Meet Our Team
Theresa & Mike
We have been Sonoma residents and have over 20 years of experience in helping people get the most from their living spaces, while being a great resource to help Furnish Your Escape in a way that reflects your personal lifestyle and tastes.
Mike Robertori – Owner
Even in the 80’s Mike indulged his desire to Live Outside with a very early Outdoor Kitchen he built himself in the backyard of a 1860 Victorian he restored in a rural part, yes they exist, of western New Jersey. I was a successful I/T professional consulting to Fortune 500 companies, but I was terrified at the thought of being sentenced to life in a cubicle until retirement, so after helping raise twin daughters I retired from the corporate world and moved to California in 2000 and began a second career as an outdoor living specialist.
In 2001, I opened West Teak, a purveyor of exceptional quality teak garden furniture based on the shuttered Naval Air Station in Alameda. One of my favorite parts of the business was the 2-month trips to Indonesia during the off season to work on product development with the pangrajin (artisans) and to immerse myself in the Indonesian culture in the village factory.
While exhibiting our products at the Auburn Home and Garden Show in 2001, I noticed a woman in the next booth exhibiting exquisite hand-carved giraffes from Zimbabwe, and was intrigued…Long story short, the Teak Man fell in love with the Giraffe Lady, and a few years later they settled togther in the heart of northern California’s Wine Country. We helped grow the small store into the successful, bustling center for outdoor design and furnishings.
My passion is outdoor living and designing Outdoor Rooms, which serve as extensions of the home into the outdoors. With well-designed ones, the boundary is blurred and the flow is seamless. The key to living outside in the wine country combines adequate shade during the day, with something to take the chill off the night air during cool wine country evenings, such as a fire pit around which to enjoy a glass of wine with friends and loved ones. Because of my ‘techie’ background, I relate well with engineers and contractors about the ‘under-the-hood’ aspects of the implementation of complex projects involving outdoor kitchens, indoor fireplaces, and shade structures.
We have years of hands-on design and construction know-how that I bring to the design table to create a beautiful outdoor living space that meets your needs. I combine my high-energy ‘get it done’ drive with an eye for aesthetics. Creation of a master plan which anticipates future potential phases of a project avoids expensive retrofits later. I also enjoy understanding all the technical details that creates great performance–sort of the guru of barbecues, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces and their controls, and general design/build principles.
Theresa Deere – Lead Designer
I was born and raised about 40 minutes outside of London, My family moved to San Ramon when I was a young adult. I have a natural aesthetic for what makes rooms work well. I found I had a great knack for design and I was sought out by my friends to help design their living spaces. I helped create serenity in people’s homes. I’ve always been drawn to the beauty of places and I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii where I could better indulge in the beauty while immersing myself in Island life. The imminent birth of my first daughter led me to cut short my stay in paradise, and I returned to the East Bay to begin raising my daughter, then my son, then another daughter, all the while furthering immersing myself in learning everything I could about design aesthetic.
In the late 90’s I met a missionary named Johan who was working with a village in Zimbabwe near Victoria Falls, helping them take their crude carved giraffes to the next level of realism and animation. Their natural artistic ability combined with Johan’s suggestions and feedback, influenced the development of an art form where the carved giraffes seemed to come alive, with realistic, expressive faces and enthralling countenances. I worked with the tribe and Johan to take the level of art to the next level. Unfortunately, in a nation ravaged by HIV and bad governance as typified by the despot running the country into the ground, the village also fell victim to the failings of the country, and the giraffe chapter of my life ended.
Michael and I live about a mile from the store, and we frequently walk to work with our 2 shop dogs – Guinness and Rugby
I am know as a patient problem-solver with a creative mind and thorough product knowledge. I always try to bring an eye for color & style, a great ear for listening to client’s wishes, as well as my unique optimistic viewpoint on life to every design project. I have a natural knack for selecting colors and palettes that draw from the existing colors of the space, while enthusiastically suggesting colors, patterns, frames & details to bring out the best in a space and making it truly yours.
Tony – Product Specialist
I combine my humorous outlook on life and great inquisitiveness with thorough knowledge of the many product offerings in Villa Terrazza’s deep well to help clients find solutions to our their outdoor design challenges. I have years of experience helping people enhance their homes both indoors and out, I generally think out of the box and frequently come up with imaginative solutions – which none of us had thought of.
Jerilynn – Chief Designer
I have been a sought after interior designer and space planner for over 20 years. From my roots designing vignettes at Elegant Clutter in Danville to my ongoing successful design studio, I make it a point to be at Villa Terrazza every Thursday to help client with their design needs. Feel free to come in and pick my brain! Residential or commercial, I can assist you with every aspect of a project; from color guidance all the way to that perfect accent to complete a room. I have many residential and commercial clients who enlist her services every year for design services.
Guinness – Director of Customer Relations
As VP of Canine Service, Guinness the Chocolate Lab greets everyone who walks thru the front door with the knowledge that they came specifically to see him. Perpetually thrilled to see you, he gently guides guests through the store, especially if they have or ever had treats in their pocket. Guinness also acts as a built in baby sitter, so Mom and Dad can select the right patio set while the kids amuse themselves with Guinness. See his facebook page Guinness Facebook Page.
Rugby – Chief Comfort Tester
Rugby is spoiled rotten because he is so cute, he tends to get away with almost anything, because how can you get mad at a face like that? As a cocker-poodle mix (cockapoo) Rugby is hypo-allergenic, and if you put him on your lap you will not break out in hives. Rugby is a little freaked by small children, but if they approach him slowly and have treats, he will deign to allow them to give him one. Of course, Guinness will assume you actually intended to give it to him…