Catalina Marin and Rodrigo Maturana have worked hard to create a family home their three children can love—a home that happens to be thousands of miles away from the couple’s own extended family. Catalina and Rodrigo were both raised in Chile and moved to Sonoma County nearly a decade ago for Rodrigo’s career. The home they’ve created here reflects both the history of the couple’s native country and new traditions they’ve formed within their Sonoma community.
Catalina was raised in the country’s capital, Santiago, in a family of artists and makers. She and Rodrigo met in business school, and they each built careers in marketing (Rodrigo in the wine industry, Catalina with international corporations like L’Oréal and PepsiCo). When the couple settled in Sonoma, they realized they had an opportunity to redefine the balance between their work and family lives and create a relaxed but design-forward home that connects the threads of the international life they’ve built together.
Catalina, whose eye for design was cultivated by her artist mother, envisioned the family’s home in Healdsburg with a blend of midcentury and contemporary pieces, all united by a sense of history.
“Your house has to speak your language,” she says. “A home without a story has no soul.”
The couple’s own story centers on an appreciation of craft and nature: the lamp made by a local friend from a gourd grown on their farm, seashells and stones collected on Chilean beaches during trips to visit family, paintings by their oldest daughter on the walls—and now, hand-loomed pillows and blankets from Catalina’s textile business.
Growing up, Catalina spent summers camping and riding horses on the rugged coastal island of Chiloé, near Patagonia, where subsistence traditions of farming and weaving carry local families through the seasons. The island displays a wildly beautiful landscape of beaches, weathered wooden churches, brightly painted fishing cabins, and lush pastures dotted with sheep. Local artisans weave wool blankets and other textiles to earn income in the winter, when farming and fishing aren’t as fruitful.
Catalina’s business, TREKO Chile, imports the creations of these rural artisans, preserving traditional sheepshearing, weaving, and dyeing techniques while opening up the beauty of their craftsmanship to new eyes.
“It’s not just preserving Chilean craft, but the specific traditions of this one island,” explains Catalina. “I’ll ask one of our artists, for example, ‘How did you make this particular loop,’ and then we might create a design together with a thousand of those same loops in one pillow. It’s embracing all of that beauty that they have in a contemporary way.”
One advantage of the natural wools and dyes used in Treko designs is that they are incredibly resilient and family friendly. At the family’s Healdsburg home, these traditional textiles are lived with every day—and hold up well with all of the small (and sometimes large) messes that come along with three kids. There’s an heirloom-quality wool throw on the back of the couch and hand-loomed pillows on the beds, all done with a casual care that communicates that this is a family home.
“A house cannot be a museum,” says Catalina. “My kids know they can put their feet up on things; they can jump on the couch. It is a resilient home.”
There are also big meals around the dining table, games of soccer in the backyard (both Rodrigo and son Santiago, 11, are huge soccer fans), and getting together with the neighbors. “I feel that’s what we do in Chile,” says Catalina. “We’re always with our families, and now our friends here are our family.”
Barbecues are popular, as are empanada-making parties where the couple’s younger daughter, 9-yearold Catita, takes the lead in kneading the dough and spooning in the filling. At the New Year, Catalina makes pastel de choclo, a casserole of sweet corn, onions, ground beef, and eggs cooked in individual clay pots for each member of the family.
Catalina cultivates an appreciation for art with her children, in the way that her parents did as she was growing up. “The gift of art is everywhere,” she says, explaining how her grandfather took her hiking, pointing out tiny details in the way the leaves of a plant grew together.
The couple’s older daughter, Renata, 12, carries on the family artistic tradition, recently working on a series of beautifully expressive black-and-white portraits on brown butcher paper that Catalina had framed for the corner of the living room. Catalina keeps all three of the kids busy with open-ended art projects and outdoorsy experiences to continue to foster creativity.
“We have different pens, crayons, Legos, scissors everywhere. So it’s all your imagination—it’s like you’re creating your thing,” she says.
Big projects, like repainting a room or hanging a piece of art or reviewing future designs for the textile business, are another way for the family to be creative together.
“It’s important that they always see us doing projects and working hard, so they know what it takes,” says Catalina.
As her business grows, Catalina says she will work to continue to find the balance between a busy family life and a creative, design-focused one. She would like to explore Indigenous designs from other regions of Chile as well as different natural materials like copper and ceramics.
“My dream would be the whole island and different regions of the country to be able to show what they do,” she says. “But we need to always keep our feet on the ground—and keep who we are at heart.”
For more information on Catalina Marin’s line of imported Chilean textiles, visit trekochile.com.
Like a local
Owner/designer Catalina Marin of the Healdsburg textile company TREKO Chile loves uncovering pieces with history as a way to layer texture and art in her own home. Not surprisingly, she’s a big vintage shopper.
Here are a few of her favorite spots:
This collection of 100-plus vintage vendors in an Art Deco building in Sebastopol has a wonderful bakery alongside. 2661 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol. 707-829-1733, antiquesociety.com
Catalina says she mourns the loss of the local brick-and-mortar location of this unique spot for housewares and other antiques. Fortunately, there’s still an online shop. elsiegreen.com
Elegant, one-of-a-kind jewelry and art pieces for the home, including ceramic vases and delicate wall hangings. Beautifully curated, and every artisan featured has a story to share. 303 Center St., Healdsburg. 707-433-7533, gallerylulo.com
Urban Tree Farm
Catalina loves exploring the trees, shrubs, and plants at this destination nursery. Bonus points for the chance to ride in a golf cart through the 20 acres of displays. 3010 Fulton Rd., Fulton. 707-544-4446, urbantreefarm.com