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The "Winery"

Going "Sideways" - in a good way...

In the fall of 2015 we decided that we would replace our cabin in the woods with a vacation home in Santa Barbara's wine country. In early 2016, we found an eclectic place in the Vandenberg Village area of Lompoc. It needed some work, but wasn't just a money and time pit, fixer-upper. We dubbed it the "Winery", although the only grapes that will ever be on the property are already fermented and in bottles. It is located just 15 minutes from one of my favorite wineries, Melville, and about 30 minutes west of the more well-known areas of Buellton and Solvang. According to a local Santa Rita Hills AVA winery map, there are over 100 wineries within a 40 minute drive.

Vandenberg Village is adjacent to Vandenberg Air Force base which is the only west-coast US space port. It is also one of the country's largest space ports, along with Cape Canaveral. We saw our first launch in March 2017 - an Atlas 5. When the larger rockets blast off, there's a loud sound like thunder that doesn't stop for a couple of minutes at our place ten miles away. Every dog in the neighborhood was barking. The four pictures below show the view from our back yard.

Take-off from Pad 3E

Close-up

Down range trail

First stage burn out

Our "winery" along with the whole neighborhood was built in 1967, and still has a 60s suburbia vibe. There were some eclectic features of the place that drew us to it. We have a view of the Santa Rita Hills looking south down our street (first picture below). There are two unique room additions - a large indoor spa room off the master bedroom with a 1981 vintage in-ground spa (second picture below), and a long narrow room off the kitchen that we dubbed the "wine room" with two fireplaces (third picture below). We use the wine room for entertaining. The kitchen itself, while small, was updated recently (fourth picture below). The "sunset room" at the back of the house offers a westward view over our back yard fence across the high school parking lot (wide picture below).

Down the street to Santa Rita Hills

The spa room

The "wine room"

Updated kitchen

Rainy night view from the "sunset room"

There were many things that needed work once we closed. The entire electrical system was sub-par, I assume the result of many amateur modifications, so I got going on that right away. I changed all of the locks and added double deadbolts where needed. There was a lot of cleaning and painting and furnishing that continues. The fence around the property was a mess, and since we have two dogs, neither of which would be classified as brilliant, that was a top priority. The first and third pictures below are sections of the original fence and the second and fourth pictures below show the new one.

Side yard fence - before

Side yard fence - after

Back yard fence - before

Back yard fence - after

Getting the in-ground spa working again required significant engineering. While the shell itself was intact, the equipment was a disaster (first picture below). Because in-ground spas are relics nowadays, I had to devise a way to use available new equipment in an application that it wasn't designed for. After clearing away the old equipment, running all new wires and using an outdoor plastic shed as an enclosure, the equipment was brought into the modern age in an unobtrusive way, shown in the second and third pictures below. All of that work culminated in a nice bubbling in-ground spa (fourth picture below).

Old spa equipment

New equipment cabinet

New spa equipment

The end result, ahhh

In December, 2016 we did some landscaping in the front and back yards (four pictures below).

Back yard artificial turf

Front entryway red mulch

Front terraces red mulch

Side yard red mulch

There will be many more stories to tell from the "winery" as we settle into a rhythm in our visits and with our visitors.

Up My Family Dogs Cabin The "Winery" Cars & Bikes Remodel

Mackey Group, Inc. 2002 - 2017

Email:  wayne@mackeyinc.com