Fall 2007/Winter 2008
Suzanne Brangham's Magic Touch
by Kathleen Thompson Hill
For more than three decades, the Sonoma-based designer/developer has seen opportunities where others have not. Suzanne Brangham has renovated or built an astounding 78 properties in San Francisco and Sonoma, and the designer/developer's uncanny knack for recognizing real estate potential where others may not has brought about many success stories: the six-acre Burris/Goode mansion and estate in Sonoma, which she transformed into the elegant MacArthur Place Inn & Spa; the historic home of Mexican general Mariano Vallejo's daughter, which she turned into the respected restaurant the General's Daughter; and Ramekins Culinary School, a prestigious cooking school, B&B, and special-event center.
Brangham's first foray into the real estate business came in 1972 in San Francisco, when she negotiated a lease-option for a building that had just been approved for condos. After remodeling, Brangham bought the building and then sold it, double-escrowing the property-and doubling her investment.
Following several years in San Francisco, however, the East Coast native decided she wanted a quieter atmosphere, and moved to Sonoma. "My roots were in a small town in upstate New York," she says. "I feel I can make a difference in a small town, and I fell in love with Sonoma." Brangham is also very involved in the community. She is a founder of the Red and White Ball, which raises funds to preserve Sonoma's plaza, and is involved with the Sonoma Valley Museum, Sonoma Hospital Foundation, Pets Lifeline, and the Economic Development Association. Brangham confesses that "work is 90 percent of my life," and says she reads, cycles, paints, travels, and plays "geriatric volleyball" in her spare time. "Whenever that is."