Designer Crush Q&A: Olle Lundberg

1. Where do you currently live in CA and what's special about how you've designed your personal space?

On weekdays I live in a loft apartment in a converted 1930s mattress factory, located in the Dogpatch neighborhood of SF. On weekends we go to the Sonoma Coast, where we have a cabin in the redwoods. The one is very urban – a great neighborhood with everything in walking distance. The other is very reclusive, 16 acres is enough to hide in, and we have a view of maybe 1000 acres without another building in sight.  Both are very small – about 1000 sq ft, which is all we really need.

2. What's your dream design project? Who would it be for (dead or alive)? 

I’d love to design a mountain retreat somewhere – very modern with rooms that are either very solid or very transparent, say some in stone and some in glass. A place to celebrate nature. The client could be anyone, but they would need to be smart and kind, someone that would become a friend over the course of the project. Nothing is better than designing for people you enjoy.

3. In real life, what's your favorite design project you've completed to date?

My cabin, which is the most personal space I’ve created. Beyond that my favorite is always the one I am working on now.

4. You've been gifted a fabulously furnished dream home but can only bring one item from your current space. What would it be? 

I have no interest in living in a home furnished by someone else; my work is very personal and that connection to all of the pieces is what I cherish. Those physical pieces in some way define who I am. So I’d sell the house. But if you want to know my favorite possession – probably my hot sauce collection.

5. What's your creative process when designing a space?

The site and the client are the source of inspiration. Understanding the program is about grasping the client’s needs, understanding the site is about finding the relationship between the building and the landscape. I think great design always focuses on a single, powerful idea – so for each project you have to find it. It tends to be all you think about when you are designing, but I do find many of those solutions come to me in the shower.

6. Where do you score prized interior design items? Any shopping tips?

Scrap yards – Alan Steel, Redwood City, CA.  All kinds of cool stuff, lots of maritime parts, tooling, stainless steel objects.

7. Ever had an epic DIY disaster? What project would you never take on again yourself?

I like the act of building, and in fact have built most of the cabin myself (part of the reason it is my favorite project.) My biggest success there has been the outdoor kitchen, which has just proved to be the best entertainment space ever! The biggest failure, probably the biological filter for the pool, which is a very pretty wetlands garden but really does not control the algae as I’d hoped. That's okay though, I’m thinking of turning it into a fish pond. When you try things that haven’t been done before you always have failure as an option, but you always learn from mistakes, so you just have to be ready to take responsibility and fix it.

8. What new design trend are you excited to integrate into your next project?

Right now I’m really excited by tree root balls – wait until you see what we do with one at Peregrine, Mourad Lahlou’s new restaurant at 140 New Montgomery.

9. Lightning round! 

Beach or mountains? Beach

Twitter or Facebook? Twitter

Instagram or Pinterest? Pinterest

Architectural Digest or Wallpaper? Wallpaper

Should you spend money on a fabulous bathroom or kitchen? Kitchen

Would you rather shop new or vintage? Reclaimed

Great view or perfect pool? Great View

SF or LA? SF

10. What's one tip you wish someone had told you when first starting out in the design world?

Watch out for city planners, especially historic planners—they want everything to remain as is and really don’t appreciate the concept of replacing mediocre old buildings with good new ones.


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