“The George” Goodman House - TheHandsomest House in Town
by Craig Smith
When it was nominated for the National Register of Historic Places in 1993, the Goodman House at 492 Randolph was described as “one of Napa’s most successfully executed examples of late nineteenth-century residential architecture.” The write up went on to say, “When compared with the hundreds of other residences from that period in Napa, the George Goodman Jr. House emerges as one of the ten or twelve most significant.” Shortly after the house was built in 1891, a local journalist called it, “the handsomest house in town.”
Although it was widely reported that banker George Goodman Sr. built the home as a wedding gift for his son George Jr., this was a misconception. The house was actually financed by George Jr. himself. Construction took ten months, and was noted at the time for “its modern conveniences, including fire hoses discreetly located at each floor; electric start buttons (or switches) for the gas-electric combination lights, a security system with alarms and special non-skeleton key locks, and indoor plumbing that was eventually connected to the city’s future sewer lines.” The Register made a point of noting there was no outhouse located on the residence’s 3/4-acre parcel. Unfortunately, after living there with his family for only 2 ½ years, George Jr. died of tuberculosis. His wife and daughter returned to San Francisco, and the home was sold several times in the following decades.
Sadly, the building, which was already suffering signs of disrepair, was badly damaged by the 2014 earthquake. It might have been left to further decay if Patty Theodorides and her daughter Kiki hadn’t driven by it several times. “We used to see this place and think, something like this would be great to bring back to life,’” said Kiki, “but it wasn’t for sale.”
Until it was. In 2016, the house went on the market and was purchased by Patty. Together with her daughter Kiki and son George (all three coincidentally bankers, just like the Goodmans), they began an extensive renovation of over $3 million dollars and converted it to a boutique luxury inn. “The house was dilapidated,” said Kiki. “The foundation was badly damaged and there was lots of dry rot and earthquake damage. Besides having to repair all that, the building needed all new electrical, HVAC, fire sprinklers and plumbing.
The property presented a lot of original architectural details that were able to be restored, such as inlay hardwood floors, main staircase wooden banisters, and stained glass windows, including one depicting doves, a feature touted when the house was first built. On the first floor, the Theodorides family added a gorgeous demonstration kitchen which is open to the grand living room. “The third floor needed a lot of thought and planning”, said Kiki. “Being the attic, we needed to make sure it was appealing, so we opened up the space by exposing the interior ceiling peaks and uncovering the beautiful wooden support beams. These decisions have now made these some of our most welcoming rooms.”
One of the alterations done many years prior to the Theodorides ownership was the enclosure of the front porch. This is now the dining room where local Italian-born artist Fabio Sanzogni painted an amazing mural, which is a true work of art. As for the exterior paint, the level of detailing called for a color expert. “We brought in Bob Buckter of San Francisco to select the color pallet. He has the experience and does a lot of fine detail work on Victorians in San Francisco,” said Patty.
The Theodorides used mostly a local craftsman for the project. Juan Chavez with JMC Construction. “Juan Chavez was amazing, he really worked well with our family,” said Kiki. “Juan and my father Jim, who project managed along with my mom, remedied many critical obstacles.”
This month, “The George,” as they named it, will be set to open for guests. The name is homage to the late George Goodman Jr. Or is it? Patty jokes that the name could come from her family’s Greek heritage. “George is a very Greek name,” she noted. “My father, my son, my grandson, my uncle, my father-in-law are all named George.”
Either way, the newly refurbished boutique luxury inn is stunning, and adds even more character to the neighborhood. “We were aware when we started that making these kinds of changes could be emotional for many of our neighbors. Fortunately, we’ve had a lot of really positive support,” said Kiki.