At Home With Tim & Susanné Bacino
Posted on February 15, 2015
“My family has always been about family. Our philosophy has always been to treat new friends and strangers as family, because we are sharing not only our legacy but our passion.” Tim and Susanné Bacino are sitting in the great room of their home at The Crosby in Rancho Santa Fe, talking about their love of family, wine, cooking, and design. Together, the couple — whose roots in California go back for generations — have created a gracious home where they also work — he, in wine and she, in design — and where they entertain dozens of guests at a time. “It’s about experiences,” says Tim. “Life is filled with experiences.”
Tim, the founder of Gen7 Wines, is now following in his family’s footsteps, a tradition that began in 1832 when Theophile Vaché immigrated from Orléans, France. Vache literally put down roots in Monterey County, buying up 250 acres and planting the first commercial vineyards in California. His nephews later opened Brookside Winery in Redlands, which became one of the largest wine producers in the United States. At its peak, the company produced a million cases of wine each year, 150 different wines in all, and opened 36 retail stores selling wine, cheese, and charcuterie. Beatrice Foods bought up 51 percent of the company in the ’70s, and sold it to developers in the ’80s. By then, urban sprawl had made land far more valuable than wine. Tim, who was only 12 at the time, never lost his passion for the business.
“I had this pit in my stomach and this voice in my heart,” he says. “I knew someday I was going to make wine. Eight years ago, I woke up on my birthday and told my wife, “Honey, I’ve got to start making wine NOW.” He named the company Gen7 after daughter Gabriella, the seventh generation of the winemaking dynasty. The boutique winery now produces 1,200 cases a year, using grapes from all over California, 14 varietals in all. Later this year, the Bacinos plan to open a tasting room in the North County where guests can experience the kind of hospitality that the couple offers in their home.
Designed by Susanné, who owns Atmospheres Interior Design, the style of the Bacinos’ home is “East meets West,” with an Asian-European flair. Susanné teams a French sofa and leather chairs, for example, with pieces from Bali and China. Her grandmother, who collected Asian antiques, was an inspiration. “I think that’s where I got my sensibility,” she says. “I just love the detail.” In the family room, she fashioned the fireplace mantel from a Chinese carving of Foo dogs that once graced a doorway, and selected ornately carved black wood armoires, replicas from the mid-Qing Dynasty. Antique Chinese lanterns illuminate the kitchen island and breakfast nook. In the powder room, a dramatic dragon carving frames a mirror, and Italian light fixtures from Fortuny’s “Concubine Collection” look like Chinese lanterns.
Both agree the kitchen is their home’s heart. Realizing it would also be shown to design clients, they “went crazy,” equipping it with just about everything one would find in a showroom, including two Sub-Zero refrigerators with four freezer drawers, three ovens, two dishwashers, a 60-inch Wolf range, and a well-stocked butler’s pantry that includes a Miele coffee maker. “I use them all,” says Tim, the chef in the family. He’s not kidding. The couple hosted 45 family and friends for Thanksgiving, 36 for Christmas, and 140 for a wine release party last fall.
Susanné designed the kitchen with separate workstations because family members like to pitch in. There’s a prep station for the sous chef, for example, and a clean-up area. And there’s plenty of seating. The formal dining room seats 14, and guests often spill out into the loggia to dine by the fire, or at tables set up in the backyard overlooking the golf course.
It all comes down to the experience that the Bacinos try to create for their guests. “We’re hoping that by the time they leave, whether our home or a tasting room,” says Tim, “they’ve found another friend.” Andrea Naversen
Photography by Vincent Knakal