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House Talk

No. 41 - July 22, 2011

Interior Design Magic
A talk with Bob Rogers

Judith Glass and Sheila Sabine , over the years working in the world of real estate, have seen many exciting and beautiful homes. Often many of these homes require significant behind the scenes work to transform them from ordinary to extraordinary prior to selling them .One of the most talented individuals in the arena of home presentation is Bob Rogers, a well-known local interior designer. Judith and Sheila visited one of Bob's latest creations at a fabulous home in Piedmont during a Broker's tour. Every room of the house had been carefully groomed with wonderful paint colors, furnishings and paintings.One of Sheila's favorite features was a huge living room that been boldly painted a spectacular red achieved thru many layers of various base colors. The house was so splendidly presented that it sold in just a few days for over the asking price.

So, who is Bob Rogers and how did he become so wildly successful? It all started when he was a sixteen, working as a delivery boy in Louisville, Kentucky. While delivering packages, he ran into a neighbor's mailbox and it was damaged beyond repair. . With the help of his father, he re-built it, painted it red and added miniature cardinals. The neighbor was thrilled. A few years later when he was applying for a job as a window designer at an extension of Lord and Taylor in downtown Louisville, the same neighbor interviewed him and he got the job immediately. Little by little in his new job, he began adding more interesting statements to his window displays such as antique cabinets from other departments of the store. He would pull out all the drawers and display scarves and shoes. He gradually began doing more specific interior design work, learning new techniques from various artisans along the way.

In 1969, while visiting friends in San Francisco, he decided to explore the job market and got a new position at John Bruner & Co. The owner was so impressed with Bob that he actually hired him to decorate his own personal residence.

In 1975, he made his way to the quaint Montclair district of Oakland. He opened his own interior design studio called Rogers Unlimited, across the street from the elegant Equinox Restaurant. Bob did the complete interior design installation for the restaurant and made many good connections with the local restaurant clientele. He maintained his store for thirteen years and always had lavish window displays and inspiring signage on hand made scrolls with statements like "Imagination costs no more."

From this base he decorated many homes in Piedmont, Oakland and all over the East Bay including the Leona Heights complex, the country club at Hiller Highlands and many lovely residences.

His most challenging project was creating the design and specifications for the U.S. 9TH Circuit Court in San Francisco at the Rincon Center. It was a 35,000 sq. ft. space that had to be remodeled after the '89 earthquake. Bob supervised twenty-five architects and under his skilled direction, a whole new environment was created including new court rooms, judges' chambers, exercise rooms - all interior furnishings, carpet, and window coverings.

One of his favorite projects are model homes He won the MAME award (Major Achievements in Making Excellence) for his outstanding work. It is a dream project because there are no demanding clients, he can pick and choose as he wishes and it is all paid for by the company. One of his most fun projects was sending his Montclair clients to Hawaii for six weeks while he installed a complete makeover in their home. He had an unlimited budget and created magic thruout the house. When they returned, he unveiled his masterpiece-the wife was thrilled and literally collapsed crying with delight.

Bob describes some interior design trends that are timeless:

  • Faux finishes in one room but don't overdo it in other rooms
  • Mixing antiques with modern furniture
  • Avoid trendy colors
  • The use of timeless colors combinations such as yellow and red warm sienna with earth tones, creamy whites and neutral pastels
  • The use of pairs such as chairs, lamps, etc.

Bob strongly believes that good design is timeless. A good interior designer can actually save the client money by making the proper decisions. He feels that a good interior is thought out and well planned. You feel it, you notice the decor, you have an experience. A good designer has an awareness - a sixth sense of how to create magic.

For your own personal interior design experience, contact Bob Rogers at 510-654-1490. He loves new challenges and new clients. You may also visit his website at RogersUnlimited.com.

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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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