The Timeless Naturals
With projects ranging from California to New York, Studio Collins Weir creates modern spaces with timeless appeal. We catch up with its directors, a husband/wife team of Susan Collins and Chris Weir to learn about their studio’s full-service interior design and take you inside a selection of their work, from a private retreat in Sonoma to a sleek, industrial residence in Mill Valley.
By: Kevin Daniel Dwyer
Studio Collins Weir stole the show at this year’s installment of the San Francisco Decorator Showcase. It was our first introduction to the Sausalito-based design duo. The space—a massive, double-height living room flooded with light—was unlike every other room there. Instead of over-the-top opulence, endless embellishments and heavy doses of ego, Studio Collins Weir’s reinterpretation of a Le Petit Trianon inspired salon celebrated the space itself: the beauty of the interior architecture, craftsmanship, the brilliance of natural light and the room’s generous scale. Collins and Weir were approachable, refreshingly understated and they had it, that quality of design that comes off as effortless despite serious talent.
Collins and Weir welcomed me a few months later to their Sausalito studio as we prepared for this feature. Their space is gleaming with natural light, sleek and instantly calming, as I would come to learn is representative of most of their studio’s work.
Collins and Weir founded their interior design studio in 2015 with a clear ethos: modern design should be timeless and reflect every client’s own personality. Studio Collins Weir expertise lies in the marriage of interior design and architecture working together to create fully realized projects, each unique to it as own client. Their homes are a result of listening to and understanding each client combined with a deep respect for the site and its architecture.
“Empathy and listening are key to our process. An open and honest approach is critical to exceeding expectations and keeping every project on track,” says Weir. “Many times we need to listen to what is not being expressed or articulated directly by our clients in order to help them achieve their desired outcome.”
In Mill Valley, Studio Collins Weir worked with client and architect Aidlin Darling Design to build a sense of history and place into a ground-up custom residential project located in the Horse Hill area. To accomplish this, the studio blended custom furnishings with vintage and modern pieces alongside the client’s growing collection of emerging artists.
“We enjoy working with collectors and clients with an interest in art,” notes Collins. Collins herself has a background in art and art history before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area from New York to study furniture design and architecture at CCA. “An art collection can speak volumes about a client, their desires and how they define the spaces they live in. The Horse Hill project was a great example of this.”
At the Horse Hill residence, the material palette for the furnishings, flooring and window coverings reinforce the industrial nature of the home’s architecture. The studio created a number of original site-specific pieces, including custom dining room table made from a Eucalyptus slab and the master bedroom’s bed and dresser. Original pieces are complemented by Flexform sofas, a 1950s Austrian Tree Trunk Table designed by Carl Aubock and a hand-sourced woven rug from Morocco in the master bedroom.
Location and site also influence their work extensively. In Sonoma, the studio created a tranquil retreat for a very discerning and private client—imagine a sleek escape for a gentleman farmer. Inspired by the property’s orchards, gardens and foliage, the interiors for this weekend home designed by Feldman Architects are a sophisticated layering of textures and color-rich blues and greens within a serene glass box. The captivating residence graces our cover this issue.
“The surrounding forests and enveloping views were inspiring. The madrone trees were the stars,” reflects Weir. “We anchored the main entertaining space with two tables fabricated from blackened steel with tops carved from a single monumental slab of reclaimed Claro Walnut salvaged from a massive tree that used to stand in the center of downtown Vacaville.”
The natural beauty and the surrounds of the San Francisco Bay Area are a constant influence for Weir, having grown up on the West Coast and settling in San Francisco while also studying at the CCA. “We are always looking outwards to connect our clients to the views and the landscape,” says Weir.
In Colorado, the studio provided full design services for the interior remodel of a home just outside of Aspen. The mountain home is a careful balance of light modernism and material lightness. The palette is warm and inviting yet subtle enough to not interfere with the experience of the surrounding views.
“We wanted to bring scale to the spaces. The home, built on spec, was never fully completed. There was a great opportunity and we found pieces that had a connection to the land,” says Collins. The studio created custom designed pieces including a Douglas Fir desk for the office, a breakfast room banquette and table made of a Walnut slab and brass, and a Walnut dining room table.
Creating bespoke, custom furniture is another extension of the studio’s services and their ethos of timelessness. “We try to educate our clients on the value of quality, timeless pieces and guide them, no matter what their budget is,” says Weir. “It’s enabled us to collaborate on projects with a uniquely gifted group of local craftspeople and artists.” It takes one to know one.
For the studio, authenticity and originality reign supreme. “Authentic and original design is vital to our work. It drives us forward and underpins our collective advances, challenging us to reinvent the norms and push art and design forward,” says Collins. “This enables great design, always with a timeless appeal."
Studio Collins Weir
451 Coloma Street, Sausalito CA 94965
415.289.0590 | StudioCollinsWeir.com