In chef Alice Waters’s house in Berkeley, California, “a small table…has a view out to her edible garden. This is where Alice likes to start her day, with a cup of tea and some reading,” writes the photographer Leslie Williamson, who visited the Chez Panisse founder (and a dozen other eminent Californians) at home for her new book.
Williamson’s book is titled Interior Portraits, but some of the most telling images are of the gardens that are part of daily life. In addition to Waters’s wild tumble of backyard roses and raspberry bushes, Williamson offers us an intimate tour of the poet Robinson Jeffers’s coastal cottage in Carmel; architect Donlyn Lyndon’s favorite windswept trails at the Sea Ranch, and artist Alma Allen’s desert studio, at the end of a dirt road.
Let’s visit Alice Waters at home, and in the garden, with the author.
Photography by Leslie Williamson.
On her first visit to Waters’s house a few years ago, Williamson photographed the garden for landscape designer Janet Hankinson, who created an artful mix of ornamental and edible plants in the backyard. Heirloom roses, cherry tomatoes, and a patch of mint are equally at home.
On her most recent visit, Williamson found Waters working at home and photographed the garden and interiors of the house during a day of “meetings, phone calls, visitors, and more,” she writes. “Yet even with five people milling around, the house was still remarkably peaceful, a classic Craftsman with all its dark woodwork and details restored to their original luster.”
For photographer Williamson, “editing the hundreds of images down to the mere twenty or so that will share each person and his or her home story in a compelling and beautiful chapter is one of the challenges of making these books.”
It’s a challenge she met admirably.
More from Northern California:
- See another Berkeley garden by Janet Hankinson at The Landscape Designer Is In: Drought Tolerant, Deer Resistant—and on a Budget—In Berkeley
- A Berkeley Kitchen Tour with Alice Waters and Fanny Singer on Remodelista
- Writers at Work: At Home with Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman
- Before & After: A Landscape Where ‘Horticultural Worlds Collide’ at Scribe Winery