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ASID San Diego introduces tour of interior design, culture, lifestyle

Self-guided tour includes tastings, musical performances, fashion, fine art

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The San Diego Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers is launching its first-ever tour that encompasses design, culture and lifestyle.

"Interior Experience," set for July 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will give attendees a rare opportunity to see the full blossoming of design, art, fashion and cuisine in venues that reflect the personality of their occupants. The tour showcases five distinctly different residences in San Diego and a classic movie theatre-turned house of worship. Members of the design team will be at each location to discuss design challenges and solutions and answer questions.

Highlights of the tour include a new high-rise condo that mimics the allure of a pre-World War II Park Avenue penthouse; the largest private collection of art by Taiwanese ceramicist Kuo bor-jou; a colorful art- and glass-filled house with a stunning interior fire pit, a sustainable designer-owned bungalow filled with recycled wonders; plus exquisite millwork and design-forward furniture. Each site will feature a cultural experience that enhances the interior design.

The Interior Experience tour showcases the work of six of the top interior designers in San Diego County: Lena Brion, ASID, Brion Design of Solana Beach; Robin Wilson Carrier, ASID, Robin Wilson Interior Design, San Diego; John Mills Davies, ASID, Marrokal Design and Construction, San Diego; Marlene Holmquist, ASID, Studio One Interior Design Inc., Ramona; Kellie McCormick, ASID, and Robert Wright, FASID, both of Bast/Wright Interiors, San Diego.

Cornerstone Church of San Diego, a classic movie theater turned house of worship, was designed by Lena Brion, of Brion Design Inc. The church includes a 50,000-square-foot sanctuary and performing arts center. The design includes a two-story high wall of water that encircles a floor-mounted compass.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity to visit and absorb the ambiance of unique spaces that reflect the lifestyles of some very special people," said Lynn Wyndham Morris, allied member ASID, chair of the event. "Property owners include a notable restaurateur, prominent architect, savvy art collectors and two talented interior designers."

McCormick’s project is an elegant and highly detailed condominium in the Park Laurel high-rise overlooking Balboa Park. She fulfilled the owners’ dream of a pre-WWII New York penthouse with refined architectural detailing, transitional furnishings, a soft color palette and ample space for an extensive art collection. The designer, who also provided space planning for the 5,825-square-foot home, oriented all of the "public" spaces to take advantage of the sweeping views of the park, downtown and the Pacific. An elaborate lighting plan highlights artwork and millwork details, exaggerates ceilings heights and maximizes the nighttime view.

The tour of the home will be enhanced by the owners’ extensive art collection, including ceramics by Kuo bor-jou, and grand piano music.

Carrier’s downtown condominium, which she owns with her architect husband Gordon R. Carrier, FAIA, of San Diego’s Carrier Johnson, has a distinctive urban vibe. Located atop the Omni Hotel, it features floor-to-ceiling glass walls with sweeping views of downtown, the bay and Coronado. Carrier intensified the sophisticated urban mood of the condo with fashion-forward modern furniture from the 150-year-old, family-owned French manufacturer Ligne Roset.

Attendees will have the opportunity to chat with and observe a painting in progress by Elizabeth Washburn, one of the contemporary artists featured in this chic dwelling. Visitors can also step out to the pool deck, overlooking Petco Park, to enjoy the fashions of Laura Gambucci.

This Scripps Ranch home, designed by Marlene Holmquist, features a glass wall and staircase and a centrally located interior fire pit, mosaic walls, custom light fixtures, and a cast glass sink and countertop.

Cornerstone Church of San Diego, designed by Brion Design Inc. with Brion serving as director of design, is the one commercial property on the tour.

This innovative church, which was created from existing movie theaters, includes a 50,000-square-foot sanctuary and performing arts center for its culturally rich neighborhood. Design elements that bring the space to life include bold colors, brilliant lighting, interesting wall shapes and a two-story high wall of water that encircles a floor-mounted compass.

During the tour, there will be live performances by the Cornerstone worship team and performances by smooth jazz keyboardist, composer and singer Burt Brion.

Interior designer Davies designed and owns the North Park bungalow that showcases the latest in sustainability and recycling. The whole house remodel started out as a 1906 "shotgun cottage" on a tiny 50-by-52-foot lot. The designer kept the footprint of the original home but raised and reconfigured the roof to add a loft. Sustainability and energy savings were top priorities, and the home exhibits innovations for passive cooling, thermal heating and hefty insulation. The kitchen features an island of Vetrazzo, a recycled creation made of Amstel Light and Heineken beer bottles, with Sky Vodka and windshield glass added for accent color. Flooring features Golden Gate Quartzite, mined in the Southwest. As a bonus, attendees can learn about drought resistant plants with a local horticulturist.

Designer Holmquist will display a stunning one-of-a-kind Scripps Ranch residence created to showcase the owners’ art collection and love of glass. Design elements include a glass wall and staircase and centrally located interior fire pit, mosaic walls, custom light fixtures, and a cast glass sink and countertop. Full of wit and whimsy, the home features a luminescent color palette that includes ultramarine blue, garnet red, white and silver. Urs le Chef, a popular local Swiss chef, will be presenting fondue creations. Los Angeles glass artist Rafael Gevorkian, who crafted many of the glass creations in the home, will also be on hand.

The final home on the tour is the historic downtown urban oasis that interior designer Wright created for Michael Mack, CEO of Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. Original brick walls, vintage warehouse windows and traditional moldings serve as counterpoint to comfortable modern furnishings. The stylish loft has a hip vibe that complements the owner’s active lifestyle. Attendees will be treated to freshly baked goodies from a Souplantation chef.

Individual tickets are $30 each and discounted group tickets are available. A portion of the proceeds will benefit YWCA’s Becky’s House, a long-term transitional housing community for victims of domestic violence and their children. For information, call the ASID Information Line at 858-646-9896 or visit ASIDSanDiego.org. Tickets will also be available at selected tour sites on the day of the event. Check the website for addresses after July 20.

Metz is principal of Metz Public Relations.

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