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House Talk

No. 1 - May, 2002

From Purchase to Transformation
A talk with Scott Job, professional designer

This interview is with Scott Job, a local professional designer par excellence who specializes in Ikebana design projects on a small to grand scale.  We thought it would be interesting for you to learn how Job tackled his own home – from purchase to transformation.

“I was looking primarily for a place where I could establish a spacious outdoor work area for my larger design projects involving live plant materials” said Job.  “My needs regarding an indoor living space were modest in comparison.  However, I definitely wanted a home that would offer some privacy.”  Job settled on a duplex located on a tiny street in Oakland’s Rockridge District.  The house and garden had been untouched for many years, and all the homes on this one tucked-away street had belonged for many years to members of the same extended family.  According to Job, “It had a certain “worn-out” charm; it was a house set up for one toaster and two house-dresses!  After landing there, I began to see the possibilities; you know, you flower and bloom where you are planted and that’s the way it is with everything in life.  I was faced with an outdoor space that was one huge empty lot with no walls or fences and only footsteps from the bustling and noisy College Avenue.”

“Right away, I built a high fence with redwood and lattice to define the space and maximize the privacy.  Next, I established the location for my hidden work space surrounded by how I felt gardens should look.  I brought in a lot of rich topsoil and began to lay out meandering flagstone paths interwoven with a plant called baby tears to create the effect of a living green carpet.”

Job stresses that line design is important in his Ikebana projects, so wanted to grow interesting branches and shrubs that could eventually be cut and used in his work.  “I wasn’t designing a ‘fixed look’ to my garden.  I simply started getting things that I liked – all the flowers I’ve always wanted – and I planted them where they would be the happiest and would be my friends!  After working as an antiques importer for fifteen years in Asia, the Thai influence is a natural for me.  In Thailand, most of the living is done outside in natural settings with people surrounded by exotic plants and ancient religious shrines and altars.  Their use of space and simplicity was what I attempted to create in my own environment.”

In addition to planting his favorite trees and flowers, Job added water elements such as chimes, antique shrines and altars.  The water elements were made by using simple large ceramic pots from Asia and small pumps and fountains made of bamboo that create the illusion of water emanating from a magical place.  Job states, “There was no big installation involved, but the effects have been very relaxing – just the peaceful sounds of water and the sounds of an occasional wind chime singing with the gentle wind.”

When working with clients, Job takes what he has learned in his own home design center and applies it to his clients’ spaces.  “I like the idea of creating space rather than decorating space or filling up space.  My goal is to create interesting space that is exciting – and that doesn’t ‘just happen.’  Currently in my professional life, I am integrating my love of space with very exciting living art forms.  Recently I set up an enormous bamboo sculpture with thirty-foot long bamboo pieces at the Bouquet Des Arts Festival in San Francisco.  My next project is organizing a workshop for a master teacher from Tokyo using over 6,000 strips to create a large woven art form.”

In summing up, Job states that when he talks with his clients about making changes in their own environments, he advises them to follow these four simple principles:

1.      Less is more 

2.      Keep what makes you happy

3.      Don’t fill up the space 

4.      Work with balance, harmony and rhythm

Scott Job is a professional designer working in the Bay Area.  For further information or questions for our column, please contact Glass/Sabine by email: sheila@gs-t.com or call us at 510-326-5055.  Glass/Sabine works as a residential real estate team at Prudential Real Estate in Piedmont. 

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For further information or questions for our House Talk column, 
please contact Glass/Sabine by email:  Sheila@GlassSabine.com
or call us at 510-326-5055.

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