Home Owners and fellow band members: Hilary Perkins and Jim Nunally

Clients: Hilary Perkins and Jim Nunally Interior Designer: Lauren Brandwein Design Location: San Rafael, California

First Built: 1945, originally 960 sq. ft. Addition: 600 sq. ft.

Date Completed: Spring 2019 Sq. Footage: 1,560

1 Bedroom, 2 bathroom

The Owners Story:

The owner’s design intentions were to really inhabit a home that is a sanctuary when not on the road with their Bluegrass/Americana roots band the Jim and Nell Band. It needed to be a carefree space they can retreat to, entertain friends and family as well as be a space for the band to have jamb sessions at while being inspired by the bay views. They contacted interior designer Lauren Brandwein to help them transform
the original 1945 bay house. Our primary focus was to give the owners a bright, warm, casual and creative space that reflected their informal life style.

About the Designer:

Rock House Design is a design studio that focuses on comfort, warmth and timeless interiors. We design around the clients story for meaningful spaces. We’re obsessed with fabrics and layering textures.

Life in the Garden (In Clients own words)

“I walked into the garden of this property 5 and a half years ago and fell in love immediately. It was wild, it had a magical almost spooky feel of the tropics and a long history, the path to the house meandered and I got lost and bushwhacked my way down toward the shore. Then the light and beauty of the water shone on this little weekend fishing cabin. I could not believe it, it felt like a dream come true. Fast forward a year or so and a growing friendship and love affair with my music partner, Jim Nunally, grew into living together and planning our home and life together,” says Nell.

As it was originally configured the bedroom opened into the living room almost like a one-room studio, and it was just around 680 square feet. We found that any time we wanted to cross the room, we were moving guitars, music stands, and whatnot out of the way. Thus the decision to remodel and plan our home together. The house is held in the embrace of 75+ year old Canary Palms and old rock walls and very mature Dracenas and Aloe we could not bear to part with.

This limited out ability expand the footprint of the original house, so we went up, adding a bedroom and bathroom, with back porch overlooking the garden and front patio overlooking the water.” Jim

The heart of the house is the stainless steel rail enclosing the back-garden porch. This is in Jim’s words Nell’s “ring.” He took the lyrics and music to the first song they wrote together – Life in the Garden – and had them intertwined with garden and seaside critters and flora from bees to kingfishers to butterflies to roses and forget-me-nots by their friend and graphic artist Suzanne Sarto. The song reflects both Jim and Nell’s family traditions of passing along cuttings of beloved plants to remember each other by.

“We love sitting on the porch and looking through the rail to the garden. Our feeling about how our lives and relationships can be described by our gardens is the first thing our guests see as they wend their way down to the front door. Welcome, come on in!” Nell and Jim

Song: Life in the Garden – Listen Now 

Short bio: Nell Robinson & Jim Nunally are Americana composers and musicians, you can learn more about them at nellandjim.com. Check out their new album Here

Living room built-in bench

Living Room Entry

Custom Cabinets: Stefan Steinbach Wall Color
Library sconce light: House of Troy

window with a view of water

Living Room

Drapery Fabric: Loro Piano Chairs: Palacek
Chair Fabric: Ralph Lauren Side Table: Classic Home
Coffee Table: Big Daddy Antiques with custom stone top
Rug: Four Hands Consol: Uttermost
Table Lamp: Jamie Young

window with a view of water


Range: Vintage
Ceiling Pendant: Jamie Young Counter Slab: Aurea “Dinergy” Backsplash: Walker Zanger Island Top: End grain walnut slab Farmhouse sink: Blanco Cerena Faucet: Newport Brass
Custom Cabinet: Stefan Steinbach Refrigerator: Leiberr
Painted Cabinet Color: Benjamin Moore, Dove Wing


window with a view of water

Dining Room

Chandelier: Curry and Co. Table: Big Daddy Antiques Chairs: Palacek
Wall Color: Kelly Moore, Mexican Sand Dollar

window with a view of water


Runner: Dash and Albert Sconces: Curry and Co.


Upstairs Hallway

Runner: Antique
Art: By owner

custom bathroom


Custom Cabinet: Stefan Steinbach Slab: Calacatta Marble
Sconces: Circa Lighting Mirror: Restoration Hardware Floor Tile: Artistic Tile
Wall Color: BM Carrington Beige
Custom Cabinet: Stefan Steinbach Slab: Calacatta Marble
Sconces: Circa Lighting Floor Tile: Jeffrey Court
Shower Tile (interior): Tabarka Shower Tile (exterior & wainscot): Calacatta Marble


Master Bedroom Closet

Master Bedroom Closet

Hall Rug: Room & Board:
Drapery: Ralph Lauren


Master Bedroom

Custom Headboard: Schnitzkräft Steel Artistry Quilt: Crafted by owner Hilary
Ceiling Pendant: Circa Lighting Side Tables: Noir
Table Lamps: Hudson Valley Bench: Palacek
Rug: Four Hands Drapery: Mila Blake

Interior design details

Lauren Brandwein

Lauren Brandwein is a distinguished interior architect and designer with more than twenty years of experience. A graduate from the Interior Institute of San Diego, Lauren sharpened her skills working with the field’s leading designers and architects. Her approach to design is methodical and focused, allowing her to create timeless, elegant spaces. In 2003, she established her own design firm, Lauren Brandwein Design, which gained recognition for its intricate attention to detail and strong industry relationships.

In 2019, Lauren embarked on a transformative rebranding journey, culminating in the establishment of Rock House Design. Here, she continues to inspire her clients with exciting design concepts, deftly navigating projects from space planning to comprehensive remodeling overhauls. Despite her years in the industry, Lauren’s dedication to interior design remains unwavering, making her a trusted figure in the field.