Inside a Vibrant Abode Where California Cool Meets the Scandinavian Summer Home


The decorative party, however, is not reserved exclusively for denizens of California. “We wanted to explore the connection between West Marin and Scandinavian summer homes, another one of our obsessions,” Alonso says. “This house felt like the perfect place for JB Blunk and Edith Heath to finally meet Josef Frank face-to-face.” The designer underscored the aesthetic kinship by deploying classic Danish chairs by Hans Wegner and Ole Wanscher; Swedish flat-weave carpets; Arne Jacobsen fixtures; and a dizzying array of Frank wallpapers, fabrics, and furnishings for Svenskt Tenn. A select number of pieces that fall outside the Scandi/Cali range—bulbous light fixtures by Gino Sarfatti, an antique Tiffany Studios pendant lamp, wallpaper by British designer Marthe Armitage—pepper the playful mix.

Vaulted wood plank ceiling rocking chair wood stumplike side table floortoceiling windows looking out to a terrace with...

The view from the entry looks through the house and out to the West Marin landscape.

Redwood Stool by Bruce Mitchell for Commune

Assamese Cotton Jacquard Blanket With Ikat Binding

Asturias Lounge Chair by Carlos Motta

Half Pile Swedish Rug by Doris Leslie Blau

The riot of color and pattern coalesces with particular charm in two snug bedrooms positioned along the central corridor that leads from the front door through the house and out to a spectacular view of the West Marin landscape, highlighted by a majestic bishop pine. The rooms are wrapped in joyous Frank wallpapers, but whereas most designers would let the patterns suffice for ecstatic decor, Commune chose a different approach—too much is never enough. Alonso paired the wallpapers with upholstered patchwork headboards by textile artist Adam Pogue, custom polychromatic bedding, and color-blocked Swedish carpets. Instead of cacophony, the effect is surprisingly warm and serene.

Sea Urchin Incense Holder by Lisa Eisner for Commune

Commune set the stage for this kaleidoscopic, multicultural mash-up with strategic interventions and alterations to existing finishes within the home. They stained the floors in what Alonso describes as a “weird, deep blue-green color,” refinished all the interior cedar siding to temper the wood’s orangey hue, and painted the columns, trusses, and trim in dark green, effectively heightening the drama of Riley’s architectural composition. In further deference to Riley’s work, all of Commune’s newly added mahogany bookshelves, cabinetry, and other millwork details were extrapolated from an original built-in hutch in the dining room, an area the designers divided to create an anteroom earmarked for casual repose. “The clients wanted lots of nooks and daybeds and perches to read and relax,” Alonso explains. “That’s the spirit of this place—rest, renewal, well-being.”

white wall wood plank ceiling white drapes to left with watermelon on vine pattern wood side table with floral shaded...

The primary bedroom has a Dan John Anderson walnut side table, curtains and table lampshade by Josef Frank for Svenskt Tenn, a Swedish flat-weave rug by Doris Leslie Blau, and a bedcover by Adam Pogue. Artworks by Lena Wolff (above bed) and Ruth Charlotte Kneass (mobile).

Art: © Lena Wolff/Sarah Shepard Gallery. Ruth Charlotte Kneass.

white bathtub set in green tile surround blue wallpaper with white floral pattern large window to right glass screen...

Pillow by Adam Pogue for Commune

Commune’s design ultimately walks the line between traditional and modern with aplomb, satisfying the predilections of clients whose tastes tend to hew in different directions.

“There’s a genuine harmony here, not just among the furniture and the luscious fabrics and wallpapers but in all the relationships we cultivated with the craftspeople, fabricators, and even the people at the auction houses,” one of the homeowners attests. “This house is our favorite place to think, recharge, listen to records, and be in love.”

This Commune Design remodel appears in the AD’s April 2024 issue. Never miss an issue when you subscribe to AD.



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