As a former chef who is now the craftsman behind Arborica, Evan Shively has become one of the design industry's most sought-after reclaimed wood sawyer, who has most likely had his hands on many of the enormous slabs of wood found throughout the Bay Area. Madeleine Fitzpatrick is an artist and gardener extraordinaire who is responsible for growing one of the most fantastic, perfectly untamed gardens—which they regularly source from when cooking and entertaining for friends.
Take a look through the photos below—and hear directly from them—for a first-hand tour of their life-filled home, where they live with their three dogs and two horses.
Dwell: Describe your household, and give us some specs, if possible.
Shively and Fitzpatrick: A rural improvisation. Home to two hominids, three canines, two equines, and experiencing a temporary feline shortage. A series of open spaces with gardens snaking around and through. It's really more of living thing than a brick-and-mortar house.
Dwell: How does your space influence your daily life?
Shively and Fitzpatrick: Influence is not the right word exactly. It’s funny to say about a house with so much doo-dad, but it is really elementally functional and in the service of work, rest, and sharing. The visual exuberance is just what boils over the rim of the pot.
Dwell: What is your favorite piece of anonymous design—either in your house or something you use?
Shively and Fitzpatrick: I’m goofy for lots of stuff, but I’d say vintage cast-iron cookware and stainless-steel medical cabinets at the moment. Madeleine, anything that will kill a gopher.
Dwell: What intangibles of your space are most compelling? (ie; the light, smells, etc.)
Shively: A lot of things tell me I’m home—the hum of the refrigeration under the music of the fountain, the smell of the cooking fire outside, the growls of the Rottweilers while they play—but my favorite thing is that the house gets cold at night, which means that sleeping means snuggling.
Dwell: Thrift store or design store?
Shively and Fitzpatrick: Thrift. Pay no attention to the Philippe Starks.
Dwell: How do you entertain guests when they come?
Shively and Fitzpatrick: That’s so much of what the house is about. It’s organized a little like a traditional Japanese farmhouse: hearth and earth in the center, and then the wings become progressively more refined and private. Most guests take root at the kitchen counter; for longer candlelight lingers, snacks in the kitchen, and then a progression at the dining table; and for groups, a small plate format served in the kitchen, but spilling out into the club wing.
Dwell: What are you listening to or reading these days?
Shively and Fitzpatrick: I mostly dork out on things that will help deepen my understanding of the materials and processes at the sawmill. A treat is to get ahold of a book about a client, like the Commune Design book I’m enjoying now, that puts their vibe in a rich context. Madeleine burrows into art books, Richter and DeFeo presently.
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