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Jonathan Feldman

Q: Where are you from?

I spent my first 8 years in New Haven, CT before moving to Palo Alto. We had a small river and woods behind our house in Connecticut and a creek behind our house in Palo Alto in which I spent countless hours exploring – climbing trees, collecting fireflies, and making forts. In Palo Alto, I biked everywhere, played a lot of basketball, and drove up to the mountains to ski most weekends.

Q: Where did you go to school?

I studied Astronomy and English at Amherst College in western Massachusetts. I was on the ski team and started a film-making club, which meant that I kept all the cameras and editing equipment in my dorm room. After college I returned to the Bay Area where I spent some time on a residential construction crew, took film-making classes, picked up temp work in Hollywood and at various tech companies, and spent weekends as a ski patrol in Tahoe before heading up to Oregon to study architecture. In Eugene, I spent all my time in the mountains, climbing, mountain-biking, and back-country skiing.

Q: Tell me about your family.

My father was a physicist turned doctor turned medical researcher turned medical device entrepreneur and investor who, to this day, is always taking obscure classes at Stanford on anything from Shakespeare to Machine Learning. My mother ran the home and then went to law school when I was in high school, and my older brother was in college. She worked as a public defender for many years and always had the best dinnertime stories to share from her work. My brother was a sports nut who ended up as an accomplished sportscaster. He now lives in SF and is reliably dragging me into a heated, first one to 10, ping-pong or pickle-ball matches. And, on the rare occasion that he is losing, it more likely becomes first to 20!

Q: What is the last show you binge watched?

I’m embarrassed to say how much TV I’ve watched during the pandemic, but we’ve been gravitating to watching foreign language shows set in other countries – I think because we haven’t been able to travel. A list of my foreign favorites are Pachinko, Tokyo Vice, Giri/Haji, Babylon Berlin, The Bridge, and Seaside Hotel.

Q: Did you pick up any new hobbies during quarantine?

Lisa and I started playing a whole lot of tennis at the park near our house and our neighbors painted a pickle-ball court on our dead-end street. And I started going to the driving range near my house to whack balls at the end of the workday, which is a great way to de-stress after an intense workday. I have also been playing a lot of guitar.

Q: What kinds of projects do you most enjoy working on?

That’s a tough one because I have several amazing projects at the moment. I like variety, but especially enjoy designing on difficult sites. That said, my best and most enjoyable projects consistently are the ones with clients who are engaged and open-minded to new and previously unimagined possibilities.

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

I absolutely love the people I get to work with: great clients and amazing consultants who trust us and challenge us to do better; and most importantly, the team we have built in our studio. My partners and senior staff are incredibly experienced and competent. Our younger staff is so talented and passionate about design and developing their skills, and everyone is amazing at collaborating and making sure we have fun!

Q: What are the top three things on your bucket list?

I’ve been dreaming about taking a sabbatical. Right now, I’m dreaming about a year in Rome with Lisa after our kids leave the nest – which is coming up on us quickly. I still haven’t quite let go of my dream to climb El Capitan via one of its multi-day classic climbs. I made it up the face of Half Dome and have one failed attempt on El Cap’s Zodiac rout. I’ve never been to Alaska and would love to take a long trip that includes biking, climbing, and kayaking.

Q: Favorite SF hidden gem?

I live right next to the Presidio and have spent lots of time discovering its trails and hidden treasures, such as the Battery to Bluffs trail and the four Andy Goldsworthy installations.

Q: What are five features you would include in your dream home?

For me, getting the fundamentals right would 99% of the dream: layout, well-proportioned spaces, balanced natural lighting, great indoor-outdoor connections. But there are some conveniences that we included in our recent remodel of the 100-year-old Edwardian that we renovated in SF, such as two dishwashers, a steam shower, and a laundry room next to my closet. I love our graywater/rainwater system which allows us to feel better about long showers and having a lush garden during these droughts. Similarly, the ERV whole-house air filtration system has been a godsend during the bad air days that keep occurring due to wildfires!

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