The Eye has to Travel

Travel supercharges Elisa and her eye. A designer to her core, she is incapable of turning her sight off, so she remains on—noticing everything around her. “I’m constantly scanning—color, materials, scale,” Elisa says. “I’m dissecting to the point of the smallest detail. I log inspiration in any format.”

The Chambers’ recent family vacation to Mexico found her taking a vast amount of photos. Such sourcing inspo spans the mundane and the monumental: from stone inlay within baseboard molding to the sloping staircase leading to a primary suite and a sculptural installation of concrete vessels as fencing.

Unfiltered in her absorption, no detail seems too small, no idea too ambitious. She takes it all in. Only upon reentry does she begin to scroll through her images, pulling specific moments out, letting them percolate into current or future projects. “A lot of my pictures don’t make sense to anyone but me,” Elisa says. Momentary epiphanies, elusive even to Elisa after the fact: “Sometimes, I have to go through and say, ‘Why did I take this picture?’”


In Mexico, Elisa traced the abundance of sand into the preponderance of concrete, used widely and wonderfully. In keeping with such sourcing, she found nature informed so many interesting design elements, from palm fronds as canopy to masonry as continuous floor-to-wall treatment.


From pebble accents to sculptural installations: Elisa registered shifts in scale and the drama they delivered. Vessels, blocks, bricks: common forms became artistic when oversized.


“I’m always in tune with how people live in spaces,” Elisa says. “I’m constantly making note of how other people live and how they integrate their families.” After staying in several communities in Baja, she found domestic layouts successful if they stirred easy, integrated living. The stone built-ins surrounding a pool—set between primary and guest quarters—underscored the amenity as the social hub of the house.

“I love to see the way people interact and how they integrate all parts of their lives into their home,” Elisa says. “A home is such a major investment, both financially and emotionally. You want it to be generational.”