with questions:
  • Did the men like gardening? (No.)
  • Did they want to spend weekends tending to a large property? (No.)
  • Did they like walking their two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels down sidewalks, hitting a gym for a workout and accessing local restaurants? (Definitely!)
  • Would toddling home from a wine bar after a few glasses of Napa’s finest be a welcome event? (Absolutely!)
For Jeffers and Purdy, this is when their dream shifted from the Sonoma vineyards to St. Helena, an inviting small city in the heart of Napa wine country. This is the story about how their second home, The Poolhouse, originated.In fact, The Poolhouse almost didn’t happen. The day their real estate agent drove them to an outdated ‘60s ranch house, he had to beg Jeffers to get out of the car. The creative force behind an interior design and homeware empire was stumped by the plain-Jane home in front of him.But once inside, Jeffers and Purdy could see straight through the house to a large backyard that fronted a lush vineyard and stunning mountains just beyond.

“This is why you buy this house,’’ the agent told the couple. And they were sold.

That was in 2009. Over the next year, while The Poolhouse got a quick cosmetic update with new carpets and paint, the pair started falling for the home and St. Helena. 

“We have a love affair with getting out of the city, packing up the car with the dog and driving over the Golden Gate Bridge to Napa Valley. It makes us feel like we are in the south of France or the Loire Valley. It is exactly what we need,’’ Jeffers said. 

But then, in 2010, things got serious. The couple commissioned a total gut renovation, hiring San Francisco architect Shay Zak to expand the home. The goal: Create a 1,200-square-foot oasis that seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor living. The transformation hinged on floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, porches with overhangs, a trellis and a lusciously landscaped yard.The central element of the property is the custom 24-foot-long pool with a 10-foot Baja ledge for all-day lounging. Close by are a hot tub and a tiered garden that leads to a horseshoe court with tranquil vineyard views.The renovation also created two master suites at each end of the home for maximum privacy. In the center is the airy, open living space with a chef's kitchen and  breakfast bar. The living room is anchored by an accent wall of reclaimed wood in a stunning chevron design. It features a gas fireplace with a hand-crafted, steel-and-oyster surround.Gone are the old 8-foot ceilings, opened up to match the roof line. The singularly fabulous finishes and furnishings? Hand-selected from Jay Jeffers - The Store, the couple’s high-end shop in San Francisco.

“I like to use a lot of color and pattern, but I had not had white walls in my own house in years. So I painted the walls white and used a lot of accents for texture,’’ Jeffers said, adding that nothing about the home is precious. “This is easy living and made for wet bathing suits!’’

The Poolhouse is, in a word, exquisite. And yet, as life goes, Jeffers and Purdy gradually found they weren’t using the home as much as they once did. Work and other ventures pressed them for time, so they started renting the property to short-terms guests and friends.It may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes when you love something so much, it feels better to share it.

“That’s how we feel. We just didn’t like the idea of the place sitting empty and we don’t want to give it up because something this special is something that can be shared,’’ Jeffers said.

So, when Jeffers and Purdy heard about Pacaso and its new way to co-own a second home, they were very intrigued. After all, paying full freight for a property they use only part-time just doesn’t make sense.Pacaso offers an innovative co-ownership model that gives buyers the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of true ownership with less cost and hassle. Welcome aboard, they say! Everything is ready and waiting.

Laura Vecsey headshot

Laura Vecsey

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