By Rose Marie Scott-Blair
Well-known Ramona interior designer Marlene Holmquist is one of 14 designers in the county chosen to participate in the annual self-guided kitchen tour put on by the local chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).
The tour will be Saturday, Oct, 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. With a $25 ticket, one can see the kitchens and
meet the designers in 14 homes all across the county.
Holmquist, who is president of Studio One Inc. Interior Design in Ramona, will showcase a kitchen she did at the home of Bruce and Barbara Crower at their ranch in Jamul.
Bruce heads Crower Cam and Equipment Co. in San Diego. He is a legend in the world of auto racing, having been a part of three Indy 500 wins. He has also been involved with Bonneville Salt Flats race cars and is a member of the Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
The Crowers’ original kitchen was long and narrow, with a larger center island hood that obstructed sight lines and inhibited conversation, Holmquist said.
“They wished for a more functional and family-friendly kitchen to accommodate the frequent visits by their children, grandchildren and great-grandkids,” she said.
The theme for the kitchen is their love of roses and features a large pop-out window that overlooks their rose garden. Colors like salmon-pink, burgundy, periwinkle blue and cream carry out the motif.
“We also subtly conveyed the theme with corbels and moldings with a rose design,” Holmquist said, “and the custom-forged refrigerator pulls are rose sculptures.”
Holmquist has a background that’s quite a bit different from most interior designers. She earned a degree in graphic design from California Polytechnic Institute with the intention of becoming a graphic artist, a career she pursued for 10 years until she was rear-ended in a car accident. After that she was unable to sit at a drafting table for hours on end so she looked for a new occupation.
She switched to her new profession 25 years ago in 1986 and she loves it, but says that it is very misunderstood.
“The interior design profession has an air of mystery to it, and some people don’t really know what we do and are skeptical about hiring one,” she said. “The misconception is that design services will cost too much with too little benefit to justify the investment. In reality we are an advocate for the client and can save them time and money.”
As an example, she cited a remodeling job she recently completed for pet groomers Essential Grooming in Santee.
“Two days after the owner reopened, she told me that the space is now so efficient that she can send most of her grooming staff home over an hour early each day,” Holmquist said. “This shows how an interior design investment can pay off in dollars and cents.”
Holmquist, who moved to Ramona in 1995 with her husband, Tom, is also known around town for her horse skills, having been a member of the award-winning Rainbow Riders equestrian drill team four about 14 years. And their daughter, Heidi, was the Ramona Rodeo Queen in 2002.
Holmquist is also on the advisory board for Ramona High School’s interior design program.
“I visit Nahid Nikzad’s interior design class almost every year to share my experiences as a designer,” she said. “This year the entire class is scheduled to visit my office at 1331 Ash St. on Nov. 9.”
The ASID tour will also include kitchens in Point Loma, Bay Park, La Jolla, Del Mar, Cardiff, Carlsbad, Rancho Bernardo, Poway, Tierrasanta, Del Cerro, the College area, Kensington and El Cajon. Information about tickets is at www.ASIDSanDiego.org.
Photos of the Crowers’ new kitchen can be seen under publicity on Holmquist’s website: www.studio-oneinc.com.