Lone Star Farm
Designer Patricia Dale Roberts Brings A Taste of Tex-Mex to Healdsburg

By Erika Lenkert
Photography by R. Brad Knipert

IT'S 110 DEGREES in the bucolic town of Healdsburg, but that's not stopping interior designer Patricia Dale Roberts from hosting her annual enchilada party. The event has been a longstanding tradition among friends, and she and her husband, Fred Roberts, are well versed in working around Sonoma Wine Country's sometimes-extreme summer heat. Today, that means setting tables in the garden and the dining room of their sweet farmhouse, fondly dubbed the Lone Star Farm.

Despite the Texas reference, the property's d├ęcor is eclectic and worldly, reflecting Patricia's eye for design and the couple's travels (Fred is from Texas and Patricia is from Natchez, Mississippi, but has lived, among other places, in Amsterdam, Houston, and San Francisco). It's also distinctly Wine Country. Emulating the casual and inviting yet sophisticated world of life among the vines, their outdoor space showcases farm-to-table living with flourishing edible gardens surrounding a Mcguire table flanked by Janus et Cie chairs, and 11 friendly pet chickens; named after Patricia's family and friends, they're as beloved as they are sources for the freshest egg scrambles.

The dining areas further accentuate a sense of place. Both the garden table and Barbara Barry dining-room table are adorned with natural linen runners and napkins from revered Healdsburg market, shop, and restaurant, The Shed. Bouquets of seasonal, local wild flowers in hand-blown glass vases (also from The Shed) are the creations of guest and Zeterre Landscape Architecture owner Jarrod Baumann.

The saying, you can take a girl out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the girl still applies, however. A stainless-steel barbecue pit, handmade by Billy Twang Mercantile and solely reserved for natural mesquite, stands in proud tribute to the couple's Houston past. A more subtle, but critical, hint to their past is Houston-based guest Cindy Cannatella, whose enchiladas instigated the now-annual event that she co-hosts with Patricia, sometimes in places as far away as Paris, France.

As guests arrive, clad in white, as requested, it's clear they too are indicative of Patricia and Fred's diverse interests and experiences. Among the 20-person group are a local artist, winemaker, farmer, spa consultant, and luxury innkeepers. Sipping margaritas and gin and tonics, as is apropos under the dry harvest-time heat, they graze the buffet of chicken enchiladas, chili con queso, chips, mango and mint salad, black beans, pickled vegetables, guacamole, and salsa made from their garden's tomatoes, then split up between indoor and out.

But the minute the sun dips beyond the horizon, the air cools to yet another perfect Wine Country evening that begs to be enjoyed outdoors. Tonight it's with brownies and homemade vanilla ice cream, and, perhaps, one more freshly made margarita.