Danville Express

- March 16, 2007

Living the Southwest dream

Danville builder creates a work of art in Santa Fe style home

by Jordan M. Doronila

His view is deep. Rick Deherrera sees a myriad of peaks and valleys from his hillside dream home in Danville.

Visit his Southwestern abode and see a 270-degree panoramic view of a world with hills, houses, farms and black dirt afar off in the Dougherty Valley.

Deherrera lives with his wife Carina, two children Ricky Jr. and Hanna, and their Siberian husky, Floyd, in the rustic Santa Fe home on top of a ridgeline on Lawrence Road off Camino Tassajara. It is 6,000 square feet, surrounded by palm trees, and sits on 8.72 acres.

Deherrera also has built a roadway for cars to get to his property.

"I wanted to build my dream home," Deherrera said.

"It's great," he added. "We've got privacy and big space."

Santa Fe is of a Mexican orientation, which combines simple wood, brick and stucco construction with highly decorative details throughout, typical of Southwestern.

"It has always been our taste," he said.

Deherrera's home has six car garages, a grotto, and a swimming pool that features a vanishing edge on a hill. The pool flows into the grotto, which is Fiberglas reinforced by concrete panels, he said.

Moreover, the grotto contains a plasma television screen, a bar to serve food and drinks, and a waterfall that cascades into the pool. It also has a changing room, a shower, sink and bathroom.

The home's interior has leather bound furniture brought from Santa Fe, New Mexico, he said. His tiled floors have no carpets but are graced with cattle skins and area rugs.

"We wanted everything to be authentic," he said.

On the walls hang art, artifacts from the Indian and Mayan cultures. Teak columns that are 200 years old are placed by the dining room, and there are Santa Fe candleholders.

An aquarium forms a wall in the living area, where exotic sea creatures such as clown fish and algae eaters swim through their watery world. It holds 600 gallons of water, and is eight feet wide and five feet tall with plexiglass two inches thick.

The master bedroom has a fireplace and a wooden chest. The chest is 100 years old and is from a monastery, Deherrera said. The room doors - shipped from Costa Rica - are made of distressed mahogany, meant to give an aged appearance.

The bedroom has a cove ceiling, formed by hand-carved hewn poles. There are 43 of the poles supporting the eight-foot-wide veranda that surrounds the entire perimeter of the home. The master bedroom has clear glass, 14-foot-wide, 9-foot-tall pocket doors that open outside fully to the airy breath of the sky, by day or night. Glass pocket doors were also used in the home's great room.

Deherrera noted the lights outside look beautiful during the evening.

The master shower is made of travertine inlaid with tiles and marble. In addition, its walls are made of granite, and it contains marble columns. A waterfall drips down when one of the faucet levers is turned forward.

The bathroom has a skylight and a sauna. And the sink is made of Opera Fantastico Marble from Italy, Deherrera said.

In the home's hallways is a bell hanging 30 feet high in the ceiling.

Booooong! Deherrera rings the bell; the sound reverberates throughout the spacious rooms.

Deherrera purchased a bell for the tower in downtown Danville three years ago during the Harvest Festival. The bell is made of steel, courtesy of the legendary but now defunct Andrew Carnegie owned U.S. Steel Corp., and weighs 260 pounds.

In the garages is an arcade room with a pool table made of cherry wood and autographed pictures of sports celebrities such as New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle.

Deherrera, an Oakland native, bought his Danville property in 1996 from a foreclosure on a bank note, he said, and it took 10 years to build and settle into the home.

He studied business at California State University, East Bay. Currently, he owns RMT Landscapes and General Engineering Contractors, with offices in Danville and Oakland.

His company is a commercial landscape and general engineering contractor operating primarily in the nine Bay Area Counties, according to his company's Web site. He established it in 1977 and it has grown to be one of the largest commercial and residential contractors in Northern California, specializing in custom residential and commercial and industrial projects, such as hotels, shopping centers, roadways, schools, parks, hospitals, water treatment plants and public transportation projects.

One of the tips he shares about building a home is to make sure have enough in one's budget, which will help manage potential cost overruns.

Recently, Deherrera has been in local news about a dispute with the Town of Danville about his 20-foot palm trees. The town wanted him to remove his trees because of a local ridgeline ordinance said, but the Planning Commission voted 4-3 in favor of Deherrera as long as he screens some of the palms with oak trees.

"I'm very happy with the decision," he said.

The palm trees add to personal vision of Southwest living, his dream home shared by his family with the convenience and enjoyment of living in Danville.


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