Q&A With Jeanie Kluester

Did you always know you wanted to be an architect? 

I’ve always been artistic and loved to draw. Originally, I wanted to be an interior designer when I was in high school, and my sister encouraged me to become an architect. She had wanted me to go to Cal Poly SLO because she’d heard it was a great architecture school. I did, and it was!

What drew you to wellness?  

The first project I led was the Golden Door Spa at the Boulders Resort, and I was so intrigued with the aspect of spa and wellness. Architecture influences how people feel in general but the ability to design something specifically for people to decompress and be more present at the moment was and still is very rewarding. 

 Do you have a favorite project? 

I spent 12 years working off and on again for a project in Middleburg Virginia called Salamander Resort and Spa.  It was such an amazing experience even through the ups and downs of the great recession but thankfully the client found a new investor to build the resort exactly as we had designed it!  It was such a joy to walk through it finally and see everything built exactly how we designed it. PLUS, it was a thrill to meet Tim Gunn at the grand opening who is a close friend of the client.

Can you tell us a fun fact, or something we might not know about you? ‘

Native-born to California but raised in Minnesota – then I went back to California for college. Another fun fact is that my first spa project as an architect was with TLEE Spas’ Tracy Lee back in 1999. It was The Golden Door at the Boulders Resort, where she was the senior spa director.

Favorite Food? 

Fresno Fig Hamburger at Eureka with lavender iced tea – not healthy at all but a simple pleasure!

Favorite Film? 

Elf, Forrest Gump, and surprisingly Silence of the Lambs.

Favorite Book? 

Not big on self-care but enjoyed Untamed by Glennon Doyle.  We should all channel our inner cheetah and trust we can do hard things!

How do you unwind?

Spending time in my backyard is my therapy. Whether it be planting, building a succulent wall, or simply having a cappuccino on the back deck with my family or friends, it’s connecting back to nature that always works for me.

What is your bucket list destination?  

Morocco, but I always defer to safer destinations. Currently, I have a three-way tie between Croatia, Portugal, and Phuket. I think Portugal may win this year. One day I will get to Morocco!