Designer Crush Q&A: Paul Neundorfer


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

My partner and I recently moved from San Francisco to West Berkeley. We are updating a bungalow on a unique lot with an seperate artist studio and what will become a charming and meditative edible garden. 

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

A Renaissance garden for the Medici’s or a waterfront County Place Era estate. My sister lives in Rome and several years ago, arranged for me to visit a number of Renaissance gardens typically closed to the public. Wandering alone, photographing and sketching these grand spaces was a surreal experience. It would have been a fascinating period to practice the art of garden making. The European Beaux Arts inspired Country Place Era of the 1890s-1930s was rich with horticultural diversity and has always intrigued me. 

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

We have been transforming the landscape of a large property in northeast Ohio for 20 years. It has been an engineering intensive endeavor where we have radically altered topography, built walls, created Koi ponds, fountains and follies and designed myriad seasonal gardens with unique horticultural diversity.  I consider the owners not only clients but patrons and great friends. Several times each year we walk the property together, discuss the garden’s evolution and make decisions on future projects.    

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

Our bed with our dog in it.

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

For interiors, I rely on my partner Jack Mueller who owns an art and design gallery called Spacepop in Berkley. We frequent estate sales and flea markets for landscape fixtures, fountains and antique garden ornaments that have a past life and are gently weathered. There are also great warehouses in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland with salvage pieces.

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

I was helping a friend excavate for a garden addition and as I was directing the work, he put the bucket of an excavator into my big toe. The toe and I survived after a bit of surgery but now I always hire experienced excavation contractors and keep my distance from the machines.

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

We’re working with a San Francisco business owner to integrate an edible green roof design and aquaponics into their commercial project.

9. Lightning round!

Beach or mountains?   


Twitter or Facebook?


Instagram or Pinterest?


Architectural Digest or Wallpaper?

Architectural Digest

Should you spend money on a fabulous bathroom or kitchen?


Would you rather shop new or vintage?

New, but depends on the city

Great view or perfect pool? 

Great view from a perfect pool

SF or LA?


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

It’s not just about the work but about people and human interaction.  Like making music, design is social and collaborative.

Want more Paul?

Website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Houzz

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