RICHARD VON SAAL: NAPA'S RESIDENT DESIGNER
Richard Von Saal is seemingly everywhere in Napa. If you haven't seen him in person, you've most likely admired-even sat on-the artist, designer and builder's work, which is popping up around town in tasting rooms, restaurants, homes, at events like BottleRock, and more.
While his skills were learned, Richard, who just turned the big 50, says he was born with a love for art, design and above all, things.
"It's been a part of my life since I was born. I've always loved things-household things, knick-knacks, furniture, beds, and chairs. I've just loved decor since I was born. I would make elaborate forts, change my bedroom around constantly as a kid," he said.
Then his mother met his stepfather, both a dentist and developer, and owner of several rental commercial and residential properties.
"I started with him at a buck an hour at eight years old, pulling weeds, pulling carpet, painting, doing demo. He would buy an old Victorian and turn it into a four-plex. We were working every weekend it seemed like," Richard said.
Just before his junior year of high school, Richard moved from Washington back to Napa where his father lived, and he graduated at Crusher from Vintage High. He went on to attend Sonoma State, but despite his lifelong love for art, decor and space, he never actually considered it as a career path-until many years later.
Haute Secrets: Artist Richard Von Saal Shares His Guide To The Napa Valley
BY KELLY E. CARTER | JANUARY 26, 2016
Richard Von Saal is so darn versatile that we’re never quite sure whether to call this talented Napan an artist, designer or builder. He does it all with his Napa-based firm, Vonsaal design build, which he started 18 years ago. Oodles of wineries—from Screaming Eagle to CADE to The Hess Collection—have hired the man who also created custom art pieces for the Andaz Hotel Napa and counts BottleRock Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Film Festival and Live in the Vineyard among his numerous clients. Currently working on a 22-room private residence in Oakville, The Corner and JaM tasting room in downtown Napa, Covert Estate wine cave in Coombsville AND Cultivar wine tasting bar in downtown San Francisco keeps him busy but he slowed down long enough to share his haute guide to the Napa Valley with us.
Where were you born: Vallejo, California. “V-Town” back in the 70’s was a flourishing city and a ton of fun. Now it has a bad wrap but I believe in her revival!
BOTTLEROCK TICKET GIVEAWAY AND DESIGN SHOWCASE
By California Home... 05/08/15
Richard Von Saal, of Von Saal Design + Build, is pairing up with JW Thomas Wine Group to create an alluring, beautiful, and comfortable space at BottleRock for wine and design-lovers, and anyone who’s looking to sip and relax. And they’re giving away BottleRock tickets to CH+D readers!
The 3-day festival of wine, food, and music is happening May 29-31 in Napa Valley and will feature 75+ artists, including Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant, Brett Dennen, Michael Franti, and more. The JW Thomas Wine Group tent will be 20 feet by 20 feet, found in the main stage area, and will showcase Von Saal’s unique and celebrated approach to architecture and design, plus JW Thomas' award winning, musically inspired wines.
OUT ON THE TOWN: PEEK INSIDE THE RICHARD VON SAAL AND JW THOMAS WINE GROUP BOOTH AT BOTTLEROCK
By Julie Dyer on 05/29/15
The 3-day festival of wine, food, and music at BottleRock Napa Valley is now officially underway and we got the chance to peek inside a few designer booths as they set up shop. Richard Von Saal, of Vonsaal Design Build, paired with JW Thomas Wine Group to create this alluring, beautiful, and comfortable space for wine and design-lovers, and anyone who’s looking to sip and relax. Check out the process photos as well as the results, and make sure to stop by their booth if you're at BottleRock this weekend!
"The lounge is set up as if a Bond set dropped into a '70s music studio. I have used several styles of Mid-century modern chairs, some paired with other estate sale finds, and salvaged material that add to my collection. I don't have one piece of new furniture in my collection (unless it is one of my own designs). The seven foot tall zinc guitar sculpture I built for BottleRock will be in the tent. It was signed by many of the artists from the first BottleRock (Train, Vintage Trouble, Micheal Franti, etc.), and even a few there after. Futuristic and glamorous...that's my cup of tea," says Richard Von Saal.
NAPA VALLEY: THE ENTREPRENEUR'S TOUR
"...we've just come from the downtown Napa studio of Richard Von Saal, a charismatic, sophisticated young artist/interior designer with a volcano of ideas (and a growing list of impressive clients). In Von Saal's hangar-like series of connected perforated steel plates were being welded for a home exterior, intricate teak screens had been carved with laser tools, and off in a side room, a lady was sewing alligator-hide strips onto rabbit-hair pillows…"
CUSTOM ART BY RICHARD VON SAAL FEATURED AT TRADITIONAL HOME DESIGNER SHOWCASE
The 2014 Napa Valley Showhouse featured Riding the White Pony by Richard Von Saal in the main dining room. Prominently displayed above the fireplace in a sitting area just beyond the main dining table, Von Saal's art is fabricated from reclaimed steel grain troughs, an old Napa Valley milk truck, and oak from a ranch in Rutherford.
VINTAGE HIGH GRAD'S WORK FIGURES PROMINENTLY AT AUCTION NAPA VALLEY
Difficult to imagine, perhaps, but all was serene in the front office of VonSaal Design Build last week as Manon Dargis and Kris Feliciano worked away at silent computers.
Serene, that is, until Richard Von Saal, the designer/builder in question, stepped in from a phone conversation outside the South Coombs Street studio and opened the door to the back workshop where craftsmen James Churin and Sean Thomas were operating grinders, welders, table saws and planers, and streaming blues/rock.
Coming on the heels of Napa’s BottleRock music festival, which had a marked Von Saal presence, is the Napa Valley Vintner’s auction. The workshop was humming along at a high decibel as finishing touches were put on auction-lot sets for various clients, including the Napa Valley Vintners and a number of wineries. Thomas was planing lengths of walnut destined for Tusk Estates wine boxes, part of an auction lot that will eventually include San Francisco 49ers helmets and jerseys.
Designers Transform Old Mondavi Cottage Into Spectacular Showhouse
Napa designer Richard Von Saal's "man cave" family room has similar finds, such as oak slabs from Calistoga that he used to make the coffee table and the back of the sofa.
He also fashioned end tables from old telephone poles that had been in downtown Napa.
Napa girds for rock-n-roll mania
NAPA - BottleRock, the biggest thing to hit Napa since Prohibition ended, uncorks next week with the arrival of some of music's biggest headliners and an expected horde of 35,000 fans.
Soon the world will know whether the city of 78,000 was prepared for the onslaught. That Napa is hosting the five-day music festival at all still seems a bit unreal, like someone's idea of a funny joke after they've spent too much time at one of the wine bars that have proliferated downtown.
Napa is where the local radio station uses the head-banging tag-line of "sauvignon rock" and where the busiest after-hours joint on most nights is the city's central jail.