Farmhouse Inn, a boutique hotel near the western Sonoma County community of Forestville in Russian River Valley, is completing an $8 million renovation and expansion project.

On Sept. 1, a new spa is set to open. The project also includes nine new "barn" rooms, designed to look like those structures of yesteryear that dot the county's vineyards and hillsides, and a revamped pool area. The new rooms have large windows and private decks overlooking the woods, a jetted tub and separate steam shower, radiant-heated floors, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and classic furniture.

[caption id="attachment_95755" align="alignleft" width="420"] One of the new "barn" suites at Farmhouse Inn[/caption]

The inn will soon have 25 rooms. They range from the 350-square-foot "king standard" cottage for $595 a night to the 700-square-foot "king luxury" suites for $995 a night. The new "king deluxe" rooms have 550--600 square feet and go for $845 a night.

Four barn cottages will be available Aug. 8 and the remaining five, Aug. 22.

A guest services building is set to open in November or December.

Farmhouse tied for No. 28 with a 123-suite Thai resort on Travel + Leisure magazine's 19th annual list of the world's best hotels, garnering a reader score of 94.67 out of 100. The publication noted Farmhouse's six concierges, three bellmen and farm-to-table restaurant, rated with one "star" by Michelin.

The project team was SB Architects, ValleyCrest landscape architects, Myra Hoefer Design and general contractor Shook & Waller.

From Aug. 1 through Dec. 25, Farmhouse is offering a free night for four or more nights booked in the "king deluxe" or "luxury" barn rooms.***

The city of Rohnert Park has joined a handful of other North Bay governments that offer an online tool for residents and contractors wanting to get their projects going more quickly. eTRAKiT, the online interface of the City’s new land development and permitting software, TRAKiT by Carlsbad-based CRW Systems, is now available through the city website (https://rpccrw.rpcity.org/eTRAKiT3).

Through eTRAKiT, users who have signed up for an account (707-588-2240, rpcity.org/index.aspx?page=100) can apply for the most common residential building permits, look up permit status and do basic property, permit and contractor research.

Property owners and contractors can apply online for residential air-conditioning, water heater, furnace, electrical panel and reroof permits. As city staff reviews and approves permits, applicants are notified via email or phone that permits are ready to be issued. Applicants can then pay for their permits online, rather than visiting the City Hall permit counter.

Applicants can check the status of permit approvals and schedule inspections.

But anyone can do basic research on properties, permits or contractors, such as property owner name and address, permits taken out on a property or by a contractor or key permit dates such as approval, issuance, final and expiration.

Other local jurisdictions that use eTRAKiT include the cities of Napa, San Rafael, Novato, Vallejo and Vacaville. The county of Sonoma and Santa Rosa use online permit management and research software by Accella of San Ramon.***

Hiring started in mid-July for the 33,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Neighbhorhood Market store set to open this fall at Mountain Shadows Center in east Rohnert Park (careers.walmart.com).

The Arkansas-based global retail giant leased a vacant Pacific Market location in the shopping center last fall then started renovations to convert it to grocery and department store that's a fraction of the size of its typical "supercenter" format.***

[caption id="attachment_95756" align="alignleft" width="224"] Eric Wade[/caption]

BKF Engineers (707-583-8500, bkf.com) hired Eric Wade, P.E., as a registered civil engineer in the North Bay team, based in Santa Rosa.

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with design teams in the Napa Valley, helping wineries large and small from the initial design phase through construction and marketing; as well as helping existing wineries increase their production," Mr. Wade said. "The recently built Arkenstone Vineyards in Angwin, was one of my favorite projects. This project included a wine cave, solar array and wastewater systems, all while avoiding the historical stone walls throughout the site."

Mr. Wade is active in the local chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a B.S. in civil and environmental engineering.***

[caption id="attachment_95757" align="alignleft" width="224"] Carole Bionda[/caption]

Carole Bionda, vice president of Nova Group, Inc. (707-265-1147, novagrp.com), a general engineering contractor in Napa, has been elected to the National Academy of Construction (naocon.org), located at the University of Texas, Austin.

She is one of 25 the academy selects each year for membership, based on “extraordinary leadership, exceptional achievements and lasting improvements to the construction industry over many years, many projects and the many components” of the diverse industry. She will be formally inducted at the annual meeting in October in Austin.

Ms. Bionda joined Nova Group in 1986 after practicing law for a number of years. Her roles include overseeing the company’s small-business subcontracting program in addition to serving on the company’s board and as compliance, equal employment officer.

During her career, Ms. Bionda has served in leadership roles at many of the industry’s top associations, such as Associated General Contractors, California Construction Craft Training Center, National Center for Construction Education and Research, Women Construction Owners and Executives, which gave her a Woman of the Year Achievement Award this year, and Associated Builders and Contractors, for which she was elected national chairman in 2004....

Send items for this column to jquackenbush@busjrnl.com or call 707-521-4256.

Amplification, July 28, 2014: Farmhouse Inn "barn" rooms are scheduled to be available Aug. 8 and 22, and a guest-services building, in November or December. The original version of this column said the project was completed, while opening dates were specified in the future.