A Flourish of Feathers
By: Phyllis Van Doren Photography by Martin Mann
The Carriers celebrate Christmas in style in a historic bungalow gone modern…
Nestled in a wooded lane, on the way to the Cabrillo Monument, is an unusual, century-old home. During the holidays, the exterior is a wonderland of lights.
This year, a whimsical life-size elf stands guard as guests approach the front door for a festive party. Once inside, they are greeted by a flurry of feathers, alive with texture. There are feathers everywhere, even in the most unexpected places — including the homeowner’s high-style skirt.
One shouldn’t be surprised, as the hosts are interior designer Robin Wilson Carrier and her husband, architect Gordon Carrier — a duo who mix old and new, the frivolous, the modern and the traditional with panache.
When the remodeled 100-year-old building in which they live was moved from the old Point Loma Theosophical Society location to this area in the 1930s it became an octagonal bungalow with a maze of added rooms radiating from the center. Gordon bought the property in 1992 and in 2005, after he and Robin married, they remodeled.
It soon became a contemporary home of luscious warm woods with quirky features like a corrugated-metal ceiling treatment in the octagon living room, punctuated by African spirit poles from Santa Fe as part of the art. Not long after its transformation, the home won the first-ever Grand Prize (in 2008) from the American Society of Interior Designers, San Diego Chapter.
The woodsy update to contemporary includes new Honduran mahogany trim and doors and African mahogany floors. The use of metal in the living room continues on to the exterior gate and garage door. Just outside the back door is a potting shed with a corrugated-metal roof that’s so chic it looks like a Bergdorf Goodman window decorated for Christmas.
Stainless steel emerges in the bath-rooms and kitchen and on the hard trowel fireplace surrounds. The result is a certain amount of sparkle — even without the holiday decorating.
Warmth blazes in the leather-floored den and octagon living room from fire-places. This is a cozy, loved and lived-in home with owners that clearly relish an opportunity to entertain. The enthusiasm hits a high note when holidays arrive.
“I change themes every five years or so,” says Robin. “The feathers started when a couple of years ago I found a wonderful white feather skirt in Paris. I started with feather boas on the tree, then it grew to tabletop trees and wreaths.”
Robin adds items every year and admits that she requires an extra room to store all her Christmas décor. Gordon is in charge of lights, inside and out, and “gets very creative with color and placement out-side,” Robin says.
Santa, his elves and a red, white and green color theme were the traditional side of this year’s décor. The feathers were a flourish of the moment and a fashionable success.