Monthly Archives: August 2013

Lunch and Learn at San Francisco’s Design Center


John Toya of Ike Kligerman Barkley Architects

Last week I took a trip to San Francisco to do some shopping for my latest project in the Design Center and decided to make the most of the day by attending a Lunch and Learn. The event was part of San Francisco Design Center’s Designers’ Wednesday series and was sponsored by ASID and the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, both of which I am a member. The wonderful speaker of the day was John Toya of Ike Kligerman Barkley Architects and his topic was Houses: An Art of Collaboration.


San Francisco Apartment from

John Toya began the lecture with a poetic synopsis of how his firm tackles design projects. Mr. Toya described how architects must act as conductors to make their projects sing. I find this also applies to my job as an interior designer. Constant communication with your client, vendors, contractors, installers, and architect are essential.  The first project John Toya talked about was one of the first his firm completed in San Francisco. Mr. Toya actually started the Ike Kligerman Barkley Architect firm in San Francisco because of his great love for the city. The project designed by the firm was an apartment in San Francisco. The clients requested a design that would showcase the antiques of various styles that they had collected over the years. Each room was to have a style and to be adorned with pieces that matched that styling. The apartment features actual antique remnants from Paris that are incorporated into the architectural detailing.  The artisans who installed and finished the rooms were also brought over from Paris. The result is room after room of gorgeous details all personalized per the customers request.

Compound in the Dunes from

Compound in the Dunes from

John Toya described many projects and the design process utilized in each. I found his project done on Martha’s Vineyard particularly interesting because of the challenges they faced with the home owners having opposite styles and approaches to design. The wife wanted a bare bones modern design that incorporated sustainable design while the husband wanted a traditional Cape Cod style home. John Toya and his team at Ike Klingerman Barkley Architects designed a space that was an amazing compromise of two very different styles. The interior seamlessly blends the plank materials of the traditional Cape Cod style in a modern rectilinear form as seen in the dramatic entry space.

John Toya concluded by saying how grateful he is to work in a firm that is not confined by style and ego, but instead empowered by classical architectural concepts and propelled by accommodations for their clients. Ike Kligerman Barkley Architects’ attention to detail and focus on personalization for their clients has resulted in an inspiring assortment of beautiful architecture. To see more of their work visit:


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The Historically Glamorous Millenium Biltmore Hotel


As a newcomer to Los Angeles’ Dwell on Design show in June, I was quick to learn that downtown LA does have some charm after all. The official lodging for our group of ASID professionals was the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, which I found extremely fascinating and romantic. In 1921 city boosters sought to design this new hotel as a symbol of Los Angeles’ success and ambition. This glamorous hotel became a synonym for the stardom and romance of the Oscars.


Fountains and flowers, full sized murals and elegant chandeliers of the period enhanced the glamorous lobby. It was educational and inspiring to step out of my day-to-day world of residential interior design and to be time warped back to the heyday of southern California movie making and studio stars.  The Millenium Biltmore hotel opened in 1923 as record breaking design not only for the amount of rooms, or how quickly it was completed, but also for it’s striking use of Beaux Arts Architecture. The hotel was completed in just eighteen months and had close to 1,000 guestrooms.


The use of formal Beaux Arts design is contrasted by the layering of design influence from Spanish and Moorish to Italian and Pompeian. The elaborately carved and painted ceiling of the main lobby incorporates Moorish design. This beautiful ceiling is accented by gorgeous Italian chandeliers with hand painted and tassel details.


The subdued lighting of the bar lounge gives drama to an amazing space. Large lantern lights illuminate a groin vaulted ceiling. The rounded arch wall at the back of the space features an amazing hand painted Art Deco mural. Sitting in this space surrounded by rich and luscious materials I felt like a Hollywood star of the 1920’s.

IMG_2420The bar is a continuation of beauty in design with the wood carved coffer ceiling and twisted columns. Upon closer look I saw that these columns are ornately detailed with heraldic imagery and ancient motifs.



This dramatic carving of a female angel beautifully represents how designers of the 1920’s incorporated historic influences to give their designs formality and glamour. At some points in my self guided tour of the hotel I felt as if I was transported into an Italian plaza or a Spanish palace.


These interesting iron work portraits which are incorporated into the railing of the balcony overlooking the main lobby piqued my interest. The wonderful staff had no details as to who these people in iron are, but the way they overlook guests as they enter the hotel definitely gives them a place of importance.


As I explored my way through the passages of the hotel I stumbled upon a smaller lobby space that was adorned with a hand painted Pompeian ceiling. My love for Pompeian design made this one of my favorite spaces of the hotel. I felt so lucky that my ASID group was able to come to Dwell on Design and I was able to experience such a wonderfully diverse hotel. I found myself leaving Los Angeles with a greater understanding and love of Beaux Arts architecture and design.

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August 6, 2013 · 12:06 am