134 North St, Healdsburg CA 95448 | 707.541.6484
My mother was a painter and my father a university mathematics professor. Their friends were artists, poets and academics. That was the world I grew up in. In 1969 I went to St. Martinʼs School of Art in London. I was elected to the student union board. I attended pottery classes part-time at Southampton Art School for two years. I took a government training in carpentry and joinery and went on to work on historical restoration projects including work on a 16th century farmhouse in the tiny West Sussex village of Amberley. My commute was a five minute walk past stone walls, roses and thatched cottages.
Marie and I were married in California in December of 1980. Soon after, I joined the carpentry crew at the Muir Beach Zen Center, practicing Japanese joinery under the tutelage of master Japanese builder, Paul Disco. After that I worked as a carpenter on many custom homes and remodels in the Bay area. In 1989 I joined an interior design and furniture studio. It was a great learning experience in design and production and I was able to work on homes in Malibu and Beverly Hills. In 1997 I created an interior design studio with Marie and somehow through all this I have managed to find time when I can return to painting canvases.
Art and design have been lifelong interests for me. Encouraged by my teachers and a minor award in an art show as a young person, I went on to obtain a BA and Teaching Credential in Fine Art at San Francisco State University, along with a BA and Credential in French and a Masterʼs Degree in English/TESOL. In my Fine Arts studies, I emphasized both painting and textiles. I was very lucky to be able to study textiles with two internationally acclaimed textile artists: Ted Hallsman and Barbara Shawcroft.
In the late 1970s, I joined an interior design firm in Marin County. I continued to do my own painting and weaving as time permitted, and my paintings and textiles are in private collections in the Bay Area and Sonoma County.
ARC Design became the ideal vehicle to bring all my skill sets together. With so much painting and weaving in my background, I am understandably crazy about color and texture. I love creating color palettes for homes and choosing fabrics for custom bedding, as well as draperies and other window coverings, and soft furnishings. My drawing ability makes it easy to design custom furnishings in various materials. Increasingly, I have had the opportunity to do garden design for clients. My ability to speak French and Italian has facilitated shopping trips to Europe to purchase antiques for clients.
In 1997, we started our own interior design studio. Building on both of our past experiences in the field, along with our skills as artists we wanted to to combine them to create a nimble and adaptive boutique design company able to take on projects large and small. Over the years we have built a core group of experts, designers and CAD personnel that we can bring into our team.
We specialize in unique homes as well as destination environments such as retreat centers and boutique commercial projects such as wineries and restaurants. We have had the opportunity to focus on the custom design of furniture and accessories with manufacturing stateside and overseas. In 2004 we were fortunate to be given the opportunity to design an estate home on 20 acres of vineyards in Healdsburg. This propelled us further into designing wine country estates. While building design and interior design are the main focus of our work we have also developed other services as a compliment to these. Extensive travel in Europe and South Asia has informed and expanded our knowledge and resources.
The work of Marie and Julian has been featured in newspaper and magazine articles including, Trends and California Home and Design.
For many years, while building connections in Europe, we have been interested in the prospect of collaborating with architects and designers based in Europe as a way of increasing our potential and opening new avenues for design. On our last trip to Italy we were reconnected to Michelle Lee Freeborn and Paulo Caggiano who live in Pistoia, just outside of Florence. Their skill sets are a great compliment to ours, so it seemed like a perfect fit to team up and pool our resources.
For the past twenty-four years Michelle has lived, studied, and designed in Tuscany. Michelle has a wide range of experience from designing product lines for a leading Italian housewares company and designing customized yacht linens, to interior design. Traveling extensively and working side by side with artisans and craftsmen, Michelle has built professional relationships throughout the world and has access to unique furnishings and architectural elements at international estate sales and salvage yards. In 1996 Michelle married Paulo, a Tuscan architect, who specializes in architectural restoration of historical buildings, building design and all phases of project and construction management. Together they have worked on many projects. Paulo is networked with numerous product lines not represented in the USA.
We were really fortunate to find Small Green Door to build our website. They are insightful, creative and professional and really understood our requirements. We could not have asked for more.
We would like to acknowledge people who have been central to the success of ARC Design:
Craig Rublee and Jeannine Henebry, close friends who gave us our first opportunity of a whole house interior design project.
Jerry and Linda Hanrahan, whose generosity and constant support has been a mainstay in our journey.
Warren Hedgpeth, architect and painter, inspirational and insightful, who gave us the freedom to collaborate with him on some very special projects.
Tony Crabb and Barbara Grasseschi, who asked us to design their wine country home as well as the interior and landscape design, forever changing the focus and direction of ARC Design.
Irvin Klein, English trained architect, whose creativity, drafting skills and willingness to jump in the deep end helped propel ARC Design in numerous ways.
Doug and Juli Muhleman, who engaged us to be part of their fabulous wine country estate project.
There are others, maybe a few hundred, too many to list, clients, contractors, craftsmen, artists, suppliers, consultants and professionals without whom nothing could have been conceived of and built. We are grateful for your contributions and happy to call many of you our friends.
We design custom homes, remodels, interiors and furnishings, with a emphasis on local resources.
A sustainable community is best served by acting and trading locally. The cornerstone at ARC Design is to increase growth in the community by using local resources in our design projects. ARC is an acronym for Art, Resource and Craft. In the spirit of the British Arts and Crafts movement in Victorian England, we have developed relationships with local artisans in a networked guild that encourages collaboration in the design and building process. The arts and crafts connect us to our cultural and regional diversity.