Designed In-House

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photos by:
September 7, 2010

Mill Valley, California, might not be a hotbed of modernism, but it was here, ten years ago, that Dwell came into the world alongside founder Lara Hedberg Deam’s first home—now renovated by her husband, Chris Deam. Here’s the story behind the place that started it all.

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  By carving away some of the hillside, the Deams effectively added an outdoor room to their renovated home.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    By carving away some of the hillside, the Deams effectively added an outdoor room to their renovated home.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  Deam also designed all of the built-in furniture, including this bedside console that features an Arne Jacobsen sconce.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    Deam also designed all of the built-in furniture, including this bedside console that features an Arne Jacobsen sconce.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  A path created with Stepstone's narrow concrete pavers meanders through the garden past the master bedroom.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    A path created with Stepstone's narrow concrete pavers meanders through the garden past the master bedroom.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  The curving glass and steel wall, designed by Deam and executed by Sand Studios, is a tour de force of engineering and design.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    The curving glass and steel wall, designed by Deam and executed by Sand Studios, is a tour de force of engineering and design.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  As the house is situated on a steep slope, visitors enter only to be whisked upstairs to the main living space. The facade was designed by Bob Hatfield in 1996. A new glass and steel door, designed by Chris Deam and fabricated by Sand Studios, was added in the renovation.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    As the house is situated on a steep slope, visitors enter only to be whisked upstairs to the main living space. The facade was designed by Bob Hatfield in 1996. A new glass and steel door, designed by Chris Deam and fabricated by Sand Studios, was added in the renovation.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  In the master bedroom, Chris designed all of the built-in furniture. The painting is by Mike Monteiro.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    In the master bedroom, Chris designed all of the built-in furniture. The painting is by Mike Monteiro.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  A pair of Slow chairs by the Bouroullec brothers for Vitra frame a new Brionvega RR226 stereo by Achille Castiglioni in the living room. The photograph by Michael Wolf of a Hong Kong apartment building is from a series that ran in the March 2004 issue of Dwell.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    A pair of Slow chairs by the Bouroullec brothers for Vitra frame a new Brionvega RR226 stereo by Achille Castiglioni in the living room. The photograph by Michael Wolf of a Hong Kong apartment building is from a series that ran in the March 2004 issue of Dwell.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  In the den, Lara and Cal read a Hardy Boys mystery on the Flexform Groundpiece sofa by Antonio Citterio while Chris works in his "office." The cozy room where the family spends much of their time once housed the kitchen.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    In the den, Lara and Cal read a Hardy Boys mystery on the Flexform Groundpiece sofa by Antonio Citterio while Chris works in his "office." The cozy room where the family spends much of their time once housed the kitchen.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  In addition to a swing, Cal's room features Maija & Kristina Isola's Sola bedding for Marimekko.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    In addition to a swing, Cal's room features Maija & Kristina Isola's Sola bedding for Marimekko.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  The sauna is a decidedly Scandinavian touch.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    The sauna is a decidedly Scandinavian touch.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  In the master bathroom, Chris clad the tub and walls in Carrara marble. An AJ Wall sconce by Arne Jacobsen for Louis Poulsen sheds some light on bathtub reading.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    In the master bathroom, Chris clad the tub and walls in Carrara marble. An AJ Wall sconce by Arne Jacobsen for Louis Poulsen sheds some light on bathtub reading.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  Cal and Macy enjoy a snack from Mom at the almost 14-foot-long walnut slab table sourced from Arborica in Marshall, California. The wood came from a tree that fell into a Palo Alto, California, street. A trio of Tom Dixon Beat Lamps provide the perfect counterpoint to a slew of black plastic Eames shell chairs from Herman Miller.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    Cal and Macy enjoy a snack from Mom at the almost 14-foot-long walnut slab table sourced from Arborica in Marshall, California. The wood came from a tree that fell into a Palo Alto, California, street. A trio of Tom Dixon Beat Lamps provide the perfect counterpoint to a slew of black plastic Eames shell chairs from Herman Miller.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  Unable to alter the footprint of the building, the Deams created a backyard living area that nearly doubled the home's living space.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    Unable to alter the footprint of the building, the Deams created a backyard living area that nearly doubled the home's living space.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  Thanks to clever engineering by Sand Studios, seven-year-old Macy can operate the 2,000-pound door.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    Thanks to clever engineering by Sand Studios, seven-year-old Macy can operate the 2,000-pound door.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  A raised dining nook furnished with Konstantin Grcic Ones for Magis makes outdoor dining a breeze.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    A raised dining nook furnished with Konstantin Grcic Ones for Magis makes outdoor dining a breeze.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  With the doors flung wide open, the Deams' outdoor space truly functions as an adjunct living room at the core of the home. The feeling of an outdoor room is reinforced by the linearity and evenness of the concrete patio surface, which was constructed with Stepstone's Narrow Modular Pavers. "I actually discovered them at Dwell on Design in 2006," Lara says. The three-inch-wide pavers are available in multiple lengths and in 12 different shades.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    With the doors flung wide open, the Deams' outdoor space truly functions as an adjunct living room at the core of the home. The feeling of an outdoor room is reinforced by the linearity and evenness of the concrete patio surface, which was constructed with Stepstone's Narrow Modular Pavers. "I actually discovered them at Dwell on Design in 2006," Lara says. The three-inch-wide pavers are available in multiple lengths and in 12 different shades.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  It might not make you popular with your contractor, but for a more streamlined look, Chris recommends forgoing trim. "It lends a clean look with less visual clutter," the architect says. In their house, the doors, lights, cabinetry, and even wall sockets (all 22 by Bocci) are installed without trim. This allows the planar surfaces to recede and do their jobs without unnecessarily distracting the eye.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    It might not make you popular with your contractor, but for a more streamlined look, Chris recommends forgoing trim. "It lends a clean look with less visual clutter," the architect says. In their house, the doors, lights, cabinetry, and even wall sockets (all 22 by Bocci) are installed without trim. This allows the planar surfaces to recede and do their jobs without unnecessarily distracting the eye.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  When it came to paint the 40-foot-long curving steel-and-glass window wall designed by Chris and fabricated by Sand Studios, the Deams turned to Steve Bauer of Baumar, who specializes in custom paint finishes, to get the job done. Metallic automotive paint stands up well to the elements—from blaring sunlight to heavy rain—and comes in an almost infinite array of colors.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    When it came to paint the 40-foot-long curving steel-and-glass window wall designed by Chris and fabricated by Sand Studios, the Deams turned to Steve Bauer of Baumar, who specializes in custom paint finishes, to get the job done. Metallic automotive paint stands up well to the elements—from blaring sunlight to heavy rain—and comes in an almost infinite array of colors.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  Can't find the right table for your space? Another option is to have a custom top cut for a recycled base, which is what the Deams did for their outdoor dining area. They had an existing Scissor table base by Bay Area designer John Randolph sitting unused, so Chris had a piece of hardy soapstone (it stands up to high temperatures) cut to match by Fox Marble. A subtle facet at each corner plays off the base's design and lends a more intimate feel to the long table. For a fraction of the cost of a full piece, the bases of design classics are often available on Craigslist and eBay.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    Can't find the right table for your space? Another option is to have a custom top cut for a recycled base, which is what the Deams did for their outdoor dining area. They had an existing Scissor table base by Bay Area designer John Randolph sitting unused, so Chris had a piece of hardy soapstone (it stands up to high temperatures) cut to match by Fox Marble. A subtle facet at each corner plays off the base's design and lends a more intimate feel to the long table. For a fraction of the cost of a full piece, the bases of design classics are often available on Craigslist and eBay.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  The materials palette is similarly restrained, making the only natural piece of wood in the house—the almost 14-foot-long walnut slab in the kitchen—really stand out. "If there was wood everywhere it would lose its gravitas," notes Chris.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    The materials palette is similarly restrained, making the only natural piece of wood in the house—the almost 14-foot-long walnut slab in the kitchen—really stand out. "If there was wood everywhere it would lose its gravitas," notes Chris.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  In paring back the home's aesthetic, Chris kept the color palette as simple as possible. Limiting the surfaces to either painted white or stained black allows colorful art, objects, furniture, and people to really pop.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    In paring back the home's aesthetic, Chris kept the color palette as simple as possible. Limiting the surfaces to either painted white or stained black allows colorful art, objects, furniture, and people to really pop.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  Cal and Macy jump rope with mom and dad.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    Cal and Macy jump rope with mom and dad.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  The twins' ephemera gathers on the patio outside.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    The twins' ephemera gathers on the patio outside.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  Stepstone's narrow concrete pavers add a graphic touch to the garden in the Mill Valley home of Dwell founder Lara Hedberg Deam and architect Chris Deam. Photo by Dustin Aksland.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland

    Stepstone's narrow concrete pavers add a graphic touch to the garden in the Mill Valley home of Dwell founder Lara Hedberg Deam and architect Chris Deam. Photo by Dustin Aksland.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

  • 
  Stepstone's narrow concrete pavers add a graphic touch to the garden.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    Stepstone's narrow concrete pavers add a graphic touch to the garden.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  A selection of pieces from the Maia outdoor collection by Patricia Urquiola for Kettal make up the seating area outside.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    A selection of pieces from the Maia outdoor collection by Patricia Urquiola for Kettal make up the seating area outside.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  Chris stained all the interior wood black, including this wall by the entry stairs.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    Chris stained all the interior wood black, including this wall by the entry stairs.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  Sitting on the Recycled Blanket Rug by Tejo Remy and Rene VeenHuizen, Chris digs through his records looking for something to play on the new Brionvega RR226 by Achille Castiglioni.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    Sitting on the Recycled Blanket Rug by Tejo Remy and Rene VeenHuizen, Chris digs through his records looking for something to play on the new Brionvega RR226 by Achille Castiglioni.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  The living room is home to two Bouroullec Brothers designs: the Facett sofa for Ligne Roset, and the Slow chair for Vitra.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    The living room is home to two Bouroullec Brothers designs: the Facett sofa for Ligne Roset, and the Slow chair for Vitra.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  Lara's home office consists of a MacBook Air and Ferruccio Laviani Abat-Jour lamp for Kartell.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    Lara's home office consists of a MacBook Air and Ferruccio Laviani Abat-Jour lamp for Kartell.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  "It feels like this design unlocked what the house wanted to be," says Lara. The Cord Chair, by Jacques Guillon, is in production again for the first time in over fifty years. It's available from Avenue Road  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    "It feels like this design unlocked what the house wanted to be," says Lara. The Cord Chair, by Jacques Guillon, is in production again for the first time in over fifty years. It's available from Avenue Road

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  Open a tidily tucked away pocket in the wall, and you'll find a screened aperture with louvers.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    Open a tidily tucked away pocket in the wall, and you'll find a screened aperture with louvers.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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  A wall of built-ins in the kitchen houses a raft of Miele appliances including a refrigerator, microwave, and espresso machine.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    A wall of built-ins in the kitchen houses a raft of Miele appliances including a refrigerator, microwave, and espresso machine.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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