John Steinbeck once wrote, “I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.” These words perfectly express my own love for this state where I spent much of my childhood, so I jumped at the opportunity to remodel and decorate a large family summer home on the shores of Flathead Lake.
Designing the Oakland, CA and Washington D.C offices for Free Range Studios, was an exploration into the world of bringing a brand to life through interior design. I learned a lot from working with this intensely creative design studio and my clients and I consistently inspired one another. How great to design with people who wanted their work place to reflect their values, their great sense of fun, and their truly compelling media.
This project was commissioned by a couple living in San Francisco who wanted to create an idyllic vacation retreat in the woods near Lake Tahoe. After years of looking for the perfect home, they decided that what they really wanted was to start from scratch and to find the perfect land, then to build on it. One day, they finally found it in a plot that backed up to a nature preserve and a beautiful, winding stream. The land was within walking distance to the lake and was nestled in a grove of beautiful pine trees. Designing this house from the ground up, my clients and I got to create and then to build the perfect vacation home for their family’s needs, and as a designer, I have never been more inspired or thrilled with the process and the result.
Coming up with the design scheme for this Tiburon contemporary craftsman home was a labor of love for me. I was approached by a young couple who were just starting their family and wanted to do an extensive addition and remodel of a charming cottage in Tiburon. The home was originally a “railroad cottage” that served the local men working in the logging industry and on the railroad in the 1920’s and 30’s. The project was massive and required major excavation, careful planning, and thoughtful material selections. I was brought in at the earliest stages to review the architectural drawings and come up with a cohesive design scheme for the entire house.
I have long been inspired by Asian design and in 2005, I found a dream client who shared my passion. She hired me to design her 5,000 square foot home in Los Angeles with materials and furnishings I collected and custom designed in Laos, India, Thailand and Vietnam. As a designer, I revel in discovering how and where things are made — to see the raw wood, silk worms, and clay transform into objects of art. These experiences put me directly in touch with the soul of objects - how and why things are made - and allows me to see the skill and artistry that goes into them.
Montana’s nickname, “Big Sky Country” is self-explanatory once you hit a long stretch of highway uninterrupted by the mountains that the state is also famous for. How inspiring it is to be in a place where the sky just stretches out to the edge of the world in such a lovely, sharp shade of blue. While designing this small guest cabin, I was compelled to make Montana come alive in the interior since I knew it would be home mostly to first-time visitors to the state.
I believe that spaces both contain and emit energy and we are all able to get a sense of that energy space when we enter it. To me this energy and feel are much more important than how a room appears. In the case of this home built in Montclair, the energy and the light were both so beautiful and clear that you just felt at ease the minute you crossed the threshold. Surrounded by bamboo, eucalyptus, and monterey pine trees, it felt like a sylvan oasis. When I set out to redesign this home, my main objective was to preserve this feeling of tranquility.