Legendary Textile Artist Kay Sekimachi’s Renovated Berkeley Victorian Is a True Creative Haven

Add to
Like
Share
By Jenny Xie / Photos by Leslie Williamson
A new book from Rizzoli brings us into the richly layered residence of Sekimachi and her late husband, woodturner Bob Stockdale.

Born in 1926, pioneering fiber artist and San Francisco native Kay Sekimachi has spent the past 40-plus years living and working in an 1895 Victorian duplex in Berkeley, California. Renovated by family friend and architect Albert Lanier in 1979, the residence is a warm, airy space that speaks volumes about the rich life Sekimachi shared with her late husband, celebrated woodturner Bob Stockdale—and her continued, visionary creativity.

Newsletter
Join the Daily Dose Mailing List

Get carefully curated content filled with inspiring homes from around the world, innovative new products, and the best in modern design

Architect Albert Lanier transformed Kay Sekimachi and Bob Stockdale's Berkeley Victorian into a bright, open-plan residence that holds a treasure trove of work done by the couple and their friends. A small bedroom is tucked in the back of the upstairs aerie.

Architect Albert Lanier transformed Kay Sekimachi and Bob Stockdale's Berkeley Victorian into a bright, open-plan residence that holds a treasure trove of work done by the couple and their friends. A small bedroom is tucked in the back of the upstairs aerie.

Bay Area photographer Leslie Williamson brings us into the artist’s incomparable home in the new book Interior Portraits: At Home With Cultural Pioneers and Creative Mavericks (Rizzoli), which profiles 13 creatives in California through the lens of their most intimate spaces. Keep scrolling to get a glimpse of Sekimachi’s storied home, and find out more about the book below.

The main living area features pieces by George Nakashima and Sam Maloof. Japanese tansu cabinets frame the space, each adorned with artwork and souvenirs from nature.

The main living area features pieces by George Nakashima and Sam Maloof. Japanese tansu cabinets frame the space, each adorned with artwork and souvenirs from nature.

The dining table and chairs were a wedding present from Maloof to Stockdale, his best friend. Stockdale's finished bowls are arranged on the bookshelf. 

The dining table and chairs were a wedding present from Maloof to Stockdale, his best friend. Stockdale's finished bowls are arranged on the bookshelf. 

The mezzanine, which used to be Sekimachi's main work studio but now serves as an archive, holds a daybed that's ideal for napping.

The mezzanine, which used to be Sekimachi's main work studio but now serves as an archive, holds a daybed that's ideal for napping.

When photographer Leslie Williamson visited the home, the artist's monofilament pieces and a series of "twine line" sculptures were fastened to the wall. Massively inspired by nature, Sekimachi keeps trinkets her beachcombing trips in Hawaii in additional tansu cabinets.

When photographer Leslie Williamson visited the home, the artist's monofilament pieces and a series of "twine line" sculptures were fastened to the wall. Massively inspired by nature, Sekimachi keeps trinkets her beachcombing trips in Hawaii in additional tansu cabinets.

A separate weaving annex holds two looms, one of which was built by Stockdale to Sekimachi's specifications. Sekimachi, a second-generation Japanese American who was interned with her family during World War II, first became interested in textiles in 1949 when she walked by fiber arts students at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. She scrounged up $150 to buy herself her first loom. "I tell you, that was the best one hundred and fifty dollars I ever spent," she says.

A separate weaving annex holds two looms, one of which was built by Stockdale to Sekimachi's specifications. Sekimachi, a second-generation Japanese American who was interned with her family during World War II, first became interested in textiles in 1949 when she walked by fiber arts students at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. She scrounged up $150 to buy herself her first loom. "I tell you, that was the best one hundred and fifty dollars I ever spent," she says.

Interior Portraits: At Home With Cultural Pioneers and Creative Mavericks
Interior Portraits: At Home With Cultural Pioneers and Creative Mavericks
Acclaimed photographer, author, and Bay Area native Leslie Williamson returns to her roots with a tribute to the most fertile soil for creativity: California.  Following her ultra-successful Handcrafted Modern and Modern Originals, Leslie Williamson is back with an original and compelling take...