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Interior Alchemy

A Mill Valley interior designer engineers a family home for happiness.

Mary Jo Bowling
  • Photo credit: John Merkl
    Gut Feelings
    Designed by Allison Bloom

    For years, Allison Bloom resisted the quiet voice in her head urging her toward creative pursuits. Although she was drawn to interior design, she felt she should be working at something more meaningful. But after remodeling a Mill Valley bungalow, the woman who majored in biology and environmental studies started to look at the data on how interiors and architecture affect us. The conclusion: Good design is anything but trivial. The findings formed the basis of Bloom’s new career and business, Dehn Bloom Design.

  • Photo credit: John Merkl
    The New Directions
    Designed by Allison Bloom

    Bloom’s personal experiment began in 2007, when the Bloom family (Allison, husband Jim, and kids Ellie, Dane and David) relocated from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. The walls of their new 1,100-square-foot bungalow built in the 1920s had been decorated with sponge-painting techniques. But it also came with a developer’s unrealized plan for a 1,400-square-foot addition and dramatic makeover. Bloom decided to take on the project, modifying the drawings with architect Kenneth Holder.

  • Photo credit: John Merkl
    Light Principle
    Designed by Allison Bloom

    Although the new direction was modern, Bloom also wanted to retain and celebrate elements of history. The living room and dining room are in a wide-open area off the entry. Bloom added additional windows to the space to fill it with as much natural light as possible. The molecular compound–like structure in the art by April Dawn Parker appeals to Bloom's scientific side.

  • Photo credit: John Merkl
    Moroccan Welcome
    Designed by Allison Bloom

    Bloom fell in love with these graphic Moroccan concrete tiles when she saw them on a blog. “They weren’t available in the US, so I had to become an importer just to order them. They broke twice during shipping and delayed the project by three weeks, but I was adamant that we use them,” she says. “They epitomize the look I was going for: fresh, modern, playful and undeniably beautiful.”

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