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  • Avila + Winters


Updated: Jan 17, 2018

Moving to Winters, CA was not planned. It happened on a whim...well, kind of. It all started in 2009 in New Zealand while Tony and I enjoyed a sweet picnic on the shores of Waiheke Island. We had never planned on going to New Zealand, that too happened on a whim (this seems to be a pattern in my stories). During our this picnic, Tony and I began daydreaming of one day owning a Bed & Breakfast. This dream felt so right that I quickly took out my notebook and pen (I always travel with a notebook ;

), and I began jotting down our thoughts. We brainstormed location (we thought wine country - a vineyard or orchard), and name of the B&B (It had to include our last name Avila). Before we drifted too far, my analytical brain kicked in and I quickly shifted to the plan - because we know that "a dream is just a dream, but a goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline". Words to live by.

Our plan had a 3 year goal, a 10 year goal, etc...and from that day forward, Tony and I always stayed committed to this plan (with a few minor changes). In 2015 we were ready to begin looking for property in wine country...but this was not successful. Let's just say California real estate prices - that is all you need to know. In 2016 we finally decided to slow our plan and push our deadline by many (many) years and focus on raising our two beautiful boys and build some wealth to eventually pursue our dream.

However everything changed late summer of 2016 the first time I visited Winters, CA - a small farming town in Yolo County, 50 minutes away from Oakland. I instantly fell in love with this cute town! The land was beautiful, the town was sweet and charming, and the distance was not too far from the Bay Area. This is where the whim comes in - on my way home I looked at Zillow (out of curiosity) and found the property that, unbeknownst to me, we would soon be calling home. It all happened so quickly and it felt like an impulse as I had only been to Winters once (Tony had never visited). Long story short - in November of 2016 we said goodbye to urban living and hello to country living at the orchard we now call Casa Avila Winters or #casaavilawinters.

"Why black barns and what does this have to do with this post?" you ask. Our goal is to eventually redo the exterior of the barn at #casaavilawinters. Currently it is brown and green - but we plan on changing it to either all white or all black. Funny thing, the desire to have a black exterior dates back to our honeymoon trip in New Zealand. During our trip I fell in love with a property I saw in a magazine while having sangria at a sweet bar in Auckland. This property (built by Andre Hodgskin) became the epitome of our dream - it was everything we were looking for! A handsome home sitting on 14 acres of bush, pasture, and vineyard - and guess what color the home was? Black! Eight and a half years later, this home is still my inspiration (I keep the picture framed and I look back at it when work is killing me - to remind me of our family's dream).

So what do you think? Aren't these black barns sweet?

Image 1 and 2: via Lonny

Image 3: via Gardenista

Image 4: via Homes to Love NZ

Image 5: via Bolig Magasinet

Image 6: home designed by Wolterinck


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