ABOVE: Working as a loose guild, a woodworker, carver, ornamental plasterer, painter, and textile artist created the decoration in this room. Photography by Nathanael Bennett.
Various crafts came together to finish the beautiful walls and ceiling of this new dining room, a contemporary vision with a nod to the work of Greene and Greene.
Known for her revival furniture, Debey Zito also offers design services to her clients, helping them create personal interiors that are harmonious and sympathetic to the architecture. This dining room was a recent project. The challenge was to create an artful interior space, floor to ceiling, in the manner of iconic Arts & Crafts houses.
Zito and her partner, Terry Schmitt, created the mahogany woodwork. A high wainscot with tapered battens incorporates a carved panel surmounted by an open frieze; graceful arches frame passages to other rooms. Schmitt carved the poppy-flower frieze, which was molded and cast in plaster by Lorna Kollmeyer. Eucalyptus leaves done in gesso, gold-leafed by Lynne Rutter, mark the corners of the plaster frieze. Rutter also polychromed the poppy frieze.
The ceiling, by wallcoverings designer David Bonk, features gilded dragonflies randomly stenciled on silk. It was hung by Heidi Wright [Oakland: (510) 541-9546].
When the two men who own the 1935 Storybook-style hose saw similar paneling in Zito’s booth at a show, they vowed they’d find a way to use it. In their dining room, the lustrous wood led to gilded leaves as jewel points in the top frieze. Gold on silk and shimmering polychrome naturally followed. “I might have chosen just one motif,” Debey says, “but the clients got excited about poppies, eucalyptus, and dragonflies! Since they share texture and a golden shimmer, it works.”
The owners’ collections of pottery and art, along with beautiful new lighting fixtures and lamps, finish the room.
- Debey Zito and Terry Schmitt Fine Furniture & Design, Sebastopol, CA: (707) 861-9126, artisticlicense.org/members/zito
- David Bonk Handpainted Wallcoverings, San Francisco, CA: surfacesbydavidbonk.com
- Lorna Kollmeyer Ornamental Plaster, Berkeley, CA: lornakollmeyer.com
- Lynne Rutter Murals & Decorative Painting, San Francisco, CA: lynnerutter.com
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