California Dreamin

“I get help from the greatest designer: Mother Nature.” ~Ron Mann

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 Sonoma-based designer Ron Mann looks to nature and the local terrain for inspiration.

Ron Mann’s work encompasses commercial and residential projects, with a focus on designing from the ground up. Mann prefers to custom design and build all interior and exterior elements of a property with an eye to integrating the structures with the terrain. He utilizes environmentally sustainable building practices, including recycled woods, locally harvested stone and natural materials in both construction and furnishing.

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Hillside House Sonoma California Poolside Terrace

Overlooking Lovall Valley in Sonoma California, about an hour north of San Francisco, the modern “Valle Vista” compound constructed in 2008, -featured in Architectural Digest the same year, was designed by Harvey and Conrad Sanchez of Conrad Design -architects that love the world of fine arts and have a focus on integrating art into their design, in collaboration with designer Ron Mann. Mann was asked to help with the architecture and build out and design the interiors. Mann added the poolside terrace and used creative organic design elements such as a large fragment of ceiba-tree root as a curtain for the outdoor shower.

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Hillside House Sonoma California Interior

The house sits on 19 acres of hillside with incredible views of Sonoma County, Mount Tamalpais and San Francisco Bay, and was conceived and orchestrated as a complete concept. Every detail is custom designed for the property integrating the site, architecture and the interior of the home.

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Hillside House Sonoma California Interior 

By his own admission, Mann works best when he is given free rein “Then, my only restriction is myself,” he makes known. He approaches interiors sculpturally, searching for the juxtapositions of scale, texture and color that will make a given space feel as though it does not resemble any design that has existed before it.

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Hillside House Sonoma California Interior

“I like bold design,” he says of his philosophy. “I believe in angles, not rectangles. I think they humanize a space. After all, human beings aren’t rectilinear.” Nestled among the trees, many rooms reflect Mann’s design influences and ideas about nature, space and light, through natural and often seamless transitions of inside and out.

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Hillside House Sonoma California Interior

The rooms are defined by windows that visually bring the live Oaks in, and in large measure by the floor -really a floorscape. Running in ribbons embedded in the concrete are boards of Douglas Fir rubbed with metallicized paint forming subtle paths intersecting throughout the house. The residence is full of wood especially Fir, Bay Laurel and Eucalyptus.

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Hillside House Sonoma California Entrance Courtyard

Mann designed many sculptural pieces for the house, including the cypress bench and the hammered-aluminum-and-steel light fixture in the entrance courtyard. Balanced proportions of concrete, plaster, exotic marble, stone, wood & metal affect stunning vignettes throughout.

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Tres Paraguas Carmel California Entrance

One of the most visionary eco-friendly homes in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, designed by Ron Mann, three years in the planning and four years to completion in 2013, was from inception, an experiment in creating a “one of a kind living environment for the Monterey Peninsula.” Tres Paraguas, as it was named, is a 13,000 square foot compound, built on its own five-acre pinnacle above all surrounding properties, which affords 360-degree views of the entire Monterey Bay with a Jacks Peak Forest backdrop. The forest gives the designer beginnings of a natural landscape of live Oaks and Pines, to which has been added Canary, Mediterranean, and Washingtonian palms, multitudes of agaves, and New Zealand flax as ground cover, in all, providing strong visual texture to the hillside terrain.

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Tres Paraguas Carmel California Exterior

Innovative and stylish, Tres Paraguas is a virtual master class in integrating structures with the terrain and utilizing environmentally sustainable building practices artfully. ‘Tres Paraguas’ is Spanish for ‘Three Umbrellas,’ representative of the five house complex that is covered by 3 giant rectangular roofs of corrugated Corten Steel mounted on square columns of Douglas Fir 26 feet high, stilted, standing free of the 5 buildings.

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Tres Paraguas Carmel California Exterior

The buildings are modern Pueblas, self-roofed, heavily stuccoed in three earth tones, with 18 foot walls and giant 12 foot sliding glass walls that pocket into the end walls, allowing the buildings to all open into courtyards and terraces as pavilions.

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Tres Paraguas Carmel California Exterior

Voluminous and airy, the modern-style Pueblas property creates a large, enclosed courtyard -almost half an acre, and features a lawn, raised pool and a Cantina outdoor kitchen.

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Tres Paraguas Carmel California Terrace

Scenic Monterey Bay viewed from the front terrace with outdoor furniture crafted from sandblasted Redwood. Ron Mann designed roughly hewn tables and chairs can be found at Ma(i)sonry in Yountville -an art, design and wine gallery set amidst a contemporary, landscaped sculpture garden in Napa Valley.

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Tres Paraguas Carmel California Interior/Exterior

A table top -15ft. natural slab of Tiger Redwood on 3 sculptural steel bases, was designed by Mann for the Great Room. With its precise placement the indoor/outdoor areas blend seamlessly with each other, allowing space for entertaining as well as a living environment. While the open plan interior enables the homeowner to have spectacular views of the Pacific ocean and Jacks Peak beyond the courtyard wall as a natural landscape.

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Tres Paraguas Carmel California Interior

Mann, a master of interior design, wood and stone sculpting, and custom furniture fabrication, employed all of these skills to find innovative and elegant solutions for the Tres Paraguas challenge. All of the rooms have a modern-edge organic feel resonating Mann’s characteristic yin and yang aesthetic throughout.

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With a fusion of luxe bohemian primitive and contemporary elements, and wabi-sabi spirit, Mann creates something new, unexpected and cohesive. “If one is able to place things in a space so that they retain their individuality, don’t fight one another and don’t cancel each other out, that’s the trick” concludes Mann.

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Tres Paraguas Carmel California Interior

“All I need to hear is the word impossible, I like a design challenge and the freedom to execute it. There is no secret to it. I just gather up a truckload of stone and wood and do it.” A perspective that produces inspired results.

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Tres Paraguas Carmel California Interior

The interior walls of the four-bedroom house appear to be concrete, but they’re actually wood painted to match the concrete exterior. All shared spaces were designed with the view in mind. An aspect that really adds to the mystique and cohesiveness of the property.

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Tres Paraguas Carmel California Interior

Tres Paraguas has all the markings of being remembered as master work of art, as one of the most important homes built in America today, designed by a visionary artist and designer with meticulous attention to detail. The designer’s deep respect for the natural beauty and splendor of the setting are reflected in every aspect of design, planning and creation. This one-of-kind artfully crafted Ron Mann designed architectural jewel of a house Tres Paraguas is currently on the market.

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London Pied A Terre Interior

With his clients’ collection of Asian art in mind, Mann refurbished a modern penthouse in London overlooking the Thames in 2010. The freestanding pieces of furniture were designed by Mann, who had them made in California before shipping them to London. Particularly notable is the vast sofa in the living area created for the space. Made in three separate parts with a frame crafted from solid California bay laurel and hand-cast magnesium tables that attach. A large four-panel lacquered screen Dragon Knows Dragon by Shiryu Morita, and an ancient salt-glaze jar, both from Japan, subtly set the tone in the living area.

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London Pied A Terre Interior

But most remarkable is the sheer variety of artworks, which range from a Nepalese bronze Buddha to a Korean paper screen and a Javanese wood carving, that blend effortlessly with their surroundings, lending an extra dimension of serenity to Mann’s intriguing design. The richness and quality of materials exemplified by deeply hued faux-fur bedcoverings, hand-pieced together and lined with silk, bring texture and warmth to the space, while a Isamu Noguchi paper lantern dangles in the corner, and Kum Kang San’s Bamboo, a 10-panel, early-20th-century Korean paper screen, is in the hall. Discretely sited throughout the main rooms, the collection of paintings, sculptures and objects gives a particular resonance to the space.