On a Monday morning during the last big push before the Christmas holiday, Chris Haddad leaves his West Seattle home in the predawn darkness for an early flight to Oakland. From the airport, he makes the 90-minute drive to a multimillion-dollar hacienda sprawling on a fecund hilltop in the renowned wine-growing region of Sonoma, California. The house is the fledgling manifestation of several years’ worth of a client’s dreams, a designer’s vision, and a colossal investment—in creative energ...

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