together the money to send her, and it changed
her life. “I learned everything about art, and I
just became fascinated,” she says. “I had found
Tejada got her first job in Basque country,
which was fraught with political turmoil at
the time, then left for a position in Marbella,
Spain, designing high-end kitchens for expensive mansions. She came to the U.S. in 1979
for personal reasons: she had fallen in love with
an American. When she visited him they drove
across the country, from Connecticut to San
Francisco, and she fell in love all over again.
“I felt like I had found my kingdom here,” she
says. “I love the freedom, and the people from
all over the world.” Even though she and her
boyfriend broke up years later, Tejada remained
in San Francisco. She married someone else, had
two sons, and later divorced amicably.
But all the while she was defining the Celia
Tejada style, first as an interior designer and
then as a fashion designer creating clothes under
her own name (with Diane Moore). Her design
house sold items to the likes of Barneys New York
and I. Magnin. When the stock market tanked
in the mid-’90s, though, her business struggled
too. That was when Gary Friedman, then the
president of Williams Sonoma, approached her
to start a design division for Pottery Barn.
At the time, Pottery Barn (owned by
Williams Sonoma) mostly sold furniture from
other manufacturers. As senior vice president of
design and brand division, Tejada helped create the look for which Pottery Barn is known
today: stylish casual living. She then helped do
the same at Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn
Teen. In 2001, Friedman left for Corte Madera’s
RH. Tejada joined him there in 2013.
The more Tejada became an American
tastemaker, however, the more she longed
for home. In 1999, she and her brother had
bought property in Lake County and created
a Spanish-style ranch there, Rancho Tejada,
growing tempranillo and grenache grapes
and making their own wine (which they sold,
briefly). She also grew increasingly concerned
about the “beautiful, forgotten valley” in Spain
where she’d grown up. It was dying, and young
people were leaving. So in 2016, she bought a
mill house, built in 1670, and converted it to
Molino Tejada, a luxurious inn.
Tejada designed the interiors there, including the common notes that appear in all of
her properties: a mixture of high- and low-end
furniture, antiques, lots of daybeds, tons of
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 55
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