Posted | 0 comments
An Elegant Sonoma Escape
26 April 2012,
This is a story about making history—from scratch. Not the stuff of headlines but rather the kind of sophisticated, tangible tale that results when one resourceful San Francisco designer and his two eclectic clients skillfully assemble a selection of vintage and salvaged pieces for a 1937 Cottage in Sonoma.
First spotted in California Home + Design magazine: a renovated 1937 cottage in Sonoma was designed by Brazilian-born, Swiss-schooled, San Francisco-based Antonio Martins. Martins has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Argentina, and Bangkok, and his international approach is evident throughout the interiors.
“I had worked with the clients before, on their residence in the city,” he says. “We started fresh on this project and kept to a budget; most of the interior furnishings are from vintage stores, flea and pieces from Brazil, Portugal, and Asia that I’ve collected over the years.”
“Often a designer will meet with clients two or three times a month for product approval,” explains Martins, a native of Brazil who opened his design business in San Francisco in 2005. “We show them what we’ve found, and they say yes or no. That wasn’t the case with these guys.” The homeowners—antiquing novices—were initiated into the Bay Area’s treasure-hunting tradition with sunrise shopping trips to the Alameda flea market, guided by Martins.
There, the trio acquired vintage linen grain sacks from Romania—monogrammed with farmers’ initials—to upholster a pair of wing chairs in the living room. They also found a set of metal hanging scales (now on display in the kitchen) and a cumbersome old carpenter’s workbench from Hungary. The provincial wood structure, which serves as the living room bar, was not well-received by all members of the renovation team. “The contractor basically thought it was garbage,” says Martins.
Of all the rooms in the house, the master bedroom is the one space that is, by design, fairly unadorned. “Relaxing is difficult for me,” says Carter. “I didn’t want any distractions in there—no TV, no major artwork, nothing that would prevent me from unwinding.”
Fresh white walls and linens provide a simple backdrop for the surroundings—a peaceful landscape of wild grasses and mature oak trees that create an ever-changing play of light and shadows. New French doors and a raised ipe-wood deck lead to a serene side garden, further blurring the distinction between the indoors and outdoors. “We came out to Sonoma to find tranquility, simplicity and privacy,” says Carter. “And I think we did pretty well.”