The California Dream


Jennifer Robins Interiors and Arcanum Architecture define California elegance in this Portola Valley Home

(Photography by Paul Dyer, Styling by Yedda Morrison)

A pair wing chairs from Walter’s Wicker face a pair of sofas designed by Jennifer Robins Interiors.
A custom {reclaimed oak} coffee table by Jennifer Robin Interiors and Statsky Design sits on top of a rug by Stark Carpet.

“Interior design is a balancing act and when done well, there is harmony with the architecture, landscape and interiors,” says Jennifer Macdonald, founder of Jennifer Robin Interiors. She and her team bestowed this graceful approach when designing a Portola Valley home in collaboration with Arcanum Architecture for a family with three kids. “We specialize in lifestyle houses that focus on an indoor/outdoor experience,” says Tim Chappelle from Arcanum Architecture. “The houses are never simple rectangular masses. Instead, the residences spread themselves out on the property in skinny building forms.”

Thomas Hayes counter stools complement the custom floating shelves.
A custom light designed by Jennifer Robin Interiors sheds light on custom concrete counter tops by Sonoma Cast Stone.

The new-build 6,800-square-foot home for the young, active family was built to be “an idyllic private oasis that embraces the rustic lifestyle of its environment,” Chappelle notes. Ample space for the daily bustle and furniture and surfaces built to last, were also top of mind. “They needed a no fuss home where the girls could run free and spaces designed to support play and family connection, such as the round breakfast table at kitchen, the sofa for girls to curl up on in the master bedroom to watch a movie, the downstairs area with a play room, gym and a casual TV-media room,” says Macdonald. “During this time of Covid, both parents are working from home and the kids are at home for distance learning. It has become all the more important for families to have a home that meets everybody’s needs while providing a personal oasis of comfort, joy and easy indoor/outdoor living.”

A Gregorius Pineo dining table is surrounded by chairs by Thomas Hayes.

One of the client’s main requests that posed a challenge derived from the clients wanting both an open floor plan and intimate areas for dining. “This may seem like a small thing, but when developing a house that has an open modern floor plan it can be problematic,” says Chappelle. “We positioned the dining room in an area that is isolated from the majority of the public spaces, but still allows for circulation through the space on a daily basis.”

Sconces from Urban Electric complement the faucets by Waterworks.
The ornate console by Alfonso Marina is from Hewn.

Like most new builds in California, the goal was to maximize the quintessential indoor/outdoor experience. Macdonald and the team built upon this element in order to reflect the essence of the rustic terrain inside, while adding layers of sophistication and elegance as well as kid-friendly spaces.”The living room is an example of this sophisticated yet casual design.  Custom De La Cuona linen and Holly Hunt velvet sofas compliment the color of the pool outside and we designed tall custom cabinets that pocket open—the right contains a cocktail bar for entertaining while the left hides a TV,” says the designer.

A Gregorius Pineo chandelier hangs above a custom bed designed by Jennifer Robin Interiors and built by Kroll Furniture.
Phoenix Day lighting makes a statement in the master bathroom.
Tiempo Bijan by Ann Sacks dances on the shower walls.

“Texture is also extremely important to me when designing in both the finishes of the home and the furnishings,” says Macdonald. “For instance, we did custom stained rough sawn wood walls throughout and antiqued Carrara stone at the kitchen hood, backsplash and master bathroom/powder too, all of which added extra texture to the home. ”

Lush materials add subtle pops of color while rustic and neutral surfaces further the overall design directive of casual California elegance. Touches of bohemian vibes are expressed in the selection of tiles, textiles and furniture while modernity exudes in lighting and furniture throughout.

Outdoor furniture buy Design Within Reach is placed throughout the backyard.

“The property occupies half of a skinny knoll in a hilly portion of the community that is well established,” says Chappelle. The expansive backyard that features a pool and pavilion continues the outdoor living and overall space for the family.