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?’”

MATERIALITY:

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.

SCALE:

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.

SOCIAL INTEGRATION:

“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.”

Alpine Haven Edition

The design of a room sings when the individual character of the client comes through in the careful composition of elements. Reflecting on high points in her portfolio, Elisa Chambers describes her favorite aspects of specific rooms in our new series, Eye Spy.

For an active family of boys, Elisa opted for pieces that did double duty—beautiful in form yet durably functional—a duality embodied by the design of the living room. Based on the East Coast, the family treasures their time together in the Tetons, which makes the living room the hub of the home. Framed by a picture window facing the mountains, the living space is at once commodious and comfortable, characteristics keenly expressed by Elisa’s three favorite pieces of furniture:

Woven-Back Sofa

“This sofa has two lives; the woven-leather back and cashmere cushions make it so luxurious, while at the same time, it’s so rustic. It can swing both ways. The woven texture is beautiful from all angles, while the cashmere is divine! This sectional is made by Flexform, one of the most elegant yet reasonably priced Italian lines. Flexform puts a lot of thought into their products, focusing on the feel of each piece. Measuring 10ft. long, the sofa allows the family to spread out and relax. This piece anchors the room.”

Coffee Tables

“Also by Flexform, this pair of coffee tables is as functional as it is beautiful. Low to the ground, they can stand alone or be pushed together into one big table. With drawers that pull out on complementary sides, they also offer essential storage: the family stashes games and puzzles in the drawers. As sleek as they are, they also provide an efficient use of space. Again, double duty!”

Cantilever Console

“I adore this piece from Gregorious Pineo, a furniture atelier based in Los Angeles. Its angular, delicate silhouette belies its rugged, strong construction. The rustic metal base perfectly complements the limewash wood slab on top. Yet another example of living two lives. Gracing the side wall, the console is accented by a leather-slung mirror from Baxter and a Holly Hunt glass lamp, making for an elegant yet accessible moment within this high-traffic room.”