Celia Tejada bought her home in the 1990s, about 100 years after it was originally built. This San Francisco Victorian had fallen into major disrepair – the ceilings in some rooms had fallen in, and the attic had no floor – but Celia was up for the challenge. She fixed it up while retaining as many original details as possible, salvaging crown moldings and keeping the original marble sinks in many of the bathrooms. Although the space is always evolving, its clean, black-and-white palette represents the classic and modern elements infused into the home’s style. And as I discussed in my ode to dark walls, the dark ceilings and walls in Celia’s home make the rooms feel as expansive as the night sky. This home was built for entertaining, with intimate and personal settings for friendly gatherings. In fact, every week, Celia has a group of friends over for tertulia, a bohemian Spanish-style culinary and literary gathering.
Celia grew up in Valderredible, Spain, in a small, rural community of just over 100 people. When she was encouraged to seek a more rigorous education in the city, she took the opportunity, eventually attending an Italian design school in Bilbao on scholarship at age 15. After graduating, she worked for a luxury kitchen design showroom for several years before moving to San Francisco, CA. Despite her background in interior architecture, Celia started channeling her creativity into fashion, and launched the Celia Tejada fashion house. After her first fashion show in the fall of 1987, the label took off and she was soon selling in boutiques and department stores like Barney’s, Bloomingale’s, and Neiman Marcus. But after the economic downturn of the 1990s, Celia started looking to take production overseas. As she took a pause in the fashion business, she started a new journey that took her back to her roots in interior design.
During this break, Celia’s friend — who worked at Pottery Barn — introduced her to Gray Friedman (President of Williams-Sonoma group at that time). After a long lunch with Gary, Celia was hired to lead the vertical-integration of the Pottery Barn brand, and 17 years later she joined Gary once again as Chief Creative Officer for new concepts at Restoration Hardware.
Celia’s passion is not just for design, but rather for life. Her home is a testament to this belief – it’s always full of art and often full of people, with a focus on comfort and easy entertaining. Her home is about gracious, relaxed spaces where people can feel welcome and relaxed. Each vignette in her home tells a story – whether it’s a photograph she took herself, or a message sitting in a typewriter. It’s a mix of high and low that always ends up looking chic- with a coat of black paint. –Kevin
To see how Celia’s home has evolved, check out this tour from 2004 on Oprah.com and her kitchen renovation on ElleDecor.com.