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Cabinetry, Spiral III Design. Countertops,
Honed Calacatta Oro Franchi Marble, New
Marble Co. Lighting, Mobile Chandelier 8,
Michael Anastassiades, michaelanastassiades.
com. Dining ceiling, polished stainless steel,
standard sheet metal, standardsheetmetal
sf.com. Appliances (dishwasher, refrigerator,
cooktop) Gaggenau, gaggenau.com. Artwork,
paintings, Joey Piziali, joeypiziali.com. FRONT
DECK Sliding door, Norwood EX 3070-Series,
Fleetwood. Outdoor furniture, Orlando Sofa
System, Strap side table and Frame outdoor
low table, Paola Lenti. Office, Muuto 70/70
Desk, Muuto, muuto.com. Oslo Sofa, Muuto &
Anderssen & Voll. Executive chair, Herman
Miller, hermanmiller.com. Artwork, “Night
Ride,” 2015, Matthew Palladino,
POINT OF VIEW
DECK Deck lounge chairs, Crate and Barrel,
crateandbarrel.com. FOYER Artwork, Tom
Slaughter, tomslaughter.com. LIVING ROOM
Asian armchairs, The Gardener, Berkeley,
thegardener.com. Bar stools, West Elm,
westelm.com. Coffee table, custom. DINING
ROOM Dining table, The Gardener. Chairs,
midcentury, flea market, reupholstered.
FAMILY ROOM Sofa, custom. Surfer painting,
David Venezky. OFFICE Desk chair with
perforations, IKEA, ikea.com. MASTER BATH
Tub, Wetstyle, wetstyle.ca. MASTER
BEDROOM Lamp, Tolomeo Lamps,
A PAINTER’S PLACE
OFFICE Artwork, “Me and Marie,” oil on linen,
74 WNTER/SPRNG 2017 SPACES SPACES WNTER/SPRNG 2017 75
“RIGHT NOW I’M LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW; THE FOG
is blowing by, the trees are moving, I have the water with boats
going around,” Molly West says. “This is our live canvas.”
The bookbinder is talking about her Sausalito house,
which she and her husband, Chuck Slaughter, commissioned architect Peter Pfau to build on a lot right next door
to their old house seven years ago. Because of the liveliness
outside, the owners wanted to “keep everything else a little
serene and quiet,” Molly says, describing how in this house,
so much of the art — the creative direction, if you will —
comes from nature.
The house is perched on the edge of a hillside — from
the road, its facade is virtually imperceptible, striations of
wood fading into foliage, a setback from the street giving it
a sense of privacy. The house faces the waterfront and from
that vantage point, levels of wood and glass trip down the
hillside, offering a way of reading the house in levels —
main floor for everyone; upstairs for the parents; downstairs
for the kids. Inside, a family of five — Molly, Chuck and
their three sons — make do with a minimalist yet luxuriously detailed space outfitted, as Molly points out, with the
detritus of real life: the occasional lacrosse stick, Magic the
Gathering card, or hand-bound sketchbook produced by
Molly in her in-home studio.
“We wanted the space to be able to evolve and grow over
time with the changing needs of all of us in the house,”
Molly says. The home has seen change since its construction — three small children have grown into three larger
children; Molly’s focus has shifted from bookbinding into
a combination of creativity and parenting; and Chuck,
who received a bachelor’s degree in architecture, is always
adapting as an entrepreneur.
A CREATIVE COUPLE’S SAUSALITO HOUSE
HAS ONE OVERRIDING DESIGN FEATURE: THE
NATURAL CANVAS OF THE MARIN LANDSCAPE.
BY EVA HAGBERG FISHER PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRUCE DAMONTE
Opposite from top: A horizontal motif extends
the sense of motion and expanse on this deck
overlooking the water; a massive door swings into
the entry courtyard, nestled between two panes of
glass; this combination of transparency, openness
and material heaviness is repeated throughout the
house. This image: The clients wanted an open and
structurally-transparent feel, visible here in a view
of the living room, kitchen, and second-floor catwalk. Warm wooden beams interact with crisp steel
structural elements to create a spare yet cozy look.
82 WNTER/SPRNG 2017 SPACES SPACES WNTER/SPRNG 2017 83
The skyrocketing cost of rent
has created an exodus — or expulsion — of artists from San Francisco
to the East Bay that hasn’t been stemmed for nearly two decades now.
However, painter Christopher Brown, whose reputation as an artist
blossomed in the Bay Area during the mid-1980s, was one of the lucky
ones who years ago chose Oakland (when he was a graduate student at UC
Davis) and later Berkeley, where he has lived and worked for three decades.
Brown presciently seized the opportunity to partner with fellow artist
Catherine Alden, a sculptor, to build his home and studio in an industrial
section of Berkeley called Ocean View.
Ceramicist Peter Voulkos worked on his sculptures in a loft close by,
but the area was otherwise desolate; today’s vibrant shops, galleries and
restaurants on nearby Fourth Street would have been inconceivable.
“Catherine had purchased an empty lot and we designed a pair of
condominiums together,” Brown says. “It was easy. I gave my drawings
to an architect who made it buildable.”
Brown had been teaching at UC Berkeley and had saved enough not
only to pay for his half of the 6,000-square-foot property but also the
construction costs, which all came to an affordable $350,000.
A Painter’s Place
The two-story 5,500-square-foot live/work wood-frame building they
created suited them perfectly. Their asymmetrical units were conjoined
and had two floors each, “but I had more of the top floor because I
needed light and she needed most of the stable ground floor for her
sculptures,” Brown says.
The industrial zoning allowed leeway in choice of materials, and
low-maintenance corrugated galvanized-steel cladding for the exterior
was a top pick — well ahead of the current vogue — because “steel was
cheap then, and it was beautiful,” Brown says. To complement it, the front
door was painted a cheerful red.
They also kept interior details basic until they could afford improvements. Plywood floors were eventually covered with spruce planks and,
to save money, Brown built himself much-needed kitchen cabinets and
shelving for books.
His roughly square-shaped main floor upstairs was divided equally for
living and working.
“Both sections were about 20-by-40-feet on each side of the stairs com-ing up from my street-level 500-square-foot storage space,” Brown says. A
kitchen and small living space with a loft bedroom took up one side, and,
FIGURATIVE ARTIST CHRISTOPHER
BROWN SKETCHED HIMSELF A
DREAM HOME AND THEN BUILT IT.
BY ZAHID SARDAR PHOTOGRAPHS BY CESAR RUBIO
In what was originally designed as his painting studio
with high clerestory windows and ribbon skylights,
Bay Area artist Christopher Brown now has a home
office that sometimes doubles as a party space. A
corner slit window was created to allow the artist
to slip stretched canvases on their way to galleries,
exhibitions or clients, directly onto a waiting truck.
Two self-revelatory oil canvases he has kept are
“Me and Marie,” 2005, a pastoral self-portrait with a
former girlfriend, and “Cat Listening to the Radio,”
1996, derived from a USA Today advertisement, of a
cartoonish cat that he painted during an extended
stay in New York. The carpet in the painting resembles the Turkish carpet from Woven Legends on the
birch wood floor.