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In Mill Valley, California, a six-story, 1980’s clapboard house was a local eyesore until architect Chris Parlette recreated the structure in a practical and contemporary style. Because it was built into a hillside, the homeowners needed to climb two flights of outdoor stairs to reach the front door, and within the house, there were nearly 12 different levels, stranding each area of the home within a dysfunctional and disconnected design. Parlette implemented various, major updates to the architecture over the course of seven years, including stairs with clear glass railings — allowing light to circulate — and large steel windows.

Once Parlette had transformed the space, designer Elena Calabrese applied her interiors expertise to the architectural foundation, choosing objects and fabrics that were family-friendly, with a touch of “rock n’ rock,” in the words of Calabrese. “The clients had a bit of an edgy vibe, which I loved, yet were rather outdoorsy and adventurous too,” she says. Here, we tour the interiors with Calabrese to see how she crafted a design schema to complement Parlette’s architecture.

  • Sky lights usher in plenty of natural light, which filters through the open layout. Parlette positioned outdoor rooms at either end of the space.

    Sky lights usher in plenty of natural light, which filters through the open layout. Parlette positioned outdoor rooms at either end of the space.


    Architecture by Chris Parlette of Holder / Parlette | Photo by David Duncan Livingston

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January 6, 2020

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