Christopher Peacock and Pamela Jaccarino host an interior design panel with Bay Area’s top designers.

This week, design enthusiasts were treated to an exclusive interior design panel hosted by master craftsman Christopher Peacock and Luxe Interiors and Design Magazine’s Editor in Chief Pamela Jaccarino.

Christopher shared his vision for The Penthouse Collection at Four Seasons Private Residences at 706 Mission, describing his process, design philosophy, and the enduring legacy of a truly bespoke design experience.

Then, our panel of Bay Area’s top interior designers discussed how they approach vertical living spaces. They revealed requests they’ve received from clients in response to the shelter-in-place order and predicted how it could change the industry.

Below is an abbreviated transcript. To listen to the full conversation, please enjoy the recording of our exclusive live chat.

Pamela Jaccarino:
Let’s begin with you, Chris. What was your vision for The Penthouse Collection and how did you set the tone for bespoke kitchens, bathrooms and dressing rooms?

Christopher Peacock: When I get involved in a project like this, the architecture has already been figured out and the key visuals are in place. So I actually start by walking around the neighborhood, not only to understand the architecture of the Aronson, but also the architecture that surrounds it. I visualize what it would be like to walk into this building, go upstairs and be in one of those spaces.

Glenn Rescalvo of Handel Architects, who is the lead architect on this, helped me find inspiration by showing me initial images of the interior spaces. I try to pick up on those finer details and allow that to inform my work. So by the time I am ready to put pen to paper, I feel like I have had this journey of living there before I start to try to design for the people who are going to live there.

Vertical living is very interesting, especially in a place like Four Seasons Private Residences at 706 Mission. How do you approach vertical living design differently than free-standing estate design?

Jay Jeffers: Vertical living means you have views for days, so we think about that when we are arranging furniture. We don’t want to block the view because when you walk into these spaces, you’re immediately drawn to the windows.

For many people, this is a second home, so we also focus less on dining spaces and more on open entertainment areas. I think about how we can enhance conversation areas for cocktail parties and family gatherings.    

Jonathan Rachman: For me, it always starts with the owner.You have to know them and understand how they want to use the space. When I interview them, I ask them what the function of this house is. Is it a second home, a permanent home, a weekend getaway, or perhaps even a guest house? I try to find a balance between functionality and their personal tastes.

A lot of people actually want to pare down when they move into a setting like the Four Seasons. They want to simplify, so then storage is not an issue. But then there are also people who want to bring everything with them, and they need built-ins and a vertical office that can be concealed as a cabinet when it’s not in use.

Maria Haidamus: I have to agree with Jay. The first thing you see when you walk in, especially in the Four Seasons, is the view. You have to capitalize on that. Glenn says that the skyline view is its own piece of art that changes by the hour, and it’s so true. I feel like when you design a space like this, it’s important that the interiors don’t fight with the view. I opt for more open, airy, spacious interiors because I want to emphasize the amazing view. 

Jacques Saint Dizier: One of the challenges that comes with high-rises is lighting. You want to have a lighting system that you can bring up enough to entertain while still being able to enjoy the view and natural light. 

You also can’t make a lot of structural changes. The blueprint is set, and you have to find ways to work within the parameters of the building, I like to unify the rooms with wall paneling or a floor that runs throughout.

Chris, I was wondering about buildouts and the degree to which you can customize here. Can you talk a little about that?

CP: This is a different experience for me because I was involved early on to look at floor plans and the space planning before anything was set in stone. That’s really unique. I work with a lot of developers and luxury buildings, but never have I been invited to the party this early where I can affect change in terms of the orientation of the space and linear footage of wall space so you can get the best possible layout and functionality. Everybody benefits from that. It looks better, it functions better, the sizing is right. It becomes a very natural looking space.  

Buyers can customize everything in their home. For The Penthouse Collection, I took clues from the building and architecture and created a color palette, if you will. So if somebody wants to work with that and tailor it that way, they can.

For the thirteen penthouses, we are inviting each buyer to come work with us one-on-one to develop their own individual space. And that’s not just kitchens. We’re doing the bathrooms, her dressing room, and his dressing room. In the dressing rooms, we’re talking to homeowners about their bags, shoes, and sunglasses to figure out their storage requirements, down to literally the inch. So there is total customization within The Penthouse Collection.   

You said that these penthouses are the caliber you see in the countryside. Can you explain what you mean by that?

CP: It has to do with the scale. There’s great ceiling heights, a lot of light obviously, and all of the rooms are a good size. The hallways are wide. You don’t feel like you are walking through a labyrinth, like how some of these spaces tend to feel because they try to steal every inch. The grand scale of this project does make it feel like a country home. It doesn’t feel any different from working on a house in Greenwich, Connecticut for example.

With the shelter-in-place order, we have all experienced our homes in new and personal ways. How do you think this will affect how you design homes in the future? Are some clients already making new COVID-19 related requests?

JR: The new focus is home office. One of my clients has a dedicated home office, but with the intensity of how much he is working from home, he wants to have more access to the rest of the house. So even though he already has a room for it, he asked for an office space that seamlessly blends between the formal living and formal dining rooms. He wants more flexibility to work in the common areas. I think that will be a new trend.

I did get an interesting request though! One of my clients wants to turn the console in his entryway into a disinfectant station for guests with hand sanitizer and other things like that. So the foyer is evolving.

MH: I think my clients have become more aware of their surroundings. They are willing to invest more time and energy into updating their homes, especially the home office. It’s on public display now with Zoom calls and virtual meetings. Clients have asked to upgrade their offices and they also want to make their dining rooms more usable and comfortable. 

And of course, clients are updating their kitchens. I’ve had requests for commercial ovens so they can crank up the heat. They want commercial refrigerators so they don’t have to shop as often and double dishwashers as they are cooking more.

JSD: One of my clients has their adult children back home and they want to create more separation. We shifted our focus to create areas that entertain the children and also keep them isolated from the other rooms in the house. It’s an interesting dynamic that people didn’t see coming. If your child comes back home and is working virtually, it creates the need for another workspace. It’s really demanding on the spaces that are available.

JJ: I’m putting a drop-down screen in one of my client’s dining rooms for video conferencing. We’re also hiding a whiteboard in the paneling. The reason we’re doing this is because they have kids in the other room and somebody else is in the home office.

I’m excited to work on home offices because people moved away from those for awhile and they wanted home libraries instead. Of course, libraries don’t have storage for files, so it’s all coming back.

CP: People are interested in the equipment and the surfaces in their kitchens now. They need to be easy to use, easy to clean, practical and last for a long time. So there’s a whole lot of that going on.

But the home office thing is really interesting. People want workspaces that aren’t in the office. For example, we’re designing a dressing room right now and the woman wants a desk in there. When the kids are in one room and the husband is in another, she wants a quiet space where she can escape, set up her computer, and chat with friends or whatever else she is doing. Suddenly these office spaces are migrating into unusual spaces.