Rebecca Ivans Amato: Living and Designing With Purpose
Her first foray into design began in her childhood bedroom in Lakewood, Colorado. Rebecca Amato spent hours rearranging the furniture in the room she shared with her two sisters, attempting to realize a version of the modernist home she admired on The Brady Bunch.
Fast forward a few decades and Rebecca Amato is still rearranging–and creating. Her visionary designs have reimagined historic San Francisco Victorians, Berkeley bungalows, and turn-of-the-last-century industrial warehouses into vibrant and distinctive spaces. Now principal architect and owner of Amato Architecture, a company she started in 2002, Amato employs a team of five designers who help her turn every project into a unique environment configured for the way people want to enjoy life.
After graduating from the Environmental Design program in 1988 from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Rebecca’s career almost immediately took on a cosmopolitan flair. She moved to San Francisco where she worked for Huntsman Associates on commercial interiors. Then, after obtaining her architecture license in 1995, she pursued an opportunity to work in the Chitwan jungle in Nepal for 3 months. An 18-month exploration of Southeast Asia followed, including a design stint for Bangkok-based Woods Bagot.
Her next job at HOK in San Francisco sent her to Beijing and Hong Kong to work on large hotel projects. Desiring to work outside the corporate environment, Rebecca next joined IN:SITE Design Build Association to gain project management skills and lead large design projects in a smaller team environment.
After starting a family in 2003 and then designing a 1,200 square foot addition to her own residence, Rebecca gained insight into the needs and unique tribulations of a family attempting to overhaul their home. Her residential work often includes repurposed space and multi-use options (such as a residential conversion of a storage room into a laundry/music/guest room) or imaginative build-outs like a children’s play-loft above adjacent bedroom closets. A redesigned, unique kitchen with inside/outside bar access will be on display September 23-24, 2017 during the Rockridge neighborhood Kitchen Tour.
One outstanding example of Amato’s commercial work is The Pearl, a recently completed, exclusive event space in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. A steel crane system across the ceiling of the former boiler factory was fixed in place to structurally support a new rooftop deck, then utilized below to house event lighting while also functioning as a decorative planter. A spin-off of that project is a marquee event space (now under construction) in Oakland’s Jack London Square featuring the United Beerworks brewery, also designed by Amato Architecture.
A favorite of Rebecca’s projects that is also currently under construction is a new two-level, modern vacation home on the beach in Maui, outside of Lahaina. “It doesn’t get much better when you get to travel to Hawaii with your family to see one of your projects under construction,” Rebecca said. “I really do feel I am living the life I dreamed where travel, family and my design passion all come together!”