Magazine article Sunset

Design Laboratory

Magazine article Sunset

Design Laboratory

Article excerpt

Inventive ideas from the home of a furnishings expert

* Good design thrives on experimentation. That s what we discovered at the Northern California home of Celia Tejada, vice president of design for Pottery Barn In the makeover of her house, Tejada has used the same imagination and visual appeal found in her company's catalogs and showrooms.

When Tejada purchased her home, the neighbors called it the "Addams Family house." Remodeling seemed daunting, since the 106-year-old house was in poor repair and Tejada had a limited budget. These constraints simply forced her to renovate with imagination. A plaque in her kitchen reads, "Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all." She says: "That absolutely goes for decorating too. Make your house a can- vas of personal expression."

Here are the central tenets of her artistic philosophy.

* Materials don't have to be luxurious to look good. Working with her brother, Ivo, she built a dining table, benches, and buffet from plywood. She stained the buffet and benches dark walnut, making the ordinary material look sophisticated, and she covered the table with mattress ticking. As Ivo says, "Once you cover it, who can tell what it's made from?"

* Be open to the unexpected twist if it suits the way you live. For Tejada, this applies even to the kitchen. "The family would be together while my mom was cooking--she lives with us--and we didn't want to move to the living room to sit comfortably," she says. …

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