What are you looking for?

Photography by Michelle Drewes
Mother Stories

Inside the Sleek Tahoe Cabin of Heath Ceramics’ Cathy Bailey

Written by Erin Feher

Photography by Photographed by Michelle Drewes

Many of you probably know and love Heath Ceramics—the company’s swoon-worthy tile and dreamy dinnerware almost always tops the wishlist of anyone diving into a home makeover, wedding registry, or kitchen upgrade. But not everyone knows the story behind the Northern California brand’s rebirth nearly two decades ago. Cathy Bailey was a star industrial designer and creative director (she was handpicked to join Nike while still in college, moving to Portland the day after graduation), who, with her partner Robin Petravic, was looking for the next creative challenge. It came when they stumbled into the 50-year-old ceramics factory founded by Edith Heath. The Sausalito, CA-based company was struggling, but Cathy and Robin immediately understood the value of the handmade tiles, plates, mugs, and vases that were being produced there and set out to carry on Edith’s legacy. They bought the company and breathed in new life, while still staying true to the values of making beautiful things with good intentions—the couple’s “slow business” approach holds creativity, quality, and transparency above all else. And it’s been working: Since Cathy and Robin took over, the company has grown from 25 employees to 276, from $1.2 million in sales to $30 million, and added a lofty creative hive, second factory, and showroom in San Francisco’s Mission District. Cathy, who lives with her husband and teenage son, Jasper, just up the road from the original Sausalito factory, recently bought and renovated a family cabin near Tahoe, where they can enjoy some much-needed downtime and focus on family and creative pursuits. Cathy recently invited us over one especially snowy day, showed us around, and dished on everything from growing a business, to raising a teen boy, to designing a room with good social vibes. Click through the slideshow below for the full tour and interview.

Write a Comment

  1. sita says...

    Dream home! Love everything about it, and the location, and her color palettes are perfection to me.

Share this story