After living in Hong Kong for 15 years — where square footage comes at a premium — jewelry designer Bridget King and her investment banker husband, Ed, set about building their Atherton home in 2014. They knew they wanted ample space and high ceilings. “We have a tall family — I’m five-foot-eight and Ed is six-foot-four — and I remember when we looked at apartments in Hong Kong, he would never fit in the shower stall!” she recalls with a laugh. By excavating a basement that matches the footprint of the two upper floors, the couple — working with Steve Simpson of SDG Architecture and Will Milne of Milne Design & Build — could accommodate not only bedrooms for their family of four plus out-of-town visitors, but also a gym, theater and wine cellar.
Given that its occupants are avid entertainers, it’s no wonder the great room is the hub of the home. Following a stay at the Napa Valley Reserve, Bridget and Ed knew they wanted an open-plan kitchen, dining and family area like the one they enjoyed at the St. Helena winery. The Kings’ is ideal for gatherings large and small. They often host dinners for a dozen or so pals, hanging out in the great room rather than the formal dining room, which is used mostly around the holidays. The Calacatta marble-topped kitchen island, which measures about 10-by-7-feet, functions for food prep, serving and eating. Just a few hours before walking me through the house, Bridget hosted a breakfast for 60 moms from her son’s high school. (An older daughter is a student at the University of Southern California.) The great room spills out onto a generous backyard, where last fall the 49ers Academy hosted its annual gala. The fundraiser included an alfresco sit-down dinner and wine-tasting for 300-plus guests, along with an auction and live entertainment. “I didn’t think everyone would fit,” Bridget admits. “But now we know we can have one of our kids’ weddings or receptions here.” (Gala organizers even transformed the sport court into a dance floor.)
In contemporary homes of this size, creating warm and welcoming spaces can be a challenge. Fortunately, interior designer Lisa Lamb of Menlo Park-based Lamb Partners deftly obliged. “They wanted something elegant that was very comfortable to live in,” she says, noting that textures and a neutral palette were introduced through-out. In the family room, which has a pitched ceiling, a pair of Lamb-designed sofas are positioned in front of a double-height fireplace clad in brass panels with an antiqued patina finish. The coffee table and TV credenza, both fabricated with rift-sawn oak and brass, as well as the Woven Designs rug, whose pattern mimics the rings of a tree trunk, are also custom.
In the formal dining room, a Jonathan Browning brass and leaded crystal chandelier hangs above a table and leather chairs by Holly Hunt. Lamb designed the nearby credenza, made by The Robert James Collection, to coordinate with the oak and brass table. In the adjacent living room, a coffee table from the De Sousa Hughes show-room is flanked by custom sofas topped with pillows in velvet and curly lamb fur. A surprising fact about the seating in the family and living rooms, including the sofas and Holly Hunt swivel chairs: They’re all upholstered in Sunbrella fabrics. “I have to say, I fought her on it,” says Lamb of the fabric covering the chairs. “I said, ‘Bridget, you can’t take Holly Hunt furniture and put Sunbrella on it!’ And she said, ‘I have two huge dogs, Lisa.’ I had a crushed velvet all picked out for her. … It worked out great, though. It truly is bullet-proof for her.”
Bridget describes her aesthetic as “very clean and calming. But you know, I’m from L.A., so I wanted a bit of glam, too. It’s like my jewelry—classic with a twist to it.” (Ed grew up in Cupertino; the two met after college, when they were both living in New York.) Bridget’s eponymous fine jewelry collection (bridgetkingjewelry.com) has developed a following for its understated luxe. Ayesha Curry has been spotted wearing Bridget’s charm necklace, including the popular diamond-encrusted dog bone charm. Her designs are also appreciated for their versatility; for example, earring components can be worn alone or layered together for multiple looks, and some have black diamonds on one side and white diamonds on the other. She recently expanded into colored stones: green garnet and pink sapphire. A new line will debut at her trunk shows at Neiman Marcus Palo Alto on March 22 and 23 — part of Stanford Shopping Center’s Shop for Packard event to benefit the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. “I’m drawn to this new direction, with bigger, statement pieces,” says Bridget of her latest designs.
While the bolder jewelry may be a slight shift from what she is known for, the evolution keeps things fresh. Similarly, three years after moving in, the interiors of her home continue to be a work in progress. The art in the dining room and living room — a hand-cut paper composition by Michael Buscemi and a large-scale image by Italian photographer Massimo Listri — are recent additions. A stairwell wall was just updated with a paint treatment by decorative artist Caroline Lizarraga. Of course, any changes in the dwelling are still guided by the principle that it remain “un-fussy, not complicated or precious,” says Bridget. Earlier in the day, during the breakfast gathering in her great room, a fellow mom asked about the durability of the marble countertops. “When you first move in, you’re so nervous,” Bridget told her. “But after a while, you’re like, whatever. You’ve got to be comfortable.”