Text by Hannah Nance
It wasn’t love at first sight for Tracie Speca-Ventura and her California home, but she knew the potential was there. Originally seeking a farmhouse, Tracie didn’t find the ranch-style home appealing, but the spacious layout was ideal for hosting, and her husband, Rick Ventura, knew this would be their dream home. He helped to bring on their talented builder and architect to transform the place. “I love to entertain,” Tracie says. “We have a large family and live in wine country; when friends say they’re coming to stay for two days, they end up here for a week.”
In order to give the house the farmhouse style Tracie was looking for, a major portion of the home had to be gutted. And as the renovations began, she started to fall head over heels for her new home. The ceilings, previously 8 feet high, were raised to 13 feet. In the dining room, Tracie had wooden planks installed lengthwise along the ceiling and stained the perpendicular beams a slightly darker shade to give the space added dimension.
Because of the narrow floor plan, long and wide pieces of furniture were a necessity, and they now make entertaining a breeze. For the dining room that overlooks the mountains behind their home, Tracie chose a farmhouse-style table that seats 14. Against a window, a slate sink from the 1800s is a piece that Tracie looked for high and low and finally found thanks to a friend on the East Coast.
In the great room, Tracie coordinated wood elements from the kitchen through to the living space to give the large room a cohesive feel. To contrast the farmhouse-style table in the dining room, she went with a round table in the breakfast nook. The piece was hard to find, but the result of plenty of research paid off beautifully.
Another prevalent feature in Tracie’s home is her abundance of art and one-of-a-kind pieces. Her company works with artists to install large-scale artwork in professional sports stadiums, so unique finds come with the territory. Throughout the years, she’s commissioned many pieces from the artists she works with, like the large Bigfoot painting in the dining room—a favorite of hers. When she travels for work, Tracie always picks up a new piece of furniture as a tribute to the project.
The pride and joy of her home can be found outside in the backyard. For years, Tracie was on the hunt for a gypsy wagon, and when she finally found one, it was in serious need of restoration, making it the perfect project during the pandemic.
There’s rarely a time that Tracie isn’t working on a project for her home. Looking forward, she hopes to expand the home’s outdoor areas, including creating an entertaining space outside of her gypsy wagon. After all, when your home is a blank canvas, the work is never finished—which is just the way Tracie likes it.