BAY AREA DESIGNERS PERFECT LIVING IN THE LANDSCAPE
An irresistible invitation to linger outdoors—in the twilight around a fire, over a book with morning sun on your face, or simply lost in a shady poolside nap—is the mark of a well-crafted garden room. Proof positive: three entrancing spaces designed by Bay Area firms Ground Studio, ABD Studio, and BAMO that are made to be inhabited and demand complete escape.
Founder of Monterey-based landscape design firm Ground Studio, Bernard Trainor distills the spirit of surrounding natural ecologies. Trainor approached the refresh of a 1930s Spanish Revival–style Monterey Colonial home in Atherton with an eye toward keeping the outdoor spaces “simple, classic, and understated.” Off the living room, the designer arranged sturdy seating around a firepit in a courtyard “sized to make people feel cozy,” he says. The space is nestled amid plantings of Tuscan blue rosemary, olive trees, and a romantic flourish of Cecil Brunner climbing rose. “The design holds together because it feels like an extension of the house,” he notes. The way Trainor’s work communicates a distinct mood—here, a dreamy sense of intimacy and informal sophistication—and brings the scales of domestic and wild into perfect balance exemplifies what makes him a master.
ABD Studio founder Brittany Haines, an emerging Bay Area designer creating interiors with charm and warmth, brought her stylish touch to a small urban terrace. Created for an art collector in Pacific Heights who wanted a vivid palette and sculptural lines, Haines responded with “a juxtaposition of crisp plantings and dark hues.” A concrete firepit forms the central feature, surrounded by living walls of graphic hedge, a cushiony daybed, and curvy seating that is easily moved. Nearby, an alfresco dining area is framed by potted fruit trees and a crenellated black awning, creating a feel Haines describes as “modern and clean.”
Amalfi Tuxedo sofa in slate finish through Janus et Cie, topped with custom pillows (left). Amalfi dining table and chairs in slate finish with Spinnaker Heather Gray cushions through Janus et Cie (right).
HAVEN OF COMFORT
For the poolside lounge of a young family’s Hillsborough estate, Steve Henry of BAMO designed a welcoming space with resort-style serenity. “I kept the use of pattern and color to a bare minimum to highlight the landscape and bring it closer to the house,” Henry says. A mantra of “light and tailored,” he notes, informed his approach: A limestone floor and painted-plank ceiling flow into the home’s adjacent great room, which merges with the skylit terrace when the glass doors between them are pocketed. Classic cabana-stripe drapery frames views of the architectural lawns and pool. Of the Janus et Cie Vitali seating, Henry notes, “I love this series because it’s very lean and opens up the view.”
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