Envy in Santa Ynez, Calif.

Kathy's Remodeling BlogIn all the years I’ve been writing about remodels (more than two decades) and in all the gorgeous homes I’ve visited (more than 500), I’ve only felt envy three times.

One of those times was as the Santa Ynez Valley home featured this week in the L.A. Times Home Section: Crafting Greener Pastures.

I visited this property in 2003 to write an article about it for Santa Barbara Magazine (pictured here).

The home’s owner is furniture designer Hélène (pronounced EY-len) Aumont, and it’s a rustic yet cultured 1940s farmhouse. She lived there at the time with her now-ex-husband Patrick, and a few darling offspring. Of course, they were making cookies when I arrived.

Kathy's Remodeling Blog

My envy was painful. The objects of desire:

• Extensive gravel pathways. Ah, the sounds of crunching!

• Lavender everywhere

• Horses and a barn

• A living room that feels like a French apartment

• Several covered porches

• The white kitchen with a marble countertop fashioned from an antique pool table top

Ironically, as I review photos of Helene’s home, I realize I’m going in that same direction of a white and luminescent kitchen.

My current thinking: Don’t get so caught up envy (on those rare occasions I experience it) and feel ashamed of it and try to shut it down. Rather, ask myself:

What is so beguiling about this place? And how can I create some of this for myself?

See a photo gallery of the gardens in the Home Section

(Photos: Hélène Aumont)