About MichelleChiang.design

Southern California Designer for Residential and Light Commercial Projects

San Jose / San Francisco Victorian Themed Tour – Day 2

Our day began with a nice champagne cruise in the San Francisco Bay. I enjoyed the view of the City. We sailed to the Golden Gate Bridge. And we went around Arcatraz.

Brune-Reutlinger Mansion:
We were privileged to be guided by owner Richard Reutlinger touring though this well-restored Victorian mansion. The house was built in 1886 by Architect Heinrich Geilfuss for Henry Brune. After touring Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers the day before, it was a joy to see how those beautiful wallpapers were utilized. The highlight of the tour was seeing the collection of automated music machines in the street-level basement.
Here are two links that show a little bit of this amazing house:




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Farallon Restaurant:
The restaurant has an under-the-sea fantasy theme. The restaurant is located at the upper portion of the original swimming pool of the Elks Lodge No. 3.  (The History of Elks Lodge No. 3 in San Francisco: http://www.sfelks.org/general-information/lodge-history/.) The inspiration of the interior design and the cuisine was the original swimming pool ceiling from 1925.
Here is a photo of the original swimming pool that shows the amazing ceiling:
Swimming Pool of Elks Lodge No. 3


San Jose / San Francisco Victorian Themed Tour – Day 1

After meeting everyone in the group at dinner the night before and a good night sleep, we officially started our excited tour.
I can only describe 38 years (1884 – 1922) of non-stopping construction as ‘crazy’! A humble farm house turned into a mansion of approximately 24,000 square feet of living space. As a trained draftsperson, being in the house was a little uncomfortable. There was no logic to the design. However, I enjoyed learning about history and witness the craftsmanship of a century ago. Back then, this house was ahead of its time with plumbing and electricity. The number 13 and the spider web motif were used throughout.



Most of the people don’t know this charming little town was the State Capital of California for a short time. We spent some time at the capital building and learned a little bit about the history.





Led by Paul Duchscherer, we were shown part of the printing process. This changed what I thought about wallpaper.




Opened in 1915 and revamped by Phillippe Starck. The legendary Art Deco style Redwood Room is paneled with wood from a single redwood tree. Check out this blog article for some vintage images of the Redwood Room.

San Jose / San Francisco Victorian Themed Tour with Eleanor Schrader

This 4th of July weekend, I joined the San Jose / San Francisco Victorian Themed Architecture Tour organized and led by award-winning historian Eleanor Schrader. I became a fan of Eleanor’s since the first time I met her. (Read about my first tour with Eleanor HERE.) I was so happy that I could fit the San Jose / San Francisco in my schedule.
Over 4 nights and 4 days, we visited many landmarks and indulged in art, culture and history. San Francisco and the surrounding areas have so much to be explored. Upon returning home, I just had to do my own research on places we visited. I am working on separate articles to share my experience and photos.
Unexpectedly, the best part of the trip was the people. We all join the trip because of our interest in design and history.  I couldn’t have asked for a better group to travel with. Everyone was so inspiring and full of life. Over the four days together, we became good friends.

Hollyhock House at Barnsdall Art Park

On February 14, 2015, I visited Hollyhock House by Frank Lloyd Wright at Barnsdall Art Park as part of its celebration of reopening after years of restoration work. For one night only, the admission was waived and photographs were allowed.




Just got in line.

It was 9 a.m. when I got there. It was a beautiful clear day! After waiting for a little over an hour, I made it to the entry.


Getting closer.


Almost there!



Built between 1919 and 1921, Hollyhock House was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first project in Los Angeles commissioned by Aline Barnsdall.

The Dining Room was on the left immediately after the Entry. And the Kitchen is beyond the Dining Room.


Hollyhock House

Dining Room

On the other side of the Entry is the Music Room.IMG_8564



The hallway has low ceiling and opens to the Courtyard. IMG_8585IMG_8587


The focal point of the Living Room is of course the fireplace. The custom carpet was interesting.





I love books!

Hollyhock House



The Courtyard and the areas adjacent to it are my personal favorite.

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IMG_8562A few photos from the outside of the house.





Visitors were only allowed in the common areas of the first floor. That was a little disappointing. The parts we were allowed to be in all have low ceilings. Not so comfortable. Maybe that’s the way to keep the line moving.

I am not crazy about the house. It is not my style, and I can feel it tries to control me. (No doubt Frank Lloyd Wright was a control freak.) I do appreciate the attention to details, and brilliant design ideas. It was still very inspiring to see how everything was well thought out.

If you are interested in visiting Hollyhock House yourself, please click HERE.

Click HERE for a photo tour of the entire house.

Hiring Your First Designer


Great advice!

Originally posted on Alicia Friedmann Interior Design:

If you’ve never hired an interior designer, you probably have a few questions about how the entire process works. What do I need? Should I have an idea of everything that I want? Is my designer going to walk into my house and laugh at me?

Well, before you overwhelm yourself with questions, we’d like to help you out! We’ve compiled a list of the most important things to know going into an initial consultation with your interior designer. If you follow these tips, you’ll be ready for your designer to guide you through the steps of having the house of your dreams!

  • Know what you plan on using your space for: In every home, function is just important as form. You want to redo your living room but do you want to keep it a living room? Do you want to convert part of it into an office? Or…

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