HOMESPUN DESIGN always rings true and the best interior designers vie for that kind of truth, to avoid the plastic polish of the very new. It’s a fine line, because if affected, such interiors can quickly look posed, as many do despite crafted objects and wicker thrown in against standard-issue modern elements of brushed aluminum, stainless steel and yards of synthetic stone.
That’s why in this issue of SPACES we look at how modern environments are enhanced with traditional tile mosaics, tapestry and tole. We highlight artists’ environments, communal living, and beachside and wine country homes that are comfortable and authentic. In all these places, homeowners have added their own touches and objects, bringing personality and individuality to each. In Napa, Stinson, Fairfax, Berkeley and San Francisco, singles, couples and families tell their stories and reveal their design secrets. As always, the work of well-known interior designers and landscape architects is shown alongside that of fresh Bay Area talents we’ve discovered.
To understand the backdrop against which such aesthetics develop, we offer wider context with historian David Weinstein’s Rear Window column, in which he revisits the Willis Polk–designed Beach Chalet at Ocean Beach. There, murals from the WPA era echo those of artist Diego Rivera that will soon be the focus of major museum exhibitions.
Meanwhile, in Voices, writer Laura Hilgers brings you Mariam Naficy, the dynamic founder of Minted, which digitally reaches and touches nearly every Bay Area home as well as the nation. Naficy’s underlying mission: to bring naïve art to the masses in the form of greeting cards and frameable works — all created through crowdsourcing.
At the same time, in Landing we look at centuries-old design destinations like Prague, and in On the Rise we view new hybrids forming, at home and elsewhere, that tap into that creative zeitgeist, the search for genuine experiences. Winery owners in Sonoma and in Canada’s “secret” Okanagan Valley know that crafting great wines is akin to art, and what better way to demonstrate that than to offer their bottlings amid great architecture and art?
Come to think of it, that idea itself is not entirely new. Whether it is the artist’s atelier, a palatial modern setting, or a warehouse full of fine bath and kitchen fixtures, any environment that elevates the senses has the stamp of timeless authenticity.
Zahid Sardar brings an extensive range of design interests and keen knowledge of Bay Area design culture to SPACES magazine. He is a San Francisco editor, curator and author specializing in global architecture, interiors, landscape and industrial design. His work has appeared in numerous design publications as well as the San Francisco Chronicle for which he served as an influential design editor for 22 years. Sardar serves on the San Francisco Decorator Showcase design advisory board.