July 23, 2024

Architectural Design Kingdom

Home is where the heart is

A Japanese-Inspired House Gets a New Lease on Life

2 min read

Outside the windows of this 1962 Japanese-inspired house in Orinda, California, is a landscape so curated it could almost be a botanical garden. Mature trees, spectacular flowers, and a koi pond complete with an overwater footbridge make up the lush setting designed by the original owners in collaboration with Jon Larson and Carolyn Van Lang of Oakland-based Jarvis Architects. This fantasia is also what sold current homeowners Maya and Konstantin on moving from New York City to the three-building compound in a Bay Area suburb with their family and golden retriever in 2021.

They could see themselves building a life that encouraged spontaneous visits from family and friends and dinner parties, in the house’s large yard, around the pool, and across the open-plan layout. (There was also plenty of room for them to run their individual businesses from home.) The house’s sleekly renovated interior, which skewed quite dark despite its large windows and ample white paint, was more challenging to envision. To match the captivating feel of the surrounding greenery it required a professional’s eye.

In Konstantins office faux bois stools found on 1stDibs pull up to a St Vincents desk. The painting is by Colleen...

“We needed to warm the place up,” says San Francisco designer Lauren Geremia of the AD100 firm Geremia Design, whom Maya convinced during a site tour to tackle the task with help from local contractor Kevin Reimer and landscape designer Studio Mala. Though the garden was certainly special, “I also noticed when I was visiting that they had a really exciting art collection,” Geremia says. Working with art consultant Dan Oglander, Maya and Geremia added works by Claire Tabouret and Nathan Thelen, Jesse Mockrin, and Issy Wood. Using the collection as the “seeds of our inspiration,” and looking to the landscape for the color palette, Geremia transformed the house into an inviting, family-oriented abode for indoor-outdoor living.

Maya and Konstantin approach collecting as patrons, conducting extensive research into an artist’s oeuvre and acquiring all the topical books possible along the way. Geremia’s design is guided by opportunities to feature these beloved works in a residential setting both cozy and kid-friendly. “Maya and I grew up in houses that had a lot of art, and we want our kids to grow up in a similar environment,” explains Konstantin, a tech CEO. To Geremia, a 2022 Danielle Mckinney painting of a woman in a yellow garment from their collection was particularly striking—it became the framework for the buttery primary bedroom, where it now hangs on the curtained wall behind the custom bed and headboard crafted by Andrew Woodside Carter and upholstered in a Dedar floral jacquard. In the light-filled dining room, works by Tala Madani, Wood, Dana Powell, and others gather around the St Vincents table with chairs by Fern and bouclé-upholstered stools by Atelier de Troupe.


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