IN THE BAY AREA, things change rapidly, which simply presents an invitation to change the norm. Despite the push for bigger, more technologically advanced, highly decorated, lavish homes, the designers we feature in this issue say that’s not the only way to go.
Smaller, unusual forms and simple devices can be as effective.
For distinction on a suburban Peninsula tract tightly surrounded by neighbors, San Francisco architect Craig Steely has formed a sculptural, seemingly roofless, amoeba-shaped wood house with a high perimeter wall that is open to a pageant of sky views.
In the wine country, Norwegian architect Casper Mork-Ulnes, working from an office in San Francisco, created a guesthouse where every visitor is equally accommodated. The geometric democratic solution: three identical trapezoidal board-formed-concrete cabins, angled so that each has a triangular glass front that faces wide valley views. Celebrated Sausalito-based interior designer Charles de Lisle picked the identical furnishings for each room. You can see this designer’s own understated, comfortable-as- an-old-shoe Sonoma cabin in this issue as well.
San Francisco architect Cary Bernstein’s master bedroom addition for a couple in Tiburon is a spa-like wing separated from the old house by a small room-size bridge — yet it provides the owners with a sense of truly getting away. To elevate its spare Japanese aesthetic, Bernstein painted the exterior with joyful patches of California poppy yellow.
The Pacific, a new modern San Francisco apartment building with unusual faceted bay windows, is now home to a collector of eclectic art who moved there from a larger, Spanish Revival home. San Francisco interior designer Eche Martinez added modern chandeliers to echo the windows and skillfully edited the art collection on display. Now the American impressionist works grouped on the living room wall have a doubled and tripled effect when reflected in mirrors on the opposite wall.
For a Napa Valley garden, Surfacedesign devised unique parterres with kitchen herbs and light-catching grasses that form patterns and shapes evoking the surrounding vineyards.
In this season’s issue, look for two new columns. Tableside focuses on stellar restaurant design, and Showstopper highlights a decorator showcase room. Our regular departments also take new turns: in Landing, we ride trains from Vienna to Krakow; On the Rise looks at second homes in natural settings with equestrian and viticultural attractions rather than golf courses; Rear Window pokes around the Marin Art & Garden Center, now nearly 75, and uncovers a rich history. In San Francisco, despite a major makeover by Red Dot Studio, a Glen Park cottage — in deference to the neighborhood — still succeeds in looking like one. And while furniture maker Florian Roeper digs deep to uncover heartwood, designer Pablo Pardo voices a career-long passion for table lamps, and artist Jim Campbell reveals simple secrets about his monumental LED light sculpture high atop the mighty Salesforce Tower.
We hope the issue is illuminating.