Greenbrae, CA

High fashion and Hollywood beckoned Jean Larette long before the world of interiors did. The designer - a northern California native based in Greenbrae, near San Francisco - left home for New York to model at 18, and quickly became familiar with London, Tokyo, and Milan before most people have graduated college.

By the early 1980s she had moved to Los Angeles and the other side of the camera, working at the Creative Artists Agency, then a locus of power in the entertainment world. “It taught me to never say die,” she says, “It made me very tenacious and disciplined.” But in the early 1990s she bought a house in Malibu that changed things.

“It was at the top of a hill and flooded with sunlight,” say Larette. While renovating, she discovered an affinity for interior design. “I redid the kitchen and moved walls,” she says, “I was elated with the results.” She then enrolled in the design program at UCLA.

Larette founded her own firm in 1998. Occupied by various Bay Area commissions, she displays an excellent sense of texture and color, matching varied elements like Scalamandré document prints and paint from Benjamin Moore’s historical collection for interiors that are timely but never trendy. “A client recently told me he was happy with his home because in ten years it will look as good as it does today.”