Creatives of the Bay Area Series: Evan Shively and Madeleine Fitzpatrick

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By Dwell / Published by Dwell
Bursting with creativity in the hills of West Marin, California, is the home of Evan Shively and Madeleine Fitzpatrick, where they’ve lived for 18 years developing their respective crafts.

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.

Creatives of the Bay Area Series: Evan Shively and Madeleine Fitzpatrick - Photo 1 of 10 - Their home is first accessed through an enormous front gate that Shively made himself out of a eucalyptus tree.

Their home is first accessed through an enormous front gate that Shively made himself out of a eucalyptus tree.

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.

Creatives of the Bay Area Series: Evan Shively and Madeleine Fitzpatrick - Photo 2 of 10 - Shively and Fitzpatrick are shown here with their three dogs that inhabit their property in West Marin, California.

Shively and Fitzpatrick are shown here with their three dogs that inhabit their property in West Marin, California.

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. 

Creatives of the Bay Area Series: Evan Shively and Madeleine Fitzpatrick - Photo 3 of 10 - Once you pass through the front gate, the main entrance to the house leads into a metal greenhouse, which connects the two wings of the house. A wood sculpture by David Nash sits to the left of the entrance.

Once you pass through the front gate, the main entrance to the house leads into a metal greenhouse, which connects the two wings of the house. A wood sculpture by David Nash sits to the left of the entrance.

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.

Creatives of the Bay Area Series: Evan Shively and Madeleine Fitzpatrick - Photo 4 of 10 - When you walk in the front door, you enter into a magical oasis. Shively referenced The Moody Blues' 1968 song, "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume," when he explained the idea of the entrance. "The operating principle is that when you enter through the front door, you're in the jungle—but through the jungle, you see a fire burning stove. You're drawn into to the space," he says. 

When you walk in the front door, you enter into a magical oasis. Shively referenced The Moody Blues' 1968 song, "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume," when he explained the idea of the entrance. "The operating principle is that when you enter through the front door, you're in the jungle—but through the jungle, you see a fire burning stove. You're drawn into to the space," he says. 

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. 

Creatives of the Bay Area Series: Evan Shively and Madeleine Fitzpatrick - Photo 5 of 10 - The kitchen is organized in a similar way to a traditional Japanese farmhouse: "hearth and earth in the center, and then the wings become progressively more refined and private," explains Shively.

The kitchen is organized in a similar way to a traditional Japanese farmhouse: "hearth and earth in the center, and then the wings become progressively more refined and private," explains Shively.

Dwell: Thrift store or design store? 

Shively and Fitzpatrick: Thrift. Pay no attention to the Philippe Starks.

Creatives of the Bay Area Series: Evan Shively and Madeleine Fitzpatrick - Photo 6 of 10 - This pathway in the greenhouse guides you to one of the separate wings of the house. The stairs are repurposed from a winery installation that they use to water plants that reach upwards of 20 feet. It also acts as a place to perch within the greenhouse. 

This pathway in the greenhouse guides you to one of the separate wings of the house. The stairs are repurposed from a winery installation that they use to water plants that reach upwards of 20 feet. It also acts as a place to perch within the greenhouse. 


Creatives of the Bay Area Series: Evan Shively and Madeleine Fitzpatrick - Photo 7 of 10 - After seeing a mylar installation by a friend of theirs, they decided to drape their dining room with the bold material.

After seeing a mylar installation by a friend of theirs, they decided to drape their dining room with the bold material.

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. 

Creatives of the Bay Area Series: Evan Shively and Madeleine Fitzpatrick - Photo 8 of 10 - Two of Fitzpatrick's paintings are shown here, alongside a sculpture by David Nash titled, Cracking Box. 

Two of Fitzpatrick's paintings are shown here, alongside a sculpture by David Nash titled, Cracking Box. 

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.

Creatives of the Bay Area Series: Evan Shively and Madeleine Fitzpatrick - Photo 9 of 10 - Shown here is a visitor in Fitzpatrick's art studio, where they house their collection of vintage feather hats from the mid-1950s to the 1970s—many of which are vintage Dior. 

Shown here is a visitor in Fitzpatrick's art studio, where they house their collection of vintage feather hats from the mid-1950s to the 1970s—many of which are vintage Dior. 


Creatives of the Bay Area Series: Evan Shively and Madeleine Fitzpatrick - Photo 10 of 10 - Shively describes this space as a "fluffy land" that acts as the heart of the guest wing—"the side of the house that’s dedicated to festivity and for the comfort of visiting friends." He continues, "The intention behind it was to create an immersive environment—being fully there in the moment together. Sometimes, it’s arranged as a feasting hall, or in a club format for less structured hobnobbing and carry-on."

Shively describes this space as a "fluffy land" that acts as the heart of the guest wing—"the side of the house that’s dedicated to festivity and for the comfort of visiting friends." He continues, "The intention behind it was to create an immersive environment—being fully there in the moment together. Sometimes, it’s arranged as a feasting hall, or in a club format for less structured hobnobbing and carry-on."

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