Martin came to design in a roundabout way. She was born on a tiny Missouri farm to a family of German-American winemakers and farmers, and she grew up tending chickens and driving tractors in the hay fields, seemingly a world away from high-end interior design.
But on many evenings after coming in from the pastures, she and her grandfather would sit together on the front porch and silently pore over a book on Japanese antiquities. "Where a farmer in rural Missouri got such a book is a mystery," says Jessica Martin, her daughter. "But it definitely left an imprint on her life and helped her develop a love for the Japanese aesthetic."
"The original staircase was really a ladder," says Jessica. "I had a hard time imagining how my mom would fit proper stairs into the space, but I had no doubt they would be beautiful." Minimalist floating stair treads were Martin's answer.