An interview with Kendall Wilkinson of KWD...

Kendall’s passion for interior design burgeoned during a trip abroad to Paris- where she became enamored with French architecture and antiques. Combined with her love for nature, specifically natural and organic patterns, Kendall found her niche in interior design after graduating from UC San Diego, she pursued a degree at San Francisco Academy of Art College, specializing in design.

Staying true to her roots, Kendall’s interests have remained in both French and classic design- but have undergone a degree of modernization for today’s clientele. She describes her personal style as romantic, however, “it’s gotten more tonal – leaning towards a neutral palette.” As she developed her practice, Kendall Wilkinson Design, Kendall aimed to create aesthetically pleasing homes, without being too precious or over the top.

Kendall described her ideal relationship with an architect as “synergetic, communicative, and respectful” and emphasized that the more cohesive a team, the better the working relationship, and the better the final product.

On our Woodpecker Ranch project, Kendall pointed to this synergy that made the collaboration successful and worthwhile. “FA did not only have a good lead architect they had a good all-around team.” This consistency found across team members made problem solving more efficient, the teams were able to consult each other before turning to the client, which saved everyone time and money- and resulted in one of her favorite projects.

Most recently, KWD released a new line of fabrics, partnering with Fabricut, – Kendall’s first collection of indoor-outdoor textiles and trims. “All of the inspiration came from my travels: images, moments, sights and even sounds that resonated with me,” Wilkinson says. “My trips to Paris and Mexico significantly inspired me. A lot of the geometrical patterns stem from Paris, particularly how the light reflects and refracts on the architecture. Mexico inspired bright colors and more botanical elements.” Read more in Luxe!

An interview with Kate Stickley and Gretchen Whittier of Arterra Landscape Architects...

Kate Stickley fell into landscape architecture by chance, a suggestion from her college counselor, as a path that could combine her love of the outdoors, patterns, weather and art. Her career began in Florida, master planning international resorts and hotels, where she realized what was missing in her experience and process, “for me the connection with the end user is so important. This type of work didn’t allow me to connect with the individuals who were actually going to be interacting with the landscape.” After practicing around the world, she was ready to settle into her own practice, focusing on residential projects.

After moving to the Bay Area- Kate joined forces with close confidant and collaborator Vera Gates and together they birthed Arterra– a name encompassing the core of their work Art + Terra (Latin for Earth). Growing a practice while raising families solidified Arterra’s values as a residential firm- family centric, women run, and sustainably focused.

Gretchen Whittier described her growth into a landscape architect as a “regression.” As the daughter of a stone mason and a gardener on a 30 acre property in New Hampshire, concepts like soil management are in her blood. It wasn’t until getting behind a drafting table in a UC Berkeley extension class did she realize that landscape architecture fed all of her varying interests. Gretchen joined Arterra in 2005, and was promoted to partner in 2015.

Today, Arterra has found their niche as local leaders in site sensitive, sustainable, residential landscaping. The firm began designing small urban gardens, but has since grown to bigger and more environmentally complex projects. They find joy in connecting with their clients in envisioning their long term goals- and achieving them in the most sustainable way possible.

The Arterra team has always thought that working native and Mediterranean plants into their landscapes made the most sense aesthetically and environmentally – even before it was trendy. They aim for their designs to seamlessly connect architecture to the site, finding harmony between the two.

This organic indoor connection is perfectly framed in our Sonoma Wine Country project- designed as a dialogue between landscape, architecture, and site. Kate remembers being so in tune with the Feldman team that even a slight redesign in to the master bath lead to a re-envisioning of some of the outdoor elements, which in turn sparked a reference to the interior fireplace. “That’s what why we love working with FA, we value each other’s contribution in the design process, and our teams collaborate beautifully and effectively.”

“There is no signature Arterra garden. Our landscaping is all specifically tailored to the site and the architecture. We want our clients to say ‘I cannot even remember what it looked like before.’ It should look like it has always been there”- Kate Stickley

 

Monterey Design Conference...

At the end of October, the entire Feldman Architecture team was lucky enough to head down to Asilomar, a beautiful conference ground, hotel, and coastal architectural wonder (designed by Julia Morgan) for three days of design, lectures, workshops, and beach-side bonding at the Monterey Design Conference– one of the most highly respected and attended biennial architecture and design conferences in the US.

The conference hosted a dynamic and engaging list of speakers. Some FA favorites included Alberto Kalach from Kalach & Taller de Arquitectura X who discussed his beautiful work in Mexico City, as well as his take on the future of urban planning, and on the other side of the spectrum, Gregg Pasquarelli from SHoP, with some incredible insights on his firm’s innovative large scale commercial work at Barclays Center and Uber headquarters. The diversity of presenters, topics, and approaches to architecture was incredible, and our designers left every session conspiring about new ideas and exciting takeaways, looking forward to applying new perspectives to our future work.

Smaller breakout sessions on topics like sound in architecture, public art, and the 2030 Challenge also provided for conversation and networking – we were able to connect with old friends and make some new from all over the world.

The grounds were tranquil and relaxing- and our team was able to take advantage of our beach-side locale by having an impromptu happy hour on the beach, and visiting a local breweries after the daily sessions ended.

While in the area, the entire team toured some favorite Feldman Architecture projects- including Butterfly House and House Ocho (the first home Jonathan Feldman ever designed). And to close out the weekend, on Sunday afternoon a small group from FA hosted a modern home tour – in which conference goers were bused into the beautiful Santa Lucia Preserve to visit Ranch OH, as well as two other stunning homes designed by Aidlin Darling and Piechota Architects. The tour ended up being a mini vacation for all involved- with some of the FA staff taking a dip in the Ranch OH pool!

Feldman Architecture was proud to be one of the only firms that sent all of their employees the conference, exposing designers and staff of every level to the newest and best ideas from the brightest in our industry. The team left with a shared sense of gratitude for our firm- and a feeling of rejuvenation and excitement to get back to work.

An Interview with Jeff Jungsten of Jungsten Construction...

Adam Willis Photography

Jeff Jungsten started his career in construction right across the street from his current office – as a student at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California Jeff worked as an after school laborer at nearby construction sites. He remembers discovering innovative solutions to construction obstacles and finding joy in suggesting shortcuts to his bosses, “efficient solutions born out of teenage boy laziness” Jungsten recounted. Realizing his love for building, and what he would later recognized as an affinity for sustainable, efficient construction processes, he delved deeper into his expertise.

As a student at Chico State, Jungsten was connected to a job by his father (a professional in the Audio Visual industry) at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics opening and closing ceremonies- constructing a display that had to be easily, efficiently, and aesthetically constructed and destructed. “This was my first experience in a ‘no fail environment’, something that I have applied to all jobs since then.” From the Olympics, to renovating classic San Francisco Victorians- Jeff quickly became an expert in the California building scene, and joined up with Caletti Construction in 1994. In 2004 Jeff became a partner and Caletti Jungsten Construction was born, and later, in 2015 John Caletti retired and Jungsten Construction was on their way.

Sonoma Wine Country 1

Today, Jungsten Construction is Marin’s go-to when looking for best practice in sustainable construction. Jeff has cultivated a unique business model- building a collaborative, trusting, and honest environment from the very beginning of each project, bringing together teams based on sites and trusting relationships, as opposed to transactional, competitive jobs that plague the current industry. Jungsten sees himself as both an advocate for the client and architect, facilitating relationships and finding the best, most sustainable outcome for each project site, team, and budget. His philosophy is that the most efficient, and therefore, more sustainable way to approach a project is with the right team from the very beginning- which also provides the highest value of work and quality to clients.

A recent rendering from a Feldman Architecture/Jungsten Construction collaboration

FA first engaged with Jungsten Construction on what is now one of our favorite projects, Sonoma Wine Country 1, in which our teams pushed each other and the final design to the next level. This Fall, FA has two projects in the works with the Jungsten team– which Jeff pulled us into. “One of our clients called me and said they wanted a house that seamlessly fit into their breathtaking site, and I immediately thought of Butterfly House and some of the other work in the Santa Lucia Preserve, and FA was my first call and my only call. Their humility, their design, and their expertise truly made them my first choice, along with their seamless design connecting site and structure.”

Working with Jeff and the Jungsten Construction team is a pleasure because of the commitment to their collaborators and their clients. Jeff works twice as hard to make our job and the client’s lives easier- how can we say no to that?

 

Staff Spotlight: Eric Willits...

 

Q: Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Irvine, California where I spent pretty much all of my time outdoors. During the summer time it was the neighborhood swim team and bike tag and during the winter time it was soccer and baseball team. I loved playing sports- and the year round sun allowed me to play as many as possible – and it’s probably the thing I miss most about home. When I got to high school, I decided to focus on soccer competitively, but I picked up surfing – I couldn’t stay out of the water completely. For 4 years, my neighbors and I spent the weekends at surf camps, and the weeknights at the neighborhood watering hole (boba joint). The only other home I had growing up was the farmhouse my mom and her siblings grew up in.  Every summer for a couple of weeks we visited the family vineyard making homemade lasagna and picking grapes, my favorite family tradition.

Q: Where did you go to school?

I moved up to the Bay Area when I started at Berkeley. I studied Economics, focused on Environmental Policy and Renewable Energy. I’ve always been super passionate about the environment and loved math- so the program ended up being the perfect fit.

Q: What was your favorite class in college?

I took a lot of amazing classes that taught me about Environmental and Energy Economics, but I was really excited to have room to take Italian as an elective.  My extended family is Italian, and I’ve always wanted to become fluent in another language.

Q: Tell me about your family.

Some of my favorite family memories are the countless road trips we took while growing up.  Every year we went skiing at Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort. My two sisters and I got very close on these long car rides.  My mom used to take us on RV trips through America’s national parks, I love how adventurous my family is when it comes to exploring new places. I was lucky enough to follow my older sister, Giortia, to Berkeley and we spent 2 years there together before she graduated and moved to San Francisco, where she now works at Lyft.  My younger sister, Helena, started her second year at CalPoly Slo where she’s studying Mechanical Engineering.

Q: What is the most interesting aspect of architecture to you?

My favorite aspect of architecture is how quickly and easily it takes you to a different time period.  No matter where I go, the thing that influences my experience the most is the architecture of my surroundings.  I can picture what society was like at the time when a building was designed, a time when people looked up at it and considered it contemporary. Working at a modern architecture firm makes me so much more aware of architecture’s evolving nature and my interest in design.

Q: How long have you worked at FA?

I just passed the 2 month mark!

Q: What makes our office unique?

I think our office is unique in that everyone is so different. Our workforce has a noticeable diversity of background and thought, yet at the same time everyone clicks to form a larger identity that is Feldman Architecture.

Q: What’s your favorite part about coming to work?

My favorite part about coming to work is being around so many motivated people. Everyone at Feldman is here because they love what they are doing and understand that it’s important. This group mentality is a really great environment to be in every day and is what keeps our office culture fresh.

Q: What is the last show you binge watched?

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – one of my new favorites!

Q: Do you have any fun plans coming up?

Saving up to do some traveling!  I haven’t been, but I know my next destination is South America.

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