Orinda’s Interior Designer is a “Bell Epoch”

(Mark Bell, Photographer)
Orinda resident Vanessa Bell, interior designer and owner of Vanessa Bell Design, said she loves designing so much, that if she ever won the Lotto, she would design for free.

    Vanessa Bell never slows down. With her entire adolescence having been devoted to dancing with the San Francisco Ballet, her interior design career, with its fast tempo and artistic staging, perfectly suits this sought-after Orindan.
    Despite the many wrenches the pandemic hurls at the economy, business at Vanessa Bell Design flourishes. As she and husband Mark adjust to the empty-nester lifestyle, a demanding schedule also keeps her lonesomeness for daughter Brinly, a college sophomore in Santa Barbara, and Mason, a college senior in Santa Clara, at a reasonable level.
    Vanessa Bell’s longstanding reputation for interior design, lighting and decor is well established in the East Bay and beyond, stretching all the way to Hawaii.
    Although Mark is an ad man (the two met while working at a San Francisco advertising agency – she as a producer and he, an art director – she politely refuses his offers to create ads for her business.
    In 2007, the Bells purchased Berkeley’s Omega Too, now known as Omega Lighting & Design (OL&D).
    Vanessa began helping clients with their decorative lighting needs. She quickly built a solid and successful reputation, which, over the past 15 years, quickly expanded to decorating and, ultimately, entire home renovations.
    The forced introspection of lockdown in 2020 allowed her time to reorganize her priorities and restructure her professional path. Although Vanessa remains affiliated with Omega Lighting & Design, where she and her husband frequently collaborate on lighting projects together, she decided time had come to focus full-time on her Vanessa Bell Design business.
    “Working together at OL&D, we made a good team,” said Mark Bell, who continues to run the bustling business at the lighting retail and repair shop in Berkeley. “But working as two individual businesses, we now make a great team.”
    In the expanded design capacity, Vanessa enjoys incorporating her interior architectural studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
    When helping clients navigate a renovation, she is often hired to help create and fine-tune the vision for the contractor.
    Her signature “keep what makes a home unique” approach, versus tearing a structure down to the studs and completely rebuilding, has proven quite popular. Not only is it often less expensive and less disruptive, but she feels more of the home’s true personality emerges in the transformation. She has a keen eye for envisioning how, in many instances, a few changes can create design magic.
    “If we were both movies,” said Mark Bell, “Vanessa is Breakfast at Tiffany’s with her style and sophistication.”
    With Mark’s original lighting fixtures, often fashioned from unique estate sale items and his antique lighting fixtures repurposing, Mark said, “As for me, I guess I’m more Young Frankenstein.”
    Omega Lighting & Design is located at 2204 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley, 510.843.3636. Vanessa Bell can be reached at 510.508.3636 or vanessa@omegalightingdesign.com.

Mimi Bommarito can be reached at editor@theorindanews.com.

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