As interior designers, we are constantly seeking inspiration from our surroundings. Whether it’s a flash of color we see on a painting as we’re walking by an art gallery, the feel of an intricately hand-woven textile at a market in Milan, or the enticing geometric tiled floors in a Parisian café—we are always taking mental notes of our surroundings. This attention to detail searches far beyond what’s visible to the eye. Just as important to us as color, texture, and design, are the lives and stories of the amazing people we have had the pleasure of meeting and working with throughout our careers. Which is why we are turning the focus away from mood boards and color swatches to tell the stories of some of the people who have inspired us over the years
"My environment is very important to me -
it sets the mood
Cristan Crocker is a mother and documentary filmmaker who Bonesteel Trout Hall has had the pleasure of designing three very different homes for over the past eight years. As female entrepreneurs and mothers, we are extremely moved by her elegance and persistence in raising three little boys and starting a successful business: Rare Bird Films. We want to share her story with you in hopes that you might find a bit of yourself in it too. We recently sat down with Cristan in her out door living room and over some delicious cocktails, we asked her some thought provoking questions about her life and what is important to her. Here’s what she had to say:
Can you tell me a little bit about your childhood home in San Clemente? What was it like and how did it make you feel?
While the location was incredible, to me the house was too dark and it just never felt like my home. I was always trying to lighten and brighten it up.
In what ways do you think your upbringing influences what you value in a home now?
My environment is very important to me—it sets the mood for everything. My home is my sanctuary and I feel a deep sense of joy when my home is together. I also want my children and friends to get that feeling when they walk through the front door. I want everyone to feel like my home is their home and it is a place where they are always welcome to come over, relax and be safe.
"I want everyone to feel like my home is their home -- where they are always welcome to come over, relax and be safe."
How did growing up in a tiny beach town influence your style?
San Clemente, the “little pueblo by the sea,” is home to me. Growing up there gave me an appreciation for the older authentic California Spanish-style architecture. Since I was a little girl I’ve always wanted to live in an old Spanish-style house and now I finally get to! I also just love the whole beach environment: being by the ocean, the way the light comes into the house, having breeze and openness-- It’s all really important to me.
Can you tell me a little bit about what it was like to have three little boys, a husband, and be the only woman in your house?
It was amazing! I’m not a particularly religious person but they say God gives you what you need. And I have to say that having the boys in the house day-in and day-out is really what I needed. It taught me so much about our differences and similarities, about understanding, and about how to love boys and men. And I am extremely grateful for that because I was CLUELESS before!
What is the biggest change or difference you’ve seen in yourself and in your life since getting a divorce?
My divorce is one of those blessings in disguise for sure. I was able to get to know myself again and really take back my life. It forced me to dig deep inside of myself to determine what was important in my life, for ME – and just ME. Something I had never done before. And I think that is reflected in the home I bought… In the location, the decor, what I prioritize -- it is all a direct reflection of what’s important to me now. For the first time, I’m able to be the star of my own life. My world has completely opened up and I am a different person in so many ways.
"It’s the perfect house for me. Heidi, Michele and Jill do a really great job at capturing the soul of their client."
What is your favorite part about your home? How is it different from your previous homes?
This home is all mine. It’s all me. I made every single decision based from my gut and I controlled every aspect of how much I wanted to spend where I wanted everything to be. It completely represents where I am in my life, it’s the perfect house for me. Heidi, Michele and Jill do a really great job at capturing the soul of their client. They knew exactly where I was in my life and how I wanted my home to reflect that. I was willing to take many more risks with color, art and functionality than I ever did when I was married.
When did you decide you wanted to become a producer?
I think I’ve been very bossy my entire life. It might have something to do with being the oldest of four siblings but I have fully embraced it! I’ve always been interested in telling the stories of others and digging into the human condition. The idea for my first film, “The Other F Word,” came to me when I attended a book release party of “Punk Rock Dad,” which was written by my childhood friend. It took me over a year to realize that I wanted to do the film but I grew up listening to punk music and one day I woke up and said, “this is a story I can tell and this is a story I want to tell.” That’s when I pulled my partner, Andrea, who is an Academy award-nominated storyteller, into it. I knew nothing when we started but she taught us all about it and I love it. I mean this last project [“Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie”] was so hard, but I learned a lot and I am extremely proud of our work.
Your recent film, Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie, dives into Barbie’s tumultuous history and struggles. Why do you think so many girls and women have identified with Barbie for so many years?
All women struggle, we all want it all and we struggle to do it all! To take care of our kids, have a career, be a good partner – it’s not easy and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. In our efforts to have it all, we don’t always do it well or gracefully and a lot of times we make mistakes and we screw up. But regardless of race or ethnicity or nationality, we all share the same struggle as Barbie, which is to be heard, to be seen, and to be understood. I think that in her own tiny way, this little eleven-and-a-half-inch piece of plastic faces those same struggles.
"I love telling a story that allows others to have empathy for a side of life that they normally wouldn’t have."
What is your favorite part about your job as a documentary producer?
I love telling a story that allows others to have empathy for a side of life that they normally wouldn’t have. I think of it as entertaining and educating, but doing it in a soft way that doesn’t hit you over the head.
"I think my home reflects the scope and breath of my life experiences."
If a stranger walked into your house, what do you think they would be able to tell about you?
I like pink! And I think my home reflects the scope and breath of my life experiences. I hope, and I have been told this, I hope they get a sense that I am a loving and caring person. I hope they can feel the love I have in my life reflected in what I have in the house.
What are some of the things you do to unwind?
Breathe. In the evening, I like to open my French doors and let the breeze in and have quiet and just try to be still. I also like to turnoff my phone.