Author: Linda O'Keeffe

Mark Jensen likes to blue-sky ideas when he first discusses projects with clients. “I tend to bypass all the literal, prescriptive stuff because that shuts down the imagination,” says the lauded architect. “We discuss aspirations and what-ifs, and that keeps us all in the moment.”

Mark Jensen likes to blue-sky ideas when he first discusses projects with clients. “I tend to bypass all the literal, prescriptive stuff because that shuts down the imagination,” says the lauded architect. “We discuss aspirations and what-ifs, and that keeps us all in the moment.”

As the golden age of aristocratic life in England, the 18th century saw bucolic retreats conceived as extravagant stages for lavish parties and all manner of formal entertaining. Houghton Hall—a superb work of Anglo-Palladian architecture—set the stylistic standard for all country estates that would follow.

As the golden age of aristocratic life in England, the 18th century saw bucolic retreats conceived as extravagant stages for lavish parties and all manner of formal entertaining. Houghton Hall—a superb work of Anglo-Palladian architecture—set the stylistic standard for all country estates that would follow

“When a room tells our life story and reflects who we are, it gives us license to open up to our true self,” says interior designer Paul Wiseman, by way of explaining the philosophy behind Inner Spaces (Gibbs Smith, 2014), the first monograph of his stellar 35-year career.

Doffing his hat to Victorian formality and his client’s lavish entertaining, architect William H. Hamilton incorporated generous hallways and grand rooms into the Pacific Heights mansion he designed in 1894. To impress guests, he coffered ceilings, crafted wainscoting, and built a central staircase with liberal amounts of oak, mahogany and walnut. More than a century later, the current owners, a stylish young couple with two children, asked San Francisco interior designer Kendall Wilkinson to re-envision the grande dame as a space that would accommodate their relaxed lifestyle while preserving its elegant legacy.

There’s a historical complexity that underlies Andrea Cochran’s cool modernism. “When I was in my twenties, I toured the Villa Giulia outside of Rome,” says Cochran, “and the principles of its Renaissance garden—beauty derived from order; visual enticements guiding the eye from one space to another; discovery; the notion of surprise—have been foundational to the work I’ve done ever since.”

Listen closely at break of day, and you might just hear a collective “Om” as thousands of yogis greet the sun. The Bay Area’s tradition of finding balance in Eastern practices is a vital one, and, rising like a materialized mantra over the Sonoma hills, a recent Aidlin Darling Design project—a private retreat featuring a yoga pavilion—is its latest manifestation.