reviews for: listing #57246 - Lafayette, California House rental

Schneider Residence
  • bedrooms  4
  • pool  yes
  • type  House
  • baths  3
  • hot tub  yes
  • community  Hunsaker Canyon
  • sleeps  12
  • pets allowed  yes
  • rates (USD) $950 - $950 /nt
    $4,000 - $4,000 /wk
    $12,000 - $12,000 /mth

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Best weekend of my life!

Review submitted: October 12, 2012   Date of arrival: September 28, 2012

I have no words to explain how beautiful this place is. It's so home and real. There are flowers everywhere and the view is earth-shattering. After 3 days with all of our best friends I honestly felt like we had found a new home and it was truly hard to leave.

The whole house is a conversation piece because around each corner is a unique picture or artifact. We had 6 friends staying from England and I think they were convinced that they should move to California, the true life of paradise.

In addition to the beautiful house I could also not be more please with the owner, Karen. She is the kindest woman, who seriously went out of her way to make sure out wedding weekend was amazing. She responded to emails quickly and offered about a million essential catering dishes that were invaluable for our perfect day.

Thank you soooooooo much. Lots of love.

Mallory and Alex Airey

Owners response: It was a pleasure working with you and Mallory. The photos of your wedding were beautiful. I hope that you and your guests will find an opportunity to return. Thank you for the the thoughtful review.


Helpful votes: 2 / 2


Dream House for Dream Wedding

Review submitted: June 19, 2014   Date of arrival: June 5, 2014

There has to be few cosmic meridians that intersect the hill top upon which the Schneider Residence was built. Of course the views are majestic in almost every kind of light and angle from sunrise to sunset. There's a special kind of energy there that's calming, sublime and just glorious. Thank you Doug & Karen for sharing the magic that you've harnessed & cultivated in your beautiful home.

It was beyond perfect for our wedding and then surprised us even more by magnificently allowing our families to meld and cook together for the first time. Garden blooms seduce the eyes and noses and nooks & crannies provide mystery and seclusion for all to discover and explore.

We will be returning to this wonderful find and just hope that the opportunity to experience the Schneider Residence will avail itself to us for years to come!

Recommended for: age 55+, families with young children, people with disabilities, families with teenagers, girls getaway, pet-friendly, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Absolutly Amazing!

Review submitted: December 11, 2013   Date of arrival: September 20, 2013

The location is truly breathtaking. This home is a rare gem! I had a wonderful time spending my 30th bday here and would reccomend this home to all!

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Breathtaking place!!!

Review submitted: September 1, 2013   Date of arrival: August 16, 2013

My fiancé and I booked this home for our wedding weekend, so that we and out-of-town friends could have a home base. Communication with Karen was great throughout the process. She was especially conscientious and accommodating about cleaning before our arrival because of cat allergy issues. The house is beautiful inside and out--and the drive up is well worth the spectacular views! We enjoyed the hot tub and pool, both day and night. We will never forget staying there on our special weekend.

Recommended for: age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, girls getaway, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


My son's wedding

Review submitted: May 29, 2013   Date of arrival: May 21, 2013

My wife and I had a wonderful time hosting our son's wedding week at the house.
From the rehearsal dinner, to the wedding itself and then a Memorial Day BBQ the house and the grounds were a wonderful venue to hosts these events.
The views and the amenities are outstanding and all our guests really enjoyed the time they spent there.
The owners are wonderful people clearly love to open up their house for events such as a wedding and were very easy to work with.
I loved staying at the house I would definitely recommend the Schneider Residence to host your event!!

Recommended for: adventure seekers, people with disabilities, families with teenagers, girls getaway, pet-friendly, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Charming and intimate for our wedding

Review submitted: April 14, 2013   Date of arrival: April 4, 2013

We enjoyed our time at the Schneider Residence so much! Met with Karen and her husband before our weekend to plan a bit and they were both so gracious and welcoming. The property is beautiful with fantastic views, a lovely garden and unique and intriguing fixtures and decor. Not like every other house; interesting, personal and wonderful!! Again and again our guests asked how we found this place, they couldn't believe we so lucked out. Thanks VRBO.

We were able to hold our rehearsal dinner there as a BBQ that we did ourselves and then a catered brunch for the reception. The kitchen was well appointed for us to cook and serve for 25 at dinner and then the caterer was great the next day to serve for 40. Some of our out of town friends were able to stay over with us in the house, making time for friends to catch up in a relaxed atmosphere. We took advantage of the lovely views and held the ceremony on the front lanai/outlook and did our formal seeting/dining on the back patio. We only had one child with us (age 3.5), but she enjoyed the house and all the amenities, especially the pool table. Our guests included several octogenarians and everyone was able to maneuver on the property well as there were no required stairs. The sleeping loft gives great flexibility and friends stayed up there, while the bedroom wing was extremely quiet despite other people being in the house. The llamas at the next property down the hill proved to be excellent gatekeepers, welcoming our guests. One friend is a birder from out of state and he loved all the beautiful birds that visited the property. Everyone took pictures!!

We will never forget our wedding celebration at this wonderful house. We gathered the people we love there and they were part of something important to us. The house, its views, atmosphere and amenities all contributed to our special day and to helping everyone relax and enjoy. Thank you so much for welcoming us and allowing us to stay. It was an amazing weekend.

Recommended for: age 55+, people with disabilities, girls getaway, pet-friendly, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Thanksgiving/family reunion

Review submitted: December 3, 2012   Date of arrival: November 21, 2012

4 couples, 2 toddlers and a chihuahua loved this place - especially the view. In town for family reunion/Thanksgiving in Moraga, we didn't sped as much time at the house as we hoped. They had everything you could wish for. We hope to stay there next Thanksgiving as well!

Recommended for: age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, girls getaway, pet-friendly, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Owners response: Thank you for the positive review! I enjoyed getting the chance to meet you and show you a bit about the house. We now have a Graco pack n play for the younger set. That should come in handy!

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Great Place for a Wedding Reception

Review submitted: November 21, 2012   Date of arrival: November 10, 2012

My wife and I were married earlier in the year in a very small ceremony. We also wanted to celebrate with our friends and family, however, so 5 months later we planned to have a party. Finding a place for 65 people is not easy, especially because we wanted it to have outdoor access. We considered Stern Grove, churches in the Berkeley hills, city of oakland rental properties, etc., but none of them had a unique feel. This place, however, did, and we are very glad we found it.
Things we liked:
Our dog could explore and run free
The view / setting is stunning
The drive uphill is unique and feels rewarding
The parking is ample for a large party
The layout allows people to spread out inside, out front, out back and upstairs

Thanks for letting us have our celebration here - everyone loved the venue, and wanted to know more about the owner who was willing to open up such a nice place for others to enjoy.
Thank you Karen

Recommended for: families with young children, families with teenagers, pet-friendly, romantic getaway

Owners response: This was an unusual event for us, we generally do not allow non- overnight events. Our typical contract is three day minimum to hold any small reception at the property. The bride and groom were so enthusiastic! We provided service utensils, warmers, and water pitchers. You did a beautiful job leaving the house as it was found, in clean condition. (65 guests is a bit over our upper limit.)

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Absolutely Unbelievable

Review submitted: November 11, 2012   Date of arrival: November 5, 2012

Breathtaking is the first word that came to mind when I drove up to the Schneider's property. The views are absolutely magnificent. I grew up in the Bay Area, and to see Mount Diablo from the JACUZZI in the BATHROOM made me almost giddy. And thats just the beginning.
From the unique layout of the mansion, to the hospitality of its owners I was struck dumb by our luck in this find. My wife and I were having a reunion with friends after a college reunion at St. Mary's, and we could NOT have picked a better place. We all relaxed in the jacuzzi with wine and watched the sun set over the valley. The girls sat in the sauna and gossiped about us while the guys played pool. I have one staunch exerciser buddy who could not have been happier with the endless pool. He was in there every day! (So were we, but not to exercise.) The backyard is especially beautiful. Stone bricks, and just fabulous gardening that the owner has done. Flowers and fairy lights everywhere. It was a dream.
Because we set the whole thing up, we got to stay in the master bedroom, but I must say, the other bedrooms were beautiful too. The master is pretty luxurious, though. Huge king bed, views of my beloved mountain. I could go on and on, and already have.
A few words about the interior: The dining room is super fancy and perfect for large parties of up to ten I would say, although there is a separate table that can be moved in and would fit I think. We all chipped in on dinner one night (the kitchen is huge and very accommodating) and sat around the table until one in the morning! The windows in the dining room look out onto the valley! Ok. I'll stop now, but I could go on and on.
This was one of the best weeks we have ever had. I will DEFINITELY book again...maybe in winter when we can use the fire places...
Thanks again, Karen. Wonderful wonderful wonderful

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, people with disabilities, families with teenagers, girls getaway, pet-friendly, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Owners response: Thank you for the very complimentary review Adam. We try very hard to keep our guests happy and anxious to return. I am sure you would love to be in the house during the wintertime! We do have a wood stove in the front room and a fireplace near the pool table and plenty of wood. Did you get a chance to use the sauna? That is especially appealing after a cold afternoon shopping downtown Walnut Creek and it's new Neiman Marcus store. There is also great cute shops in Lafayette also with several options for coffee and tea breaks. I will be looking forward to seeing you again soon Adam!


Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Chairman of the board

Review submitted: October 31, 2012   Date of arrival: October 22, 2012

Exellent vocation. Very quiet and comfortable Villa. All what you need, avaliable. Super location. We were travelling two families with kids, our chldren liked this holidays very much.

Recommended for: families with young children

Owners response: It was exciting to have your family from Estonia! You left a note that the children liked the house so much they didn't want to leave.They also liked shopping with the upscale stores and great restaurants. I hope you will be back this way soon!

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


What you see is not what you get

Review submitted: October 15, 2012   Date of arrival: September 14, 2012

This is an updated post because there were important issues I didn't include in the original as my first impression was wrong and I didn't know it.

I thought my wedding weekend would be a small and quiet affair and all would go well but it didn't. The property has nice gardens and views but the owners are very neglectful of details.

After one of the two nights my officiant stayed in one of the spare bedrooms she had bed bug bites. We asked Karen to later check the bedroom and she said she didn't find anything. My friend had to spend money to fumigate her own home days after the stay at the Lafayette house because they had been brought in by her and her luggage which was also in the spare bedroom.

Also, when you're cleaning up before you leave they have a list of things you must do to get your full deposit back. In wanting to make sure I got mine back which I did you needed to dump all waist baskets in the home, take your trash with you if it was in excess of one outside bin and leave it as it was when you arrived. I was told that their maid would clean the property just prior to my checkin (that's who I would get the key from). So essentially I felt like I need to clean like a maid in order to get the deposit. The cleaning list is very lengthy and I didn't know why I had paid so much for my nights stay if it didn't include cleaning like a hotel would.

The worst of all is this. The night before our wedding which included 10 children my fiance and I found a loaded revolver in the kitchen area on a book shelf waist/child height. I was very upset by this and couldn't believe Karen could have left this behind as it's a deadly weapon. Thank god we found it and not an inquisitive child not knowing what it was and we put it in the our bedroom hopefully for safe keeping during our special weekend. Huge over site that could have been awful for me and my guests.

Also, two doors to the home wouldn't close and lock properly. One off the game room and the other from the sauna/bathroom. In the list of must follow to get your deposit back it states all doors must be locked when you leave. I had to call her to make sure what she wanted me to do and she said just leave it, not a problem. This property did not make me feel safe!

In discussing issues with Karen I found her to be very combative and argumentative which doesn't make for a comfortable stay as you need to be able to have a good interaction with someone you're doing business with.

Owners response: I have asked repeatedly that you remove your posting which is composed of lies and libelous comments. For whatever reason Home Away and VRBO refuse to delete any post made by a verified guest. Perhaps I have to take legal action. You told me that you would always have wonderful memories of your wedding at our home and you didn't believe that "Jennifer" got bedbugs at my house. I guess arguing for my reputation makes me combative although all our personal meeting were very cordial. I have a certified inspector's report that showed I do not have any budbugs. Your friend does and she didn't get them here.

Helpful votes: 0 / 6


Paradise 45 Minutes from the SF

Review submitted: August 27, 2012   Date of arrival: August 18, 2012

Karen's home is a veritable slice of paradise located 45 minutes from the Bay. With amazing amenities, (pool, pool table, hottub, sauna) we felt completely at home while feeling we had truly managed to escape to some place magical. Karen went to great lengths to make sure our stay was easy and hassle free. I will definitely be reserving an additional weekend or two in the near future.

Recommended for: age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, girls getaway, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Get away

Review submitted: August 13, 2012   Date of arrival: August 1, 2012

We had a great time at the Residence. The owner was extremely nice and helpful. The house was amazing the views were beautiful. Everything was there and usable. The house is a rustic beautiful getaway. The road to the house is paved and nice down to one lane at times. There is alot of wild life such as deer and turkeys which were fun to watch. The house is well built and is very close to town, bart parking, grocery etc. The house was a nice size for a large party, we had 11 people. I think a better fit would be 8 or less for more privacy. We did have a issue with water pressure if there were two or more things running at the same time. However hot water was never a problem. Very nice beautiful home and location. Easy to get to San Fransico and or Half moon, San Jose, Oakland airport and Monterey. We loved Lafayette nice place to visit and shop. We had a great time!

Owners response: Thank you for staying for the week Michelle. I was not aware the water pressure was a problem for you as you didn't mention it. We had a filter system and a new on demand hot water tank installed so guests could take showers without concern for running out of hot water. The water pressure is being repaired. I am glad you enjoyed your stay, the house is indeed a special place; great for families with children as part of the group. Having 11 adults and using the sofa bed is not ideal for a week. Yes, sleeping 4 couples and a few kids is a better fit for the house.

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Absolutely awesome, unique, mountain top home!

Review submitted: June 26, 2012   Date of arrival: June 11, 2012

Karen and Doug,
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay from June 11, 2012 to June 17, 2012 in your unique home. It was everything as stated in descriptions and photos. We celebrated my son's & daughter-in-law's 20th anniversary and our 50th anniversary there all in one week. This was our family of eleven grand celebration and what a time we had. We spent sereral days in San Francisco as well as time in Napa Valley and north along the Pacific coast. Your home was centrally located between the three and a welcome retreat after a long day. Your welcome jestures were a wow and your calls to make sure everything was okay were appreciated. We saw deer serveral times and a family of three one day on the patio itself. We even enjoyed tasting the cherries from your cherry tree. The hot tub and swimming pool was ready and waiting for us and much enjoyed with all the gorgeous views. As a gardener, I loved all the patios and flowers. The best to you and yours. Earl and Suzanne - Texas

Owners response: It was fun talking to you on the phone prior to the trip to plan excursions and I am so glad you were able to enjoy all we have to offer. The deer do make themselves at home when our dog is gone from the property. We are happy when people are able to bring deer chasers with them! Your family were fabulous guests and I would love to have you return when you come back to Northern California!

Thanks for the great review.


Helpful votes: 1 / 1


July 21-24, 2011- Family Reunion via son's wedding

Review submitted: August 5, 2011   Date of arrival: July 21, 2011

Hi Karen and Doug,
We want to thank you so much for being so accommadating to us with our special needs and plans as we not only had 11 family member join us to celebrate our son's wedding in Moraga, but we hosted the rehersal dinner on Friday night on the patio. Views are stunning. We felt like we were in a Tuscan Villa. With an Italian theme of the rehersal dinner, it made for a very private and romantic evening. We did not want to leave this relaxing, comfortable and well-maintained home. It really was a place of retreat and renewal for our small group of family/friends. The pictures and descriptions do not do this place justice. It is a great place to get away from it all.

Recommended for: age 55+, girls getaway, romantic getaway

Owners response: Dear Barbara and Bruce,

It was pleasure having your rehearsal dinner at our house and a place where your out of town family members could stay for a Lamorinda Wedding! The set up along the front patio was gorgeous! I am so glad you are happy! Hope you will have cause to stay another time!

Karen Schneider

Helpful votes: 1 / 1



Review submitted: January 26, 2011   Date of arrival: January 14, 2011

The description of this property says everything what we expect! Excellent for a family reunion! Doug and Karen makes all of us to feel like home during our stay....everything we need is already there. Super Awesome!

Owners response: Thank you, Edward. I am glad your mother's 90th birthday was a success. We were happy to accommodate her special needs. Going the extra mile is what we like to do! If you are happy, we are happy!


Helpful votes: 1 / 1


exceeds expectations

Review submitted: December 3, 2010   Date of arrival: October 16, 2008

the Schneider residence is an absolutely beautiful and rustic place to stay! The views are phenomenal, the hottub overlooking the views is awsome, the christmas lights around the patio are an excellent touch and the whole ambiance is a cozy yet ellegant and inviting feeling. Karen was very accomodating to us and a pleasure to be in contact with. I only wish we could have stayed longer however the memories for my husband and I will last a life time.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, girls getaway, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Owners response: Thank you Crystal for the kind words and the recommendation. I could tell that you and John were the perfect couple to enjoy the house. John loved the bear and the whimsey. So glad your time was great! Hopefully you will be back!

Karen and Doug

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


so beautiful!

Review submitted: November 28, 2010   Date of arrival: September 18, 2010

This is one of the most beautiful homes I have ever seen. The landscaping is enchanting, and the indoors are homey and lodge-like- perfect for a vacation. It is magically isolated on a hilltop, but close enough to town to make trips out convenient. I wished I could take a little piece of it's charm with me when I left!

Recommended for: age 55+, families with young children, people with disabilities, families with teenagers, girls getaway, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Owners response: Thanks Melissa!

If you took some of the charm you wouldn't need to come back and au revoir is our favorite sentiment! So glad you had a good time!

Best to you and your delightful friends!
Au Revoir!


Helpful votes: 2 / 2


Fantastic Weekend

Review submitted: November 28, 2010   Date of arrival: November 22, 2010

We couldn't have asked for a more comfortable bed! The pictures on your ad do not do the property justice, it is just so much more awe inspiring! Thank you for the brie and wine and flowers. You really went out of your way to welcome us. We hope to be back soon for another break from LA. Don't change a thing! Also! Thanks for the recommendations for dinner in Fisherman's Wharf SF. We loved the chioppino!



Recommended for: people with disabilities, girls getaway, romantic getaway

Owners response: Dear Katie,

Thank you for the kind words. We always are excited to have new people experience our unique home and the great vantage point we have, and the fabulous weather in Northern California. Glad you liked the chioppino at the grotto! Next time out you should try Casa Orinda, our favorite local restaurant.


Helpful votes: 1 / 1

Guest Comment entered by owner


Review submitted: June 25, 2010   Date of arrival: May 4, 2010

Hi Karen.
All I can think today is "WOW". We all had an incredible time. The thanks I'm getting for organizing a wonderful weekend at such a beautiful place is overwhelming. Thank you so much for your hospitality. I'm sorry we missed each other on checkout, but we had to get going.
Most importantly I hope you found your home left in as good of a condition as it was when we moved in. That was really important to all of us as a gesture of how grateful we were that we were able to enjoy your exclusive property. I don't think any of us had previously been a part of something so special. Thanks again!

Helpful votes: 1 / 1

Guest Comment entered by owner

Welcome Summer!

Review submitted: June 25, 2010   Date of arrival: May 30, 2010

Karen andDoug,

Once again your wonderful home made for a fantastic time for us to ring in summer. From the dramatic upward shift in the weather that just couldn't have been better, to the wonderful additions throughout the house and yard (I particularly liked the sun dial in the back yard), you two have created such a wonderful place. Everyone had a great time. We hope to make this an annual affair!

Helpful votes: 0 / 0

Guest Comment entered by owner

A Wonderful Time!

Review submitted: June 25, 2010   Date of arrival: September 28, 2009

Dear Karen and Doug,
We had such a wonderful time! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home with us. We thoroughly enjoyed the spectacular views, the comfortable rooms, the hot tub, the pool table, the decks, bar-be-que and gourmet kitchen. Thank you so much for the snacks you left - they got us through the first evening and morning.
It was such a gift to all be together during this weekend for my son's wedding (which went beautifully).

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


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