Russian River Valley's Farmhouse Inn reworks flooded offices into its first meeting space

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Among the western Sonoma County businesses to have problems with the February floods was Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant in Russian River Valley, but it allowed the family to restore some of the damaged space into business meeting space.

A blocked culvert under River Road between the resort and a vineyard made water back up almost to the door of the Michelin-starred restaurant, according to co-owner Catherine Bortolomei. Three guest cottages and two offices at the front of the property were inundated with water up to waist-deep.

Between the damage, wet weather that kept away guests and negative publicity around flooding in the region, she estimated losses to the family business have been well over $100,000.

The cottages were restored with new items and returned to the market by the end of June.

Her brother Joe Bartolomei came up with the idea to rework the office space as The Grange ( Set for an open house Aug. 28, it’s a 640-square-foot indoor-outdoor space that can accommodate meetings, small weddings, holiday parties or private dinners.

“We’ve never had that before,” Catherine Bartolomei said.

Seating for meetings is 14 and for other events is up to 20 inside and as many as 40 with the patio. The room was outfitted with a 60-inch flat panel television for presentations.

The Bartolomeis also foresee this space being useful for its philanthropic efforts, such as with United Way.

Rental of The Grange starts at $120 per person per day.

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