A former chicken ranch, then cooperage, has been remodeled into a luxury St. Helena estate, one that could be yours for $5.195 million.

The property at 1085 Lodi Lane in St. Helena was converted from a business making barrels and casks into a modern industrial residence about 15 years ago.

In 2011, the current owners Wayne and Kara Fingerman bought the property for $1.45 million.

They worked with St. Helena architect Peter J. Collins to refurbish the entire property, including adding a pool, guest house and new landscaping, according to listing agent David Grega of Compass real estate.

“The house was a mess when we bought it,” said Fingerman. “It was clad in fiberglass. The roof leaked. The exterior was plywood.”

But they weren’t deterred. The couple, who lived in Connecticut, were ready to move to the West Coast.

“We were looking for something kind of cool,” he said. They wanted room to exhibit their artwork, and the large wall spaces were almost like an art gallery.

Today, the onetime industrial space and 1.6 acres of land has been completely transformed. The result is a 4,799-square-foot home with an open floor plan that makes great use of 20-foot ceilings, glass, concrete, metal, original tresses and wood cross beams.

There are four bedrooms, 4.5 baths, a media room, family room, guest house, outdoor kitchen, pool, spa and fruit orchard.

Getting there wasn’t easy.

“Little did we know what we were going to have to put into it to renovate it,” said Fingerman. “We spent years getting it to its current state.”

Cooper Phil Burton remembered the early days of Barrel Builders, the cooperage business that used to be located at the property. Back then, he was just an employee of the business he now owns.

The Lodi Lane property was also once a chicken ranch, he said. A railroad was located nearby.

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Burton was surprised to see what the house looks like today.

“Wow,” he said, looking at the listing photos.

The luxury estate for sale today bears no resemblance to the metal shed he worked in, said Burton.

“It was a dump,” he said. “The foundation was sort of cracked. Everything was caked with sawdust.”

“It’s incredible,” he said of the renovation. While not his style, “It’s beautiful in a sort an austere way.”

“Somebody must have spent a million dollars on this place,” said Burton.

He is correct.

“The renovation (cost) a fortune,” said Fingerman, who works in the financial industry.

“I put millions of dollars into it,” he said. Once they got started, “It snowballed,” he said. “And we lived through it, which was the worst part of it.”

Fingerman said the couple decided to sell the house because they have since moved to a vineyard property they own on Diamond Mountain.

As for the next owner, “I think it’s a perfect weekend getaway for a family from San Francisco or the South Bay.”

“The outdoor space is great. It’s a fun family home and for people who really love to entertain.”

The Sacramento Bee contributed to this story.

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The Sacramento Bee contributed to this story.


Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.