Lisa Fontaine, her husband Doug, and step-daughter Olive moved to their home in Berkeley, CA from San Francisco in the summer of 2005 when Lisa was seven months pregnant with her daughter, Bijou. Since then, they have added two rowdy boys, twins Eero and Wilder, and a sweet Scottish Terrier named Bonnie. The home, built in 1955, had an addition put in the 1970s which includes Lisa’s twins’ bedroom, an office and, very appropriately, the studio for Lisa’s clothing company, Ginger Caftan.
The 1970s renovation wasn’t the last work done on this home, was it?
In 2005, we started renovations that lasted a few years because we decided to stay in the home and work in stages. Our renovations included new floors, lighting, painting, landscaping, a gas fireplace, custom cabinetry in the office, a laundry room, and the gutting and remodeling of the kitchen and two bathrooms.
Most of our furniture choices reflect the mid-century aesthetic, consistent with the architecture of our house. The new kitchen and bathrooms bring clean lines and a modern aesthetic without sacrificing functionality and utility. Our objective was to avoid trends and instead emphasize design elements whose style will endure. After living through one remodel, you try to never have to remodel ever again!
You definitely honored the open layout of the home in your design. Where there any concerns about making it family friendly?
The cathedral ceilings and floor to ceiling glass are my favorite parts of our living room. The glass is single paned so I always worried about my kids running right through it. Rather than incur the expense of replacing the glass, we stationed potted plants in front of the large windows to prevent any mishaps.
The skylight keeps the space bright and though the windows look out onto a lush spot of our garden. The open shelves are super functional, making it easy to grab dishes when I am preparing meals for 5 (Olive is now off at college), and gave me the excuse to invest in a beautiful set of Heath Ceramic dishes.
We spy a lot of handmade elements and personal mementos in your home.
When I am not busy parenting or working on Ginger, I love making stuff. My bedroom has many homemade elements including: pillows, a weaving, photographs, hung jewelry, and a collection of homemade natural perfumes. I also enjoy having my crystal collection bedside, which by the way, helps in aiding children to sleep through the night and in their own beds. The power of the crystal! I’m also in love with our mid century dresser I scored at the Alameda flea market for a couple hundred bucks.
Your home is also your office, at least part of the time, correct?
I am a co-owner in Ginger with my good friend Nan. She lives a ½ mile up the hill from me in a sweet vintage wooded cabin. Our website and online shop is run out of my home but we both host meetings, tackle patternmaking, and sample sewing from our own respective home studios. Our seamstress who sews the collection is based in Downtown Oakland. We are very fortunate to have found her as the garment industry in the Bay Area has shrunk to just a few. It is very important to us to keep our production local and with contractors with ethical work practices.
How does the style of your home complement your aesthetic for Ginger Caftan?
Ginger Caftans bring a sophistication to the California bohemian vibes of the 1970’s. With vintage references, our caftans are designed for the modern woman who wants to be comfortable and stylish and have an outfit that is easy to throw on and adapt to her different roles throughout the day. My home complements the aesthetics of my brand perfectly: comfort, style, West Coast ease with many vintage references.