WHEN SUKEY FORBES began searching for a home at the beginning of 2015, she wanted something “that would have personality and make a statement.” But she wanted the statement, she says, “to be more about the people who lived in it.”
She hit the mark with this Mill Valley home, which she shares with her two teenage children and which teems with personality, from the race car trophies in her son’s room to the Andy Warhol paintings of Annie Oakley and John Wayne in the kitchen to the carved wooden desk in the living room, a piece given to her great-great-uncle William Cameron Forbes by former Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek.
The desk is also a statement about Forbes herself: she sat at it while writing much of her book about the death of her middle daughter, The Angel in My Pocket: A Story of Love, Loss, and Life After Death (see “How We Grieve” in our November issue). When she moved her family from Boston to Marin so her son, a formula car challenge driver, could race at Sonoma Raceway, finding a new place to write was a priority, even if she didn’t articulate it.
What she really wanted was a home where people could gather — so an open, flexible floor plan was a must — and to live close to the city, which she visits often. “But when she walked into this house,” says realtor Laura Reinertsen, “one of the first things she said was, ‘This is where I’m going to write my next book.'”
And what better place to write than in this kitchen? “There was an office downstairs, but I realized there was no way I was going to use it when the kitchen has such magnificent views,” says Forbes. She renovated the kitchen and installed a mini-office, including file drawers and a printer hidden behind kitchen cabinets. While her children are at school, she sits at the large, Calcutta marble island and writes.
When she entertains, which she does often, she dishes up Whole Foods meals (Forbes does not cook) for family and friends in an eclectic setting that is decidedly “Sukey-style”, including a towering elk horn chandelier in the family room, hip artificial turf on the terrace off the living room and an 18th-century Flemish tapestry remnant hanging on a dining room wall.
Such variety may seem out of place in so contemporary a home, but the house holds it well. Which is good. Because there’s a lot of personality within.
WHERE SHE PURCHASED The Homestead Valley neighborhood of Mill Valley
WHAT SHE BOUGHT A contemporary four-bedroom home
LISTING AGENT Margo Schein, Sotheby’s International Realty
SELLING AGENTS Laura Reinertsen and Kristin Sennett, Pacific Union and Christie’s Great Estates
STATS Price per square foot for homes in the neighborhood: $804