Tell us a little something about yourself.
Is it just me, or is this the first time in 29 years working I have a lot of free time? Thankfully, I have been spending some of that time with Cody, my new yellow lab.
We think we should tackle that list of 100 best hikes in Oregon!
How did you get involved in the design industry?
Well, my mother June Brown had a very successful design practice when I was growing up. I must have been about fifteen when she was putting together a design house, and the person doing the living room had to back out at the last minute. For some reason I thought I could step in and participate, under one condition that no one would tell me what to do! I have to say it turned out OK, my first design project and I was published! Of course it was just a local newspaper, but it gave me this crazy idea to practice interior design.
What inspires you?
It has to be classical architecture of all forms and periods. Even though I am currently involved on several projects of modern design, I think you have to know where we come from in order to embrace the future.
What is your favorite "green" product?
My take on “green” products is it must first be appropriate to the project and be the best choice for the design. Then if that product happens to be “green” all the better. Personally I love to incorporate “found objects” into most of my design, whether you call it repurposed, reclaimed or just salvaged, I like the juxtaposition it brings to any interior.
What was your most challenging project and why?
In my third year at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, I started my first professional project. This was to design the interiors and concept for a new restaurant called Ruby’s diner. The challenge was to turn a boarded up bait shack on the end of the Balboa pier into a 1940’s diner complete with the fashion and music from this era. After six months of research and visiting every train depot and diner up and down the California coast, working with an excellent architect from Newport Beach, together we competed the installation, not sure if anyone would appreciate it. They did!
It won numerous awards from AIA for adaptive reuse and was published on the cover of Restaurant Hotel and Design magazine. Today there are over one hundred locations in ten states that share the original design.
Which project are you most proud of?
Several years ago my firm was retained to oversee the restoration and design of a home in San Marino, California. The home was built in 1920 by the renowned architect Gordon Kaufman. At the time he had just finished the Athenaeumat Cal Tec, one of California’s finest architectural landmarks. Over a three year period we completely restored the 14,000 square feet to it’s original condition.
I was able to search the archives at the Huntington library next door and found the original blueprints. We also were able to purchase antiques at auction which were originally from the house. It was very rewarding to contribute to saving an architectural landmark.
What is the best advice you've ever given or received?
“Less is more”
~ Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
“Less is only more where more is not good”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright