bay area

HGTV + Showcase House = Good Times

jonathan rachman entry HGTV Party at 2014 San Francisco Decorator Showcase House

We've been having so much fun at all of the industry events this year and recently attended the HGTV party at the 2014 San Francisco Decorator Showcase. The annual Decorator Showcase benefits San Francisco University High School's Financial Aid program. The Pacific Heights mansion showcased work from the Bay Area's top interior and landscaping design firms.

This year we noticed the overall trend was the use of gold starting at the entry/foyer, designed by Jonathan Rachman. Loved, loved, loved the cowhide rug with the gold splatter in true Jackson Pollack style. We moved on to the dining room where I had to take a closer at the matte gold flatware (so cool), yep, my curiosity caught the attention of everyone in the room including the designer, George Brazil of Sagrera-Brazil Design because, of course, the flatware was attached to the table!

Moving on, I have to give a shout out to HGTV and Hannah Shipley. You are the hosts with the most! As you all know, we DM+Aers are indulgent when it comes to food + drink. Our glasses were never empty and the blue cheese cheesecake bites were so heavenly. I must have the recipe, so if anyone has it, please post! Onward to the next event.

5 YRS in the Making

Rachel1_resizedBlocks_1_edited5 years ago, I quit my architecture job with no prospects in place.  I knew I needed out.  The job felt more like AutoCAD boot camp than a place where I could grow as a promising architect.  I flew home for a few weeks to be with family and returned ready to take the open architectural positions by storm.  I have always been a go getter and this time I knew I wouldn’t settle for a place which pushed you so hard beyond your capacity, you forget why you even got into this profession.  I knew I wanted to be somewhere that I could learn and enjoy working.  During my search I came across an ad on Craigslist that, I have to say seemed bogus at first, because it was a hiring agency, which I wasn’t used to.  Through my discussions with the agency they explained the open position and the firm De Meza + Architecture.  I interviewed and liked the people I met, plus the firm was expanding and had just moved into a new office and were excited about the possibilities.  This mimicked my own life, as I had just moved to a different neighborhood and wanted my life in the Bay Area to become what I envisioned it could be.  I accepted the position as architectural designer/drafter and was invited to their open house party for their new office.  That was definitely a change to my last job.  A friend and I went and we enjoyed margaritas and tacos on the roof of the office space.  How cool was that! Needless to say, I started work and learned the ropes.  Over the 5 years I have seen co-workers come and go.  I saw changes in clientele and in the office setting. Over that time I grew into a role of managing projects.  I always try to find ways to be more efficient or strategic.  No matter the scale of the project, I always wanted it to be perfect.  One thing I have learned over these years is that being perfect is impossible, and that I will be more focused on doing the best job I can and ask that of anyone I am in charge of.  This has allowed me to become a more rounded designer and manager.  If I was at another firm, I don’t think I could have gained as much experience as I have at DM+A.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is the unique office culture DM+A has to offer.  Where else would the boss take us out for ice cream because a power outage?  Or where we would do pot lucks for lunches or happy hour at the office. Or get to see slideshows of trips anyone went on.  For my 5 year anniversary, Gregg treated us to dinner, drinks and yes, of course dessert at Bix in San Francisco - a must try. There is never a dull moment at DM+A and they have become my family away from home.   This job has introduced me to some of my favorite people to be around.

So what’s in store for the next 5 years?  I will obtain my architectural license, there will probably be some changes of clientele, new projects, experiences…and of course more of the unconventional office culture I have come to cherish while at DM+A.


The Color Purple

Our friend and marketing consultant, Jack Ryder, invited me to join him at the Purple Silk Music Education Foundation’s Gala on October 20th.  I’ve learned quickly that if Jack invites you somewhere, that you should go, even if you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.  So a short two hours after a 4.0 earthquake, we boarded the BART and headed over to the Legendary Palace in Oakland’s Chinatown to begin my introduction to the Purple Silk organization.  Founded in 1995 by Sherlyn Chew, a musician and elementary school teacher, PSMEF is a unique program that serves over 700 inner city students a year in Oakland and the Bay Area by providing music education using traditional Chinese instruments. 

At the Gala, we were treated to music from the foundation’s student Orchestra, a delicious 9-course meal and the company of many great people there to support a fantastic organization.  If you’re interested in learning more about Purple Silk Music or would like to offer your support, please visit their website

Green is the new Black, NOT!

Designer Nightmare #127: You’ve convinced your extremely open minded client to use a pre-dyed wood veneer on all the cabinets, doors and full height wall paneling in his project. This wood veneer when properly finished is stunning. You’ve wanted to use it the minute you flipped through the catalog. Everything is going along just swell. We have one of San Francisco’s finest General Contractors on the job: Dan Matarozzi, Managing Partner of Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders along with Doug Nomiyama Project Manager. With them at the helm, what could go wrong? 

One day while at a site meeting, Rich Anderson the very talented, patient and competent Construction Supervisor, catches you staring at the full height, floor to ceiling custom veneer clad cabinets that’s turned weirdly GREEN. Your heart sinks; is someone here just pulling your leg? NO, this is for real.

But every design problem has a solution. And you know just who to call: the awesome guys at Design Workshops! These guys are amazing, not only do they make the best custom casework in the Bay Area, but they have guys on staff like Randy Robinson (who knows more about wood than anyone I know) and Joseph O. Njoku-Obi who is the most incredible finisher you’ll ever work with and of course Rich Fanti who’s a Project Manager’s Project Manager. I’ve seen these guys do things with discolored wood that should get an award.

In less than two days they came up with a sample that was so close to the original control sample that we didn’t have to tint the entire project. Now they haven’t completed the project as of this writing but just knowing they’ve figure out the special tint formula to counter the green stain will allow me to sleep like a baby tonight.