Marin Home / BACKSTORY
home located just across the street from the
Belvedere Lagoon. It was one story, had a great
kitchen (Iwasaki is also an avid baker), a place
for an art studio (she’s also a very talented
sculptor), and plenty of room for Tom’s kids,
grandchildren and other friends to visit. “As we
started checking, it had all of the things on the
list,” says Zolezzi. “All of the things kind of fit.”
Iwasaki was taken with the home immedi-
ately. “It was really open and airy,” she says,
For Steele, who loved his cozy Victorian, the
airiness was less appealing. But the couple
remedied that quickly, filling the living room
(which has wood-planked, Eichler-like ceil-
ings) with the possessions that express their
personalities. Steele’s Persian rugs cover the
floor and his bold paintings by the Belgian
artist Cole Morgan cover the walls. Iwasaki’s
smallish sculptures of nude women sit on the
built-in bookcases. Toys for Tom’s grandchil-
dren fill the hidden cabinets that flank the
fireplace. And the home’s four bedrooms are
often filled with the people they love.
The pièce de résistance of the property,
though, is the yard. After Steele and Iwasaki
moved in, they set to work — with the help of
landscape architect Hilde Simon and gardener
Barry Cohen of Molivar Landscape Company —
ripping out ivy and creating a California-native
drought-tolerant garden. They placed modern
Corten steel planters on the deck and, at the top
of the terraced garden, a cement fire pit. It’s a
great place to watch waterfowl fly by and enjoy
the views of the lagoon — views that, yes, can
only be found in a place like Belvedere. M
WHEN TOM STEELE and Kris Iwasaki started look- ing for a home in August 2013, they were, says Steele, “a little schizophrenic” in their search. They were moving
out of Steele’s Russian Hill Victorian, where
they’d lived since marrying in 2009, in order
to make room for more of Iwasaki’s belongings
and to find a place with fewer steps. But they
didn’t really know what they wanted.
They looked at homes in San Anselmo and
Larkspur. They looked at three-story homes.
They considered buying a family compound,
so people could come for extended visits.
There was only one thing they knew they
didn’t want: a home in Ross or Belvedere.
“ We’re kind of working people,” say Steele,
a lawyer (Iwasaki is a hairstylist), “and we
thought these places would be too expensive.”
So, of course — welcome home, Belvedere.
Shortly into their search, their realtor, Sylvie
Zolezzi, brought them to see a mid-century
As we started checking, it had
all of the things on the list.