Magazine article Sunset

Simple, with Soul

Magazine article Sunset

Simple, with Soul

Article excerpt

Designer Cisco Pinedo proves that filling a home with family-not stuff-is the key to cozy BY JULIE CHAI | PHOTOGRAPHS BY THOMAS J. STORY

AN AVID COOK, Cisco Pinedo loves nothing more than hosting meals for his family and the many friends and neighbors who drop in regularly. "Family meals are a big deal," he says. And there's always plenty of food to go around.

But when it comes to design, Cisco's motto is less is more. A furniture designer originally from Mexico, Cisco turned his talents toward creating a sense of serenity and warmth as the family remodeled their home in San Marino, California, several years ago. His trick: simplicity.

In Cisco's house, knickknacks are few and far between, which results in each item gaining a sense of importance and meaning. The spaciousness of the open floor plan (he did away with many of the interior walls) is enhanced by the bold use of blank walls. This makes the house feel peaceful and-by calling attention to the few well-edited pieces on display-also intensely personal. In this setting, even garden gnomes become art. "I wanted open space without a lot of stuff," he says. "I didn't want the house to look busy."

Cisco's sense of design has been a long time in the making. He moved to Los Angeles from rural Mexico in junior high. It was in high school, while working in upholstery shops, that he fell in love with the process of handcrafting furniture. Before long, he began designing and selling custom pieces out of his garage, a pursuit that eventually evolved into Cisco Brothers ( It has become a multimillion-dollar home-furnishings business known for blending comfort, functionality, and elegant design with a commitment to Earth-friendly practices. "I want to design beautiful things, but I also want them to be good for you," Cisco says.

This commitment to sustainability extends to his home as well: Interior walls are covered with no-VOC (volatile organic compound) primer, wood floors are original or made of reclaimed lumber, and much of the furniture comes from Cisco's own sustainable collection. All of which gives the house a spa-like tranquility. Except that here it's not about retreating, but rather about gathering. "Our door is always open," Cisco says. And with an inviting home like this, it's not hard to see why friends keep streaming in.

Sculpture garden

Architect John Friedman (John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects, Los Angeles; or 213/253-4740) created a clean-lined structure that reflects the home's interior combination of crisp white and natural wood, which visually anchors the back of the property to the house. …

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