Studio By The Sea RanchAuthor:Abigail Stone
Bonnie Saland of Philomela, a textile and design studio, found a home in the fabled The Sea Ranch community and set about transforming it into the lush and layered studio by the sea she envisioned. Images: Diana Koenigsberg Photography
The Sea Ranch, a private community about 100 miles north of San Francisco, was founded in the early 60s on the idealistic principles of Scandinavian design and living in harmony with the land. This house, christened “Sculpture Point”, belongs to Bonnie Saland of Philomela, a textile and design studio known for their original, hand-drawn, painted and printed patterns.
“My whole thing was an inspiring studio on the sea,” says Saland, “It has a feeling of not being contained which is very different from my house in L.A. which is very constrained and cozy.”
But while the house offered a stunning view of the Pacific, the original building did not take advantage of its magnificent setting. “It was tired and far too enclosed for our preferences,” Saland remembers.
Saland brought in “a wildly talented team”: architect, Peter Jenny, metalworker Alan Sklansky, landscape designer Scott Graff and contractor Bryan Dixon had received glowing references from Saland’s realtor. “They bring a vast collective knowledge of The Sea Ranch architecture, landscape, appropriate building materials and zoning regulations,” Saland explains.
While leaving the original blueprint of the home and its signature The Sea Ranch details — the dark wood paneling and stone fireplace — intact, the team transformed the interior, bringing it in line with Saland’s wishes for inspirational views.
The walls that separated the glass front from the entry to the house were removed, the master bedroom blown open to a window wall on the ocean and completely reconfigured, and a two story garage became Saland’s new art studio, with a passageway that connects the space to the house, the repository of her art book library.
The bathroom, the kitchen and the home’s floors were reworked. Sklansky installed a sculptural metal staircase that leads to the second floor’s balcony and rooms. He also worked with Jenny to create many of the home’s unique light fixtures.
Citing Frida Kahlo’s residences, Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch and The Bloomsbury Set’s Farmhouse as jumping off points, Saland herself shouldered much of the interior design work, weaving in fabrics from her own collection, inspirational textiles from her travels, and worn but beloved pieces from her wardrobe.
The color palette, which responds to the landscape, is dominated by the ochre of the sand dunes and the greys, greens and blues of sea. These calming hues are juxtaposed against bright textiles, many acquired on a trip to Bhutan that happily coincided with the purchase of the house.
With resources ranging from CB2 and Ikea, to Booneville Mercantile, Mexican flea markets, ABC Carpet, India, Bhutan, and MB Abrams Gallery (who also represents Saland’s fine art work), the overall feeling of the home speaks to the exuberant creativity that is at the heart of Philomela. “It was done in the spirit of an installation for my body of fine art and textile work,” says Saland.