When Oakland–based interior designer Chloe Redmond Warner landed her first internship at a design firm, she took it upon herself to redo the company’s entire supply closet. “I replaced all the pens and pencils with my preferred brand and style,” says the founder of Redmond Aldrich Design, who attended Mount Holyoke College and Harvard University Graduate School of Design. “They should have murdered me, but I was just so sure I knew best. I learned at my first job and at subsequent internships that I am not a great employee.”
More than a decade ago, Warner, who originally wanted to be an architect, got her first big break in the Bay Area design scene when her then apartment near Dolores Park in San Francisco was featured in Domino magazine. “That was all she wrote,” says the native of Missoula, Montana, and mother of two. She launched her own firm shortly after the magazine debut and went on to transform residential spaces in Hillsborough and the East Bay, and a now-defunct San Francisco restaurant, South, headed up by restaurateur Anna Weinberg.
But now, Warner, a self-admitted “speckled” fan (think polka dots, linoleum, and terrazzo), has made a name for herself in the commercial design arena, outfitting spaces such as Ayla, a bright and airy natural beauty shop in San Francisco, and McMullen, a women’s clothing boutique in Oakland with pops of blush and mustard hues, vintage family photographs, Hans Jakobsson fringe lamps, and mannequins powder-coated to match the skin tone of the store’s owner, Sherri McMullen. “A lot of the commercial projects we have done are for female entrepreneurs,” Warner explains. “And I love the idea that I could become the go-to designer for female entrepreneurs. It’s something that feels like it’s just happening organically.” She’s also busy working on offices for New York–based media company Man Repeller as well as Friends and Family, a cocktail bar opening this fall in Oakland with a wink to the 1980s and Miami Vice.
For Warner, though, scheming thoughtful spaces is more than just a job. “I love creating atmospheres,” Warner says. “I always have been sensitive to my surroundings and felt like I knew that having the power to create, change, or charge atmosphere would be great. And so it’s like an art that combines all of these materials [furniture, tile, and paint color], but it all adds up to the backdrop of a great life.”