Last weekend, Peter and Mona Branagh were killed in a small plane crash on their way from California to Aspen. Peter was a third-generation developer and Mona a complimentary interior designer in the Bay Area community where I grew up, and perhaps without consciencely knowing it, their projects had major impact on my own design aesthetic.
The home above, developed by Branagh, is typical of the traditional exteriors he is most well-known for. In an area most typically known for more casual ranch style homes, the Branaghs brought a bit of East Coast-inspired gracious living to the West.
As early as five years old, I envied the Branagh-built home of my Kindergarten best friend, with its formal entertaining rooms and extensive millwork and dental molding. Ten years ago this summer, my parents moved into a Branagh-built home themselves, and it's a home I love visiting. Built almost twenty-five years ago, it's a classic, with details like an all-white kitchen and curving staircase that will never go out of style.
Classic, too, are the interiors designed by Mona, always understated and elegant...
I've been thinking about the extended Branagh family a lot this week and will remember their influence on the community every time I visit home.