The teahouse is where Oprah comes to read, meditate, and enjoy a cup of tea. She could listen to music at the touch of a button but doesn't: "I don't want to affect the mood here."
She could transact business here, but doesn't: "No meetings, ever."
She may not visit for months at a time, only stopping by when she can really get away. "It's a commitment when I allow myself to come here," Oprah says. But whether she's in Montecito or Chicago or Johannesburg, the existence of the teahouse—just knowing it's there—is essential to her well-being. "It's my dream, having a place like this. Some people ask, 'Why do you need more space?' And I tell them, 'I need it to restore myself.'"
Immediately beyond that arched door and the surrounding clusters of purple flowers is her English garden, its varieties of perennials and annuals creating a natural, unplanned feeling. Oprah loves it, she says, "because of its diversity."
Below lies the splendor of her rose garden. Planted in parterres that slope down both sides of the central path, it's an acre designed by master rosarian Dan Bifano to ensure that there's always something in bloom. "I had my hands down in the dirt, helping plant these," Oprah says, as she walks through the garden to the orange and butter-yellow roses that contrast so beautifully with a large semicircle of lavender that marks the end of the teahouse garden.