Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Studio!


We’re up and running in the new studio — update your records, and come visit sometime!

Details & photos coming soon…


The view from Scott Hargis Photo World Headquarters tonight..




Tonight, actually….it’s that kind of night.



The lighting is heating up… the field with Davis Designs!

Golden Gate Awesome-ness


Living in the Bay Area means you deal with a lot of bridges. And I don’t mean little ones like in Chicago; out here we have Bridges! Everyone’s favorite is the Golden Gate, and over the years I’ve made my share of GG photos. Here’s a sampling of my favorites!

Summer/Fall Roundup: 49 Photographs

I’ve shot a string of jobs over the past 3 months that haven’t gotten full write-ups here. But here’s a gallery of work I’ve pulled from many different projects that have kept me occupied since July.

Lots of new work happening! I’m excited to be working on several large projects for clients, as well as no fewer than three personal projects that are well under way. It’s good to stay busy!

Thanks to:

W Design  •  MJK Homes  •  Design Image  •  Atria Senior Living  •  Custom Kitchens by John Wilkins  •  Brownhouse Design  •  building Lab  •  Muratore Corp  •  Kelly Scanlon Interior Design  •  Douglah Design

Open & Shut


Home Away From Home

“Most East Bay thing, EVER.” That’s how my friend Mike Kelley reacted when I sent him a photo of this replica East African Hut in a park near my house. Yeah, my neighborhood rocks.

A few weeks ago, I was strolling along the shore of the urban lake I live next to, on my way to a glass of wine at a nearby cafe, when something caught my eye. There, in the middle of a large open park, often used for soccer football games and picnicking, was a structure clearly based on an East African hut! It was a WTF moment, for sure. I immediately delayed my glass of wine to investigate. Architecture always gets my attention, and this was, to say the least, unusual.


Turns out, this was part of The Home Away From Home, a week-long celebration of East African culture, timed to coincide with the Eritrean and Ethiopian New Year. The hut housed a small gallery of art, and there was a nearby information booth staffed by volunteers.


Thus did I meet Ellias Fullmore, who designed and built the hut. Soon, Ellias and I were engaged in a conversation about architecture, design, and engineering, with Ellias whipping out his cell phone to show me examples of Fractal design in Ethiopian textiles and me asking him about support columns and scroll-cutting technology. The rest of this post is in Ellias’ words; with additional input from Sephora Woldu. Thanks to both for giving us all such a great lesson in East African art, design, and culture! With that, take it away Ellias…..


“[We] decided to build a temporary art gallery and festival inspired by East African architecture to showcase Ethiopian and Eritrean diaspora artists based in the Bay Area . The event’s name and theme  ”Home [away from] Home“ was designed to explore the concepts of “home” when away from one’s place of origin. We thought that building a modern interpretation of a traditional structure would be a great way to bring that point “home”. The structure was influenced greatly by the traditional gojo/ adgo or “hut” but also derived a great deal of influence from the stone masonry of ancient East African civilizations like Axum and Lalibela.

Ethiopian/ Eritrean Architecture

“The structure we built was influenced significantly by the common East African housing structure called a Gojo (In Amharic) and Adgo (in Tigrinia). This would be referred to as a “hut” in western vernacular . Typically circular or octagonal with a coned roof supported by single central load barring column (referred to as Messosso –typically symbolic of the head of the house hold ..i.e pillar of strength etc..)  In our version we used a custom built central bracket to support the roof panels instead of the traditional support column ..we did this to allow for more space in the structure.

Kara Tribe huts (101 of 1)

[Editor’s note:] Here’s the real thing, photographed in Ethiopia’s Omo River Valley by my friend Bobbi Lane.

“These structures can be made of wood or made out of stone, and typically have an  intricately thatched roof. In our version we used burlap to allow for light to penetrate the canopy and allow for greater visibility of the artwork housed in side. Modern interpretations of this design are used frequently in east Africa for Hotels and conference centers fully equipped with every modern amenity.”

“Much more elaborate renditions of these structures are used traditionally in Orthodox Christian Churches in Ethiopia and Eritrea but the use of these rounded structures predates Christianity in this part of Africa.  (Ethiopia became Christian in 333AD- One of the first in the world).



“The archway and panels of  our gojo/adgo  was influenced by the ancient civilizations of  Lalibella (12 century AD) and Axum  that date back to before the 1 century BC, characterized by the use of fractal geometry common in all parts of Africa and unique windows and archways carved out of a single piece of stone. (We used Plywood and a CNC router). Lastly, the design was significantly influenced by a fractal design  pattern called a tilit that is used in East African embroidery and clothing.



“It was important to me that the design reflected the traditional but also was future facing in its aesthetic. Most Africa themed structures built in modern times  tend to trap African aesthetic and design principles in a mythical past. It was important that we looked at the design as a reinterpretation of tradition suitable for Oakland California in 2014.”

Sephora added, “Understanding the technicalities of how Home [away from] Home was accomplished is rooted in the acknowledgement of the variety of people who supported our project. We had the backing of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts–a major arts institution worldwide–alongside our grassroots team of people from the various Eritrean and Ethiopian communities in the Bay Area. Scholars, artists, students, volunteers and advisers who came out of the woodwork (pun intended) to support this project. Cheesy, but true.  Meklit, Ellias and I built this idea, but it took a village to construct it into reality.”

photo (3)

Photo courtesy Sephora Woldu


Sephora Woldu handled the permitting process. She writes:

“Currently there is no permit application with the City of Oakland to build a temporary East African pop- up art gallery/home in a public park. So, we improvised.

“Because our project was a temporary space and technically an art piece in and of it self , it fell in into murky territory when it came to building code. So, to be on the safe side we made the structure completely compliant  with California building codes exceptions regarding structures less than 12x feet high and total area less then 500 feet. The code also specified that exempt buildings should be modular and only assembled on site not constructed on site . The fact that our buildings wall’s only went half way to a roof constructed of a burlap tarp draped across support beams and not solid roof also contributed to falling under the less stringent building codes of tents, awnings , sheds and gazebos.”

Got questions? Leave ’em in a comment and I’ll get answers.


Design Award Winners Announced – Photography Counts!

Remodeling Magazine announced the 2014 Design Award winners last week and I’m pleased to see that the building Lab remodel of an historic Eichler home is the Grand Prize winner! Congrats to Stephen and the team at building Lab!


Note this is not the Regionals (where I have a 5-year streak of photographing winning projects) but the Nationals…this is the big leagues! In addition to a Grand Prize, there are 17 “Merit Awards” given, and building Lab garnered one of those too, again with my photographs. Not a bad day when more than 10% of a national award roster is mine!


It’s important to note that the awards are for the design work, and not specifically the photography. Still, it’s hard to tell the story of great design without compelling and insightful photography. I’m granting myself a pat on the back today.

And now…..the photos:



A Pair of (Custom) Kitchens


In late June I spent a day with Custom Kitchens in Oakland, and Kensington, California shooting a pair of recently competed projects. These kitchens are typical of Custom Kitchens designs — practical, rooted in traditional materials and layout, but not “cookie-cutter”. Lead Designer Joy Wilkins and her team are great at bringing a unique vision (and often) the homeowner’s existing needs and even hardware into the equation. The results are kitchens that are both beautiful and approachable. You can easily imagine yourself wandering in here in your bathrobe, pouring some coffee, and reading the paper.


The gorgeous center island featured here is by Bentwood Kitchens, based in Lancaster Texas. We left the louvered doors open at rear to show the washer-dryer – this sort of remodel feature matters a lot to older clients!


Our second location was even more traditional:




I’ve been shooting a lot of cool  projects this summer — much more to come!



Post-Production Blues….

Also, New Belgium “Snapshot” is my new favorite summer beer!

Los Altos Traditional, by Brownhouse Design


I loved this scene from the moment I first scouted this shoot. The mirrored grid pattern of the floor/ceiling, the arched doorways, and the swirling swooping sweeping curve of the staircase make for a very dynamic composition! We used blackout cloth to kill the daylight coming in from camera left, and re-lit the stairs from above with continuous light “boomed” out over the risers. Strobes in the adjoining spaces maintain good color and draw the eye into the living room.

More design happiness from Julie Brown, principal of Brownhouse Design. Here’s a Los Altos Traditional done by Julie and her team that we photographed back in May. Built by Matt Komo at MJK Homes, this place was TIGHT.


Other than removing some electrical outlets, this is straight out of the camera. We more or less emptied the lighting cases for this shot! But the real challenge of a complex space like this is the styling.

More photos, and behind-the-scenes, click here!


“Photography is 1% talent and 99% moving furniture.”
– Arnold Newman


On location in Pacific Palisades (Los Angeles) — we heard sirens….

Nob Hill (San Francisco) Elegance


More Muratore goodness today, with a project I first scouted last year but only shot last month — high atop San Francisco’s Nob Hill.

Venetian plaster, white oak floors, handsome laminated wood columns, marble floor inlays, and some striking vertical stripes in the kitchen woodwork made this space exciting to shoot — lots to work with! Full write-up, LOTS of photos, and Behind-the-Scenes, click here.



It is a beauteous evening, calm and free…
– Jeffers

Still Today: More FLW Goodness

And there I was, with nothing but an iPhone. Best camera is the one you have with you!photo


FLW in Buffalo, NY

I genuflected…


On location in Rochester, NY.
This is how the furniture was arranged when we walked in. Um…. I think we’re gonna be moving a few things….yeah….

(Another) Mid-Century Modern by building Lab


Nobody “gets” mid-century modern like Stephen Shoup of building Lab. His Eichler remodel (which I shot last fall) has received acclaim and is being published in multiple venues.

So I knew that this project would be a good one — a mid-century house with the building Lab design touch. Stephen created a flowing, connected space along this ranch house’s long axis with peaked-ceiling spaces at each end and a lower, flat-ceilinged central area in between, encompassing the kitchen and eating area. This space is clearly the “heart” of the structure, where the family will spend 80% of its time.


Looking back towards the playroom we can see the intricate architecture and the way the ceiling lines interact to help define the spaces.


Stephen is absolutely brilliant when it comes to defining discrete spaces even within a fluid or open floorplan. Here, the kitchen is separated from the foyer and dining room by a slot skylight that channels light straight down in the wide pass-though. When you walk beneath it, you can’t help feeling that you’ve left one space behind and are entering another, despite the lack of structural boundaries.


This project features the trademark building Lab book-matched wood paneling, although in a much more subdued way than other of Stephen’s designs.

We’ve already got the next building Lab project on the calendar, so stay tuned for more architectural happiness!