Success Stories By Dick Kazan - Valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on January 02, 2006

Would you love to turn your hobby into a successful career?

If so, you’ll especially enjoy today’s story about a man who did this at the age of 65.

Dr. Luciano Zamboni was a world renowned fertility specialist and pathologist and an Assistant Professor at UCLA – Harbor General Hospital. He authored or co-authored numerous scientific articles published in a wide range of prestigious scientific journals.

But from the time he was a boy he loved to cook and over the years, he prepared gourmet meals for family, friends and colleagues.

His wife Pauline was successful in her career, director of new construction at UCLA.

The Zambonis had a weekend retreat near the Northern California coast. One day, they saw a 1904 Victorian home for sale, with a barn and out-buildings on 100 acres overlooking the rugged and captivating Mendocino (CA) coast.

As they walked the property, they stood under Redwood trees as tall as office towers. And they enjoyed the groves of dark green Pine, Cyprus and Fir trees surrounded by open meadows.

A winding road took them a short walk to a rocky shoreline, where in winter, when the surf is at its peak, the dark blue waves with their majestic white caps can rise to 20 feet. And as those waves land on the shoreline with a thunderous roar, a mist fills the air with the salty scent of the sea.

It was irresistible. Dr. Zamboni was in his 60’s but he and Pauline decided to start a new career together by creating a scenic inn. They bought the place and with a construction crew, over the next four years they renovated the home and doubled its size to 5400 square feet.

They created their living quarters, four guest bedrooms, a state of the art gourmet kitchen and a dining room and large common rooms for guests to enjoy.

Built of redwood, the home is painted a pale gray. Its two-story dark gray slate angular roof rises and falls in triangles that define the upstairs bedrooms, with their thick square windows capturing the sunlight and the panoramic views.

And rising above the roof line are three red brick chimneys and two tall rounded view turrets.

At the entry and wrapping around three sides of the home is an old-fashioned white wooden front porch with white railings enticing visitors in or to simply sit and relax and view the scenery.

“We kept it true to the Victorian architecture of 1904,” Pauline said. And they renovated the 3,000 square foot, two story redwood barn and the out-buildings as well. Pauline planted flower gardens that bloom in rainbows of reds and whites and pinks and blues.

In 1995, they opened The Inn at Victorian Gardens and it quickly became so popular, that it was booked a year in advance. “Our guests became our friends,” said Pauline. “That’s the reason we kept it small.”

There was no business plan, no management structure, no advertising. From repeat customers, by word of mouth and from newspaper stories, the Inn sold itself to guests.

A highlight was the multi-course dinner where guests savored Dr. Zamboni’s Italian specialties. “And we had only one seating per evening,” Pauline said. “So people could go back to the art of socializing.”

For 11 years, the Inn hosted weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and romantic getaways and was a place where guests could find peace, beauty and solitude.

And because Dr. Zamboni still enjoyed his medical practice, he kept an office at UCLA – Harbor General Hospital and he saw fertility patients a few days a month. Life was marvelous.

And then tragedy struck.

Dr. Zamboni had a cerebral hemorrhage and after lingering in the hospital for a month, he passed away at the age of 76.

“I lost my partner in life, my soul mate and my chef,” Pauline said. “When we had disagreements, I’d say, ‘I can’t even fire my cook.’ “

Pauline is considering what to do with the Inn, which is closed, but remains her residence. “All my life I hated to cook,” sighed Pauline. “But 37 years of marriage to him has rubbed off on me. With two ladies who have worked here for years, we may reopen the kitchen two nights a week and stay true to Luciano’s recipes.”

In any case, “I’m still going to live out my life on the property,” Pauline added. “By being here, I’m living out the dream he and I cherished.” For to her, as it would be to most of us, it is a little piece of heaven.

Success Tip of the Week: Do you have a dream you cherish? Why wait. Give yourself the chance to live it and reap the joy that it can bring to your heart.

In the next KazanToday: A $27 loan that changed the world.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!