Painted in shades of bright yellow, purple, turquoise and hot pink, the vintage Victorian home on Vallejo Street in Napa certainly stands out in the neighborhood.
Named Goddess Cove, the two-story house at 877 Vallejo St. has been home to owner Colleen Moore since 1998.
Moore said the colors of her house were inspired by two things: a friend’s home that was painted equally colorfully and her favorite flowers that grow in the front of her own home.
“Those are happy colors,” Moore said. “It makes people happy. It gives them something to think about.”
More inspiration came from her regular visits by boat to St. Thomas island in the Caribbean Sea. So she planted palm trees, chose stained glass that reminds her of water for most windows and installed a lighted stained glass mural depicting her interpretation of Goddess Cove.
The house is meant to be a “sanctuary for all those that need a safe harbor to come to during the storms of their lives,” said Moore.
Today, Moore and her companion, Richard Graeser, live there, along with three roommates who each rent a room upstairs. Another bedroom, downstairs, is rented nightly as a permitted hosted accommodation rental.
Rent for the long-term roommates start at about $875 a month. According to a VRBO listing, the hosted vacation rental room rents for about $130 a night.
Goddess Cove is not a B&B or Napa hotel room. “It’s a lived-in house,” Moore said.
Eclectic, eccentric and whimsical, Goddess Cove seems to draw visitors who are looking for something different, or more affordable, than the typical Napa Valley hotel room.
The room is popular, said Moore. She’s had authors, doctors, students and many others stay the night. They come for inspiration or are drawn to the property because of its colorful exterior, she said. Another advantage is how close the home is to downtown Napa and the Oxbow.
On VRBO.com, Goddess Cove has 64 reviews going back to 2017. It’s earned 4.9 out of five stars.
Moore, who is 71, said she bought the home 21 years ago for around $180,000. At the time, she was working as an occupational nurse in Silicon Valley.
Built around 1885, the house had originally been located on Pearl Street, where the Kohl’s department store parking lot is today.
In the 1950s, the Victorian was moved to 877 Vallejo St., said Moore. For a time, it was divided into two separate flats – one upstairs, and one downstairs.
Moore said she first set eyes on the residence after visiting Napa with a friend.
“It called out to me,” she said. “I always imagined living in a great big house like my great-grandmother’s” in Salinas.
“She was like my dream house,” said Moore. “I knew this house was very special.” It pulled her “like a magnet.”
The former owner, Edwin Johnson, had lived in it for 40 years, and the Victorian was not in good condition, said Moore. There were holes in the floors, holes from a pellet gun in one window, the floors had lifted after the 1986 flood and some of the windows were duct taped in place.
“This place was a mess. My friends wouldn’t even come in,” she said.
In fact, it was in such bad shape, she had a hard time getting a loan for the property.
But she did.
“When Colleen makes her mind up to do something, she never lets go,” said Graeser.
Over the years, Moore has added a new roof, attic, plumbing, walls, flooring, bathrooms, kitchen, electrical, lighting and heat. A new foundation installed in 2006 saved the home in the 2014 earthquake, she said.
Inside the 2,400-square-foot dwelling, the décor includes southeast Asian statues, photos of friends and their show dog (a Brazilian Mastiff breed named Dante), giant conch shells, mermaid portraits, a Spanish replica of Excalibur’s sword, elaborately carved wooden furniture and ornate chandeliers with colorfully hand-painted ceiling medallions.
Moore and friends painted the outside themselves, she said. It was white at the time. The repainting took about three years.
Today it could be Napa’s most extravagantly “painted lady.”
In addition, the property is also a licensed and bonded winery. Graeser produces his own wine under the Graeser Winery label. The couple enjoys the wine with their guests.
“I’m very blessed to have people come into my life,” said Moore. “This is better than TV.”
“It keeps us going and gives us a purpose,” said Moore. “And we have a wonderful time meeting people.”