Cillesa interior design & space planning

Larry & Regina, Oakland, CA


Cillesa was a tremendous asset from start to finish on our kitchen renovation project. She was full of creative ideas during space planning. And, she patiently guided us through the many decisions we had to make, always giving us several (but not too many!) options. When we decided to go with custom metal cabinets and a zinc island top as part of the design, she pulled out all the stops to find someone to make them. We could not have pulled the project off without her longstanding relationships with craftspeople and suppliers. While a major remodeling job should be exciting and rewarding, it also can at times be stressful. Cillesa managed those stressful moments calmly and sweated all the details.

–Larry & Regina, Oakland, CA

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Karl & Jane, Hillsborough, CA

We were most fortunate that our architect recommended Cillesa to us for our kitchen design. Our antiquated kitchen built in 1935 presented challenges, including structural idiosyncrasies, that made the remodel more difficult. We had sought input from two previous kitchen designers—both of whom provided us with no possible solutions for our remodel and, in fact, seemed put off by the challenges of our kitchen. When Cillesa arrived for her first complimentary visit with us, her excitement about the potential remodel was refreshing and her enthusiasm contagious. Even before we contracted with her, Cillesa recommended innovative strategies that creatively reconfigured our limited space.

Throughout our lengthy nine-month kitchen / dining room / bathroom remodel project, Cillesa coordinated closely with our architect and contractor—both of whom found it extremely easy to work with her. She was detail-oriented and conscientious, while being most cognizant of our budgetary constraints. We especially appreciated her expertise as she guided us through the choice of artisans who constructed our cabinetry and crafted our granite countertops. The professionals she works with are equally as creative and conscientious as Cillesa, and we greatly appreciated their talented work.

Cillesa has an important quality that most people facing a remodel forget to consider when choosing a design expert. Cillesa quickly comprehends what type of atmosphere the home owner is trying to accomplish and gently guides her clients in all their selections to assure that the final outcome meets their expectations—not just in craftsmanship, but also in the environment created. Her gracious, yet professional, demeanor is seen in all her interactions and in her work.

We feel extremely blessed that Cillesa was willing to take on our difficult remodeling project and know absolutely that without her, we would not have had such a beautiful outcome. Everyone who has visited our home agrees that she helped us achieve a warm and welcoming, yet elegant, atmosphere—and we are so grateful for her expertise.

–Karl & Jane, Hillsborough, CA

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Road Testing the Nest Learning Thermostat

Yes, even thermostats can be high design. I recently got to test the innovative Nest Learning Thermostat for CNET’s AlwaysOn with Molly Wood. It was a great experience.

Molly always does the best device torture tests, so if you want to see how an iPad Mini survives being knocked into a sink full of dishwater, check out her show.

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Welcome to the new website!

Welcome to the redesign of!

I am excited to share the new Cillesa website with you. We’ve added lots of cool features, including new portfolio photographs—with some dramatic before and after images—in an all-new gallery with much-improved navigation. I’m also pleased to introduce my blog, called Chirp, where I’ll be offering design commentary, insights on design trends, photos from current projects, and articles I’m writing for media outlets.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you check back often to see what’s new.


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Kana & Steve, Moraga, CA

As we started to get serious about remodeling our kitchen, dining room and living space, my husband and I knew we needed design help. We found that one of the biggest advantages of working with Cillesa was that we got space planning and design all in one person. We went back and forth on how best to change the layout of our house. Cillesa highly recommended we move our kitchen to our family room, an idea we hadn’t even considered. Cillesa is very good at space planning – the elegance is actually in the simplicity of the design resulting in a functional and aesthetically pleasing space. The result is a kitchen, dining room and living space that is truly unique and custom. Cillesa is easy to work with and professional at every turn. We appreciated her input throughout the entire process from design to construction to the finishing touches. In the end, her effort helped us save time, money and costly mistakes. She is conscientious and follows through to ensure that her clients get the results they want.

–Kana & Steve, Moraga, CA

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Helen & Eric, Oakland Hills, CA

Cillesa is a marvel. We had been in our home for 10 years, wanted to improve it, and just didn’t know how. Cillesa sat down with us and was able to help us articulate the kind of living environment we wanted, and then identified the changes that would make the most impact. She drew up a set of options, each more exciting, and we were able to find the right approach for our budget. She oversaw all construction – we were so comfortable with her abilities, that the floors and walls were done while we were on vacation. My husband and I have made a pact to not touch the house without Cillesa’s guiding hand. She saves us time, money, and worry, and we love the outcome!

–Helen & Eric, Oakland Hills, CA

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Eileen & Julio, Orinda, CA

Working with Cillesa, remodeling our 1950s rancher was a breeze from start to finish. She is economical, and yet incredibly creative, when it comes to using space. If you’re working on a tight budget, as we were, she’ll help you figure out how to save some money “over here” so you can spend it “over there.” When she helped me select appliances at a showroom, she pointed out important functional and stylistic details that I, frankly, would have overlooked on my own.

She’s meticulous and well-organized and will keep you—and later, during construction, your contractor—on track. No detail is too small, and nothing falls through the cracks. When friends and neighbors visit and express “kitchen envy,” I tell them, in a heartbeat, to hire Cillesa.

–Eileen & Julio, Orinda, CA

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Carrie & Pat, Piedmont, CA

We highly recommend working with Cillesa. She is able to look at challenging spaces and design effective solutions that make a real difference.

Cillesa listened to our needs and assisted us with optimal space planning as we moved into our new home. Later, she designed a nursery and transformed a 1940s wood-paneled room into a wonderful office that is now our favorite room.

Cillesa has gone the extra mile to help us create great spaces that make our lives better.

–Carrie & Pat, Piedmont, CA

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Hannah & John, Moraga, CA

We have worked with Cillesa for over five years, and are continually impressed with her professionalism, her creativity, and her ability to read our minds. She listens to us and we never feel as if she is imposing her design direction upon us. Cillesa’s warm and positive interactions with everyone she works with – clients, contractors, vendors – are evidence that she loves what she does and that she does her job well. Before we embarked on our kitchen remodel/office and bath expansion, we met with a number of architects and kitchen designers. No one had the ideas that Cillesa did, which in the end brought us greater functionality to our space and saved us money.

–Hannah & John, Moraga, CA

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Dan & Judy, San Francisco, CA

Cillesa is our “go to” expert in all matters relating to any changes we make to our home. She is an outstanding problem solver and creative catalyst. She brings these talents together in a manner that stays true to our preferences but simultaneously exposes us to new combinations and possibilities. Cillesa is a first class colorist, combining paints, tile, granite, wood and hardware in pleasing combinations that flow harmoniously throughout the rooms. She is an expert in the use of lighting, both the types of fixtures and their optimal placement. Her attention to detail is exceptional. Our contractor noted that the speed and ease within which our plans were approved by the City was in great measure a result of the clarity of the drawings Cillesa prepared. In each project we have undertaken with her guidance Cillesa has established and reinforced a team climate with all those engaged in the effort. This has resulted in the resolution of issues in a manner that always placed our best interests over expediency without sacrificing harmonious working relationships. The daily enjoyment we experience in our home is a direct result of Cillesa’s talent and commitment.

- Dan & Judy, San Francisco, CA

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