Maggie Kinser Hohle


Welcome to my site. For 20 years I've been writing magazine and newspaper articles and books about design, architecture, and Japan. On, you'll find links to some of my favorite work, as well as comments on recent ideas. Feel free to contact me with your thoughts.

Community. I’ve been living in the small city of Petaluma, CA, since 2007. We were drawn here by the downtown scene, because on the surface, all the small independent shops reminded us of an earlier time, and had a Midwestern feel. Having left the US for Japan in 1985, returning in 2000, I’d missed the beginning of the end for small towns and independent retailers, the big-boxing of the country. When I returned, to Pennsylvania at first, I wasn’t prepared for McMansions and new cars bought on credit and strip malls with corporate signage that had replaced people with dreams of running their own businesses. Hitting not just closer to home, but AT home, my mom’s company, Charleen Kinser Designs, was surviving on sheer willpower. It wasn’t cheap toys from China, but rather by the accompanying refusal of most people to pay more than $20.00 for a toy that had shrunk the market for handmade, beautifully designed “Forever Toys”, as my mom and dad subtitled their joint effort. They founded their business in 1977, and weren’t going to live long enough to ride the rising tide of Etsy and DIY that is (thankfully) bringing back an appreciation for thoughtful design and handmade things. A shop full of local handmade things just opened up on the corner of B and Kentucky in Petaluma. The co-owners happen to have kids at my youngest kid’s school. Then there’s the co-working space (WORK Petaluma) where I meet the independent businesspeople who choose to step outside of their home offices to convene with a community of like-minded freelancers. They join hundreds of small business owners in Petaluma, whom I’ve been steadily profiling in Petaluma Patch, just because I wanted to. I value them and our local community because I’ve been to the other side: North Jersey, from whence we came. Come visit us and I’ll introduce you to some of these dreamers whose brick and mortar dreams they let us explore. It’s not all about the price point.

Reviews of 12 Japanese Masters

Throughout the summer and into the winter of 2004, my book 12 Japanese Masters has and will be reviewed by several magazines and online sources. The reviews out so far are positive, and a welcome chin-up for this writer.


Review: Leonardo Reviews

Review: Christopher Liechty

Review: Archinect

Review: EnFuse Magazine

Review: Art Magazine

Review: Club Sandwich

More to come...

Reviews of Matchibako

Review: John Einarson

Review: Robert L Peters

Review: Dwell Magazine

Review: Leonardo Reviews