I fancy myself as a detective looking for the evidence of how a company or a person lives, before putting on my designer hat. I consider what can be saved and expanded on, before purchasing new. No two of my projects are anything alike because no two people or businesses are alike. I believe the natural way we live in our spaces, whether that be personal or business, is at the root of any effective design project. I am fortunate to have many construction artisans to give these spaces life.

My Background:

I grew up among the redwood trees in the Cascade Canyon of Mill Valley, California, not far from where I live today. My summers were often spent watching the construction of my grandfather’s classic adobe homes, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His name was Leon Watson and he taught my mother Jane Robbins, how to draw and build. Their legacy is naturally part of my own.

In the early seventies after college I worked with many talented display people in the San Francisco downtown Macy’s. My displays attracted the attention of Burton Goldberg who brought me to Miami, Florida, to design 130 rooms in his establishment: The Hotel Mutiny. The three year project consisted of rooms of various themes. The private club was notorious for the Colombian cowboys as well as the actors who played them in the movies of that decade. The following ten years my husband Carlos Castro and I, continued to build restaurants and nightclubs and eventually our gallery Antares, known for artistically embellished one-of-a-kind furniture.

Today, I continue to design residential and retail projects as well as transform furnishings. I love to convert found materials into one of a kind products available through my shop: Antares Furnishings. When I find a set of old funnels I build them into light fixtures or an old leather coat into handbags. I believe in using what I have before buying something new. No matter whether I find an empty space and willing clients to explore with or altering a lamp with sprayed metal finishes, I am excited about transformation and the possibilities that exist. 

Carolyn Robbins