WHEN MID-WESTERNER DAN KOEHLER retired a few years ago and went on a 35-day Mediterranean cruise, he met his future wife, Brooke, the first night out and they have literally danced into an exciting shared love of travel. Since their marriage, it has been one around-the-world adventure after another, to places such as Antarctica, the Galapagos, South Africa, Australia, India and Mongolia and most recently, to Iceland.
“I LOVE to be surprised by a place,” says Brooke.
Their passion for travel sights and animals they encounter was a major stimulus when interior designer Anjum Razvi was brought in to remodel and furnish a Harbor Club condominium, purchased in 2007.
Razvi had worked over the years on Brooke’s homes but this was a special project in the 20-year-old building, to incorporate the memories, artifacts and photographs that the Koehlers had gathered together.
While their main home is in Rancho Bernardo, the Harbor Club is more than a weekend destination. Their love of theater, the San Diego Pops concerts on the Embarcadero, the multitude of dining options downtown and proximity to the airport for their trips make it a favorite spot.
“We chose the Harbor Club because of its proximity to the Gaslamp Quarter, the small number of units on each floor, friendliness of the door people and the spectacular views of the city and bay,” says Brooke.
“I trust Anjum implicitly, She knows my taste and interests very, very well,” adds Brooke. “Dan loves different woods, so Anjum chose different exotic veneers for finishes out of consideration for him.”
Favorite decorative pieces are the silver and pewter puzzles under the glass of the coffee table, from Australia; a glass turtle from Murano, Italy; the glass octopus from Hawaii.
“The strange animal sculptures made from eating utensils are from France but we saw them originally in a London restaurant,” says Brooke. “I took all the photographs on our trip to Africa except the elephant in the entry, which was taken by my son, Doug Mahlstedt.”
Anjum’s creativity with these photographs, which she has blown up and mounted on a variety of surfaces, enriches this interior. The elephant is imbedded in a beaded Maya Romanoff wall covering. Some photographs are mounted on aluminum or resin.
More subtle integration of the travel theme is Anjum’s choice of stained-glass tile and a fossil sink in the guest bath, the safari-style chairs in the den/guest room and fabrics that reference animal-skin patterns.
The odd-shaped rooms were a challenge but by removing two non-structural walls, the views were enhanced and a new fireplace and large-screen TV were set into the living area. Technologically savvy controls for lighting, window shades, a LED bar top of changing colors and a disappearing Zoom Room bed in the den for guests makes this a stunning habitat surrounded with memories for entertaining and nights on the town.
“I can’t sing Anjum’s praises enough,” says Brooke. “It’s her creation and we’re very grateful. We had a wonderful time doing this together.”