Debey Zito and Terry Schmitt

There’s a key principle of the Arts and Crafts Movement that few artisans fully grasp; and of those who have, even fewer have pursued and found the opportunities to apply their understanding. That principle is the unity of the arts, and it’s only at the architectural scale, in the collaboration of many trades, that one is able to fully express that ideal. But it requires more than design to accomplish. The interior designer or architect, at least in my experience, must also be an accomplished artisan. Because truly fulfilling the ideal of the unity of the arts requires both a comprehensive view of the project and a facility with detail—a facility at that particular level that only an artisan is truly engaged with.

Zito Schmitt Design, the work of Debey Zito and Terry Schmitt, fits that bill. Debey started her studio in San Francisco in 1980 building furniture, but also immersing herself in architecture and interiors. Terry Schmitt came on as an apprentice, bringing carpentry skills and fine art training as a student at San Francisco State. Discovering carving tools at Debey’s studio, she now especially excels in woodcarving, which is often painted. With those indispensable backgrounds, the team now focuses on interior design, which, as they say on their website, “is a collaborative process, working closely with clients, builders, consultants, fabricators, and artists.”

If you’re considering building or remodeling and would like to have the project guided by the timeless spirit of the Arts and Crafts Movement—a collaborative, comprehensive design sensibility grounded in masterful handcraft—I whole-heartedly recommend Debey Zito and Terry Schmitt, and Zito Schmitt Design.

A sampling of interiors by Zito Schmitt Design—

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Zito Schmitt Voysey fireplaceZito Schmitt dining roomZito Schmitt dining room detail

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Selected Press:

The Press Democrat, “Sebastopol woman creates magic in wood” by Meg Mcconahey, January 9th, 2015

Curbed, “Nationally-renowned, intricate woodworking has roots in Bay Area” by Daphne White, December 27th, 2019

Sonoma West Marketplace, “West County woodworkers draw on nature for heritage works of art” by David Abbott, April 13th, 2016

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