Open Studios: Inside the Home and Studio of Philomela artist Bonnie Saland


Philomela founder and artist Bonnie Saland shares a rare glimpse inside her Pasadena home, where she dreams up mystifying prints.

Toasting the future with Galaxy on double lounge chaise covered in newly released Sunbrella print Itajime, in the ore color way. Photos by Ann E. Cutting. 

Nestled in the San Rafael area of Pasadena sits a rare mid-century home, recently landmarked historic, where psychoanalyst, artist and founder of Philomela Bonnie Saland calls home. “The architect, while not famous, was an early modernist, and his wife was an interior designer,” says Saland. “Rumor has it they divorced over her insistence on adding the two story library to accommodate a rug she had recently purchased in Europe and wanted to build around.”

The studio entrance surrounded by garden. Photos by Ann E. Cutting.
Studio wall of digitally produced Philomela textiles and product. Photos by Ann E. Cutting.

The 1,800 square foot home needed a major overhaul. Saland worked with Michael Tarne on the architecture, contractor Abraham Hernandez, master wood worker William Stranger and her daughter Jeorgea Beck, who at the time was designing with ABC Carpet & Home. “It takes a village to get me through any given day let alone a remodel,” Saland notes on the renovation.

Like all of her past design projects, the artist paid close attention to the architectural bones of the home while infusing her own keen sense of color and collections acquired during years of global travel. “The French antique armoire and red velvet sofa were initially bought for the 100 year old 6,000 square foot home that we raised our family in,” Saland notes. “My 97 year old mother turned me on to Flow blue china, and there was a period when I was buying quite a bit of Majolica and Suzani textiles.”

Studio space with Philomela Textile samples, pillows and curtains; vintage quilt-top, and Saland’s clay printed framed still life series. Photos by Ann E. Cutting.

Saland and her husband Mark, now married for over forty years, were new empty nesters and eager to curate an intimate, forever home. “This house has been a wonderful and wildly efficient spot,” says Saland. ‘We use every inch to accommodate a home office for my husband, a clinical space where I see psychoanalytic clients (also know as our living room), a studio/office base for Philomela and sometimes crash pad for family and friends.”

Finishing touch on an ever-present visual journal. Photos by Ann E. Cutting.
Library with custom cabinetry and ladder by wood worker William Stranger, with Ralph Lauren wallpaper that surrounds. Photos by Ann E. Cutting.

The home, while not a true open floor plan, functions like one large integrated room, surrounded by lush gardens. Located just minutes away from the center of Pasadena and Highland Park and only fifteen minutes from downtown LA, “it is an oasis to itself and you would not know inside the house that you had neighbors other than the birds always flying about,” Saland says.   

Kitchen condiments with wall of Saland’s framed linoleum cuts on digitally printed paper from Virgin Forest series. Photos by Ann E. Cutting.
The dining room chandelier that came with the house sheds light on a framed Raphael Soyer watercolor, vintage taxidermy and Flow blue china. Photos by Ann E. Cutting.

Old cabinetry was removed in the kitchen to make way for William Stranger’s modern cabinetry and metal counters that add a minimal backdrop to Saland’s vibrant textiles and art. Of the kitchen the artist says “I’d say from a design perspective I’m most tickled by the kitchen which is tiny, but managed to accommodate a fairly massive stove.” 

The living room features a mix of the artist’s own collage work, antique pieces and a custom William Stranger coffee table. Photos by Ann E. Cutting.

After seeing Saland’s home, it is evident where she gathers inspiration for her mesmerizing and colorful textiles and wallpaper. “The beauty of this house is that from every vantage point you look out on greenery, garden and layered views.  For me what you are gazing at outside the window is pivotal.”

Gallie girl, Saland’s shelter pup sits on a lounge chair upholstered in the new Sunbrella branded Katana outdoor fabric in the ore color way. Mix of other textiles, include Philomela digitally printed pillows, vintage pillows in black Chinoserie print and towels from the artist’s personal collection. Photos by Ann E. Cutting.

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