Introducing our fourth installment of 7x7's Style Council 2017, our annual look at the trendsetters and style mavens of the Bay Area worlds of fashion, beauty and design. Check back for more tastemaker profiles each day, between now and September 29th!
Minimalist in his designs and, it turns out, in conversation, Mason St. Peter describes his style in one word: functional. And yet, the co-owner of General Store and the architect behind a multitude of stunning masterpieces around the Bay Area (who gives succinct yet philosophical answers to all questions) admits that achieving simplicity is his greatest challenge.
"It's easy to get lost in the details," says St. Peter, who graduated from California College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Architecture in 2004. "Simplicity and uncluttered function is my goal."
And he gets it done, as you'll know if you've shopped the store he owns with his wife, San Francisco cool girl Serena Mitnik-Miller, or if you have any surfer friends who've hired St. Peter to design their homes in Noe Valley, Berkeley, and around Ocean Beach. His recently completed so-called Great Highway House, a former horse barn on a double lot in the Outer Sunset, is an example of his signature style: clean, light-filled, and a mix of modern and raw materials such as marble, wood and brass.
His designs hold the dual purpose of usability and stunning aesthetic, and his spaces feel good whether you use them for living, working, or just for a friendly visit. "I try to do more with less and not undo what doesn't need to be undone," says St. Peter. "Space is best when it's open and when it can be put to work. As much as possible, I try to create a connection between indoor and outdoor living."
Unsurprisingly, he is a light seeker, automatically surveying each new space to find where the sun comes in. The link between life within walls and the great outdoors may be the thing that imparts the spiritual aspect to St. Peter's creations—ask him about his typical day, and it plays out like a comforting mantra:
"I work everyday, I spend time with my family, I go to the beach, I see clients, I go to site meetings, I go to the skatepark, the grocery store, the hardware store, on a hike, on a walk, visit friends and family and search for my cats."
Warm tones with natural light are a key element in St. Peter's work, particularly in this Berkeley home with cabinetry from Small Works.
7x7: What's your creative inspiration?
Mason St. Peter: I'm always inspired by my wife Serena.
7x7: San Francisco is...
MSP: The town that made me a man.
7x7: The weirdest thing about you?
MSP: People think I look like Chevy Chase.
7x7: Best architecture in the Bay Area?
MSP: There are a few Neutra houses around, if you look, you can find them.
7x7: For a culture fix, you go to...
MSP: Ocean Beach
7x7: Best place to shop for home decor?