Faces of Atherton

Post image for Fannie Allen brings her knowledge of art to her work as an interior designer

We were at Atherton resident Fannie Allen’s home to talk about her work as an interior designer. But we immediately got sidetracked by Delilah, a nude sculpture made entirely from typewriter parts by Bay Area artist Jeremy Mayer.

“He’s fascinated by anatomy” Fannie explained. “His studio is filled with anatomy photos and typewriter parts. He won’t take apart a valuable, working typewriter, just discarded ones. He’s featured in a documentary, California Typewriter, about one of the last typewriter repair shops in America.”

Art, we found out, has long been part of Fannie’s life and remains central to her work as an interior designer.

“I grew up in an art-infused house,” she says. “My mother had studied art history, and our dearest friends were art historians.

“But while I was in high school [in Richmond,VA], I flipped the other way and got into computers, science and math, and did programming. And I pursued a career in tech, even though I was an art history major at Stanford.”

A mother of three, she stopped working when her children were young and backed into being an interior designer. “Friends liked what I was doing in my house and would ask me to help them,” she said.

In her work, she’s long been curious why clients are slow to warm to the idea of buying art, which led her to write a blog on the topic. “It’s not about the money,” she said. “People can spend $5,000 on a chair but won’t spend half that to buy a canvas.

“People who haven’t bought art before feel they aren’t educated enough. Is that good art? Will I like it in two years? I try to help them over that stumbling block.”

For both her clients and her own purchases, Fannie patronizes emerging and local artists as much as possible. “For me to like a piece of art, it helps to understand what the artist is doing. When you buy locally, you get to know the artist. I love to go to their studio and see them work.”

Photo by Robb Most

{ Be the first to comment }

Kim Young works with POST to preserve and protect Peninsula lands

Thumbnail image for Kim Young works with POST to preserve and protect Peninsula lands

Looking back, Kim Young realizes she was too young to fully appreciate the Wallace Stegner Creative Writing Program at Stanford. “I went straight into the program after graduating from Dartmouth,” she recalls. “Most of the people were older. It was a bit intimidating.” During her studies, which focused on poetry, she did meet writer and environmental activist Stegner, […]

Click to read more →

From interior design to furniture – a journey that leads to Moxiemade

Thumbnail image for From interior design to furniture – a journey that leads to Moxiemade

For the past seven years, Nancy Evars and Dimitra Anderson have offered interior design services, bringing, as they say, “a bit of moxie” to their work. “We are driven women, both from New Jersey,” said Dimitra. Added Nancy: “We love to work, we love to be creative.” Today they’re launching a new business called, fittingly enough, Moxiemade, offering a […]

Click to read more →

Jillian Manus talks life challenges with Diane Dwyer in prelude to Peninsula Volunteers Authors Salon

Thumbnail image for Jillian Manus talks life challenges with Diane Dwyer in prelude to  Peninsula Volunteers Authors Salon

All the hallmarks of a “good girl chat” were present last Tuesday afternoon when Atherton resident Jillian Manus (pictured right) sat down to discuss struggles, successes and new directions in her life and career with broadcast journalist Diane Dwyer (left). The event kicked-off the Peninsula Volunteers‘ 26th annual  Authors Salon, which will be held at the Sharon Heights Golf & […]

Click to read more →

Atherton resident Louis Matas celebrates his 103rd birthday with friends and family

Thumbnail image for Atherton resident Louis Matas celebrates his 103rd birthday with friends and family

For Atherton resident Louis Matas, the milestone birthdays just keep coming, as do the annual celebrations at Harry’s Hofbrau in Redwood City where he was last night celebrating turning 103-years-old with family and friends. Along for the festivities was granddaughter Patricia (pictured top), the Mayor of Atherton and the head of the Carpenter’s Local Union […]

Click to read more →

Sheri Sobrato Brisson and Eric Brisson join Cancer Commons to find better treatment options for children with brain cancer

Thumbnail image for Sheri Sobrato Brisson and Eric Brisson join Cancer Commons to find better treatment options for children with brain cancer

Cancer Commons, a not-for-profit network of patients, physicians, and scientists that help identify the best options for treating an individual’s cancer, announced the launch of a new program to identify personalized treatment options for children with brain cancer. The program is funded by a generous lead gift from Atherton resident Sheri Sobrato Brisson, a pediatric brain tumor […]

Click to read more →

M-A teacher Kent Kurris shepherds the school’s music program to continued excellence – and another Big Band Dance

Thumbnail image for M-A teacher Kent Kurris shepherds the school’s music program to continued excellence – and another Big Band Dance

Except for a few years owning a wine store in Capitola, it’s music that’s been front and center in Menlo-Atherton High School teacher Kent Kurris’ life. He plays both the piano and the French horn and has taught at both the high school and college level, starting in 2010 at M-A, overseeing two classes of orchestra, the concert band, […]

Click to read more →

Betty Hilmer shares memories of her adobe house in Atherton

Thumbnail image for Betty Hilmer shares memories of her adobe house in Atherton

An adobe house in Atherton? Don’t think pueblo or cliff dwelling. The house that caught Robert and Betty Hilmer’s eye over 50 years ago is a mid-century modern gem. “We happened on it by chance,” Betty recalled, sitting in the family room of a house that’s largely unchanged since they moved in in 1956. “We were […]

Click to read more →

Local athletes Seth Weil and KK Clark complete their Olympics in Rio

Thumbnail image for Local athletes Seth Weil and KK Clark complete their Olympics in Rio

Menlo Park native and M-A grad Seth Weil, along with Henrik Rummel, Charlie Cole,  and Matt Miller, were thought to be medal contenders at this year’s Olympics. But the four-men rowing team finished fourth in the semis. Only the top three in each heat go to the A final (a total of six teams) with a shot at medals. The U.S. team rowed in […]

Click to read more →

Renato Iwersen talks cars – and morphing emotions and video

Thumbnail image for Renato Iwersen talks cars – and morphing emotions and video

We first encountered Renato Iwersen in downtown Menlo Park. It was the automobile that he was standing next to that got our attention — a 1947 Chrysler Windsor. We wanted to know more, both about the car and his Menlo Park-based startup, Cynny Inc. Renato acknowledged that he’s always been into old cars. “I’ve had the Chrysler […]

Click to read more →

Aviation pioneer Col. Joe F. Cotton “takes his last flight” at age 94

Thumbnail image for Aviation pioneer Col. Joe F. Cotton “takes his last flight” at age 94

Aviation pioneer Col. Joe F. Cotton died peacefully at his Atherton home on May 5. Burial was private; the family plans to hold a celebration of his life in July. “My father has always been a legend in my eyes,” his daughter, Connie Jo Cotton, told Living Legends. “Colonel Joe F. Cotton started his flying career in […]

Click to read more →