Pattern Play….

Last night, I found myself at 10:30pm playing around with different fabric samples I pulled a few days ago for a client.  They are a couple in the Castro area of San Francisco who live on the second floor a converted Victorian.  I have been hired to do the living room and it is a tight space, as the case normally is with most Victorian conversions – it is a long, lean room with soaring ceilings.  However, the architectural interest that comes to mind when you think “Victorian” has been ripped out – the moldings are whimsy, the wall paneling has been long removed and the fireplace mantle is “meh” to say the least.  I would love to come in and do a full remodel to bring this starlet back to its leading lady status.


As is in most cases with my clients, they are first time home owners who have extended themselves to the max to purchase in this hot San Francisco real estate market.  Funds are slim – like I am calling in favors slim – so much of the high impact (and high budget) architectural details have to be shelved for another day.   I did find money in the budget to build new shelving, re-tile the fireplace, put in new hardwoods and install a window seat.  Fingers crossed, I can swing new stair railings in glass and walnut using an out of the box trick – it may or may not work …we will see.

All that said, since I won’t have a ton of architectural elements to play with in this room, I am going to be leaning heavily on textiles to tell a store and add visual interest.  While I am pretty positive, the clients will not go in this direction, I am currently in love with this fabric story……

Clockwise: Pindler & Pindler Whimsy in Shimmer//JAB Velvet in Tizian //Beacon Hill Camaraderie in Smoke//Pindelr & Pindler Goldleaf in Dove

I would use the Whimsy fabric as drapery with a dark or black leading edge to tone down some the “cuteness” in this fabric.  It may reappear as a pillow on the sofa which I would do in an inexpensive linen in a taupe color.  Pillows would be made in Camaraderie while I would recover their round ottoman in the Goldleaf fabric with contrast piping.  A sleek Milo Baughman inspired chair would be treated to the yellow velvet potentially with grey calf leather accents.

This is a work in progress – so we will see what happens when all is said and done, but this fabric story has all the criteria I strive for: color, pattern, texture, sheen and my personal favorite, a sense of humor.

Alrighty, I am off to continue my search for steel casement French doors – either vintage or someone who can make them at a price point that I don’t have to hoc my first-born.

Have a GREAT weekend!!!

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99 Problems & Shelving IS One of Them……

I recently started a new project for a great couple in the Castro area of San Francisco.  They live in a converted Victorian row house, occupying the top floor. They hired me to work on their entry, foyer and living space which I am excited to tackle.  However, being that they are a young couple who just purchased the home, design funds are limited to say the least.  As with many new homeowners, they have a big want list which I am slowly weeding down based on the budget.

When I took on this project, the first thing I asked them was if this was their “forever home,” starter home or an investment property because it changes how I will allocate the budget.   Based on their response, I thought it best to invest the largest portion of the budget to address some structural changes to the space including the demo of an odd pony wall, addition of a window seat and built-in shelving in the living room.

Opting to spend a chunk of my budget on these items are two-fold: (1) these changes, while not only beautiful will add resale value and (2) since space is tight, I need to use every nook and cranny to maximum utility.  At the moment, I am fixated on figuring out the layout of the shelving trying to take into consideration the couple’s “large” flat screen TV (I think the technical term is “freaking huge”), the request not to change the existing fireplace or mantel and their mandate for sleek and comfortable with a European feel.  So here are some options I have come up with so far…..

Traditional with a combination of open and closed storage.  Since solid wood isn’t  an option, we would do it in a medium tone veneer.

A tad more rustic, this option uses reclaimed wood (a splurge) but the tension between the Victorian elements of the house and the aged nature of the wood could be fantastic……or really really bad.

This is our least expensive option, which uses Ikea floating shelves in a high white lacquer.  Paint the back walls a dramatic color and with the right accessories, it could be quite dramatic and dynamic……

The last option would what I am calling “encased” because  we would build an open case to hold the shelves but the back would remain open.  I love the “x” design at the base that can hold wood for the fireplace or books.  It’s a nice bit of geometric interest in a pretty straight-forward built-in.  I want to do a grey wash to the shelving which I think would give the built-ins more interest.

I have a few more ideas percolating but they all are dependent on pricing of materials.  I am meeting with the contractor today to discuss options and get his take since in the end, I can create it but his team needs to do the hard part and build it!

Okay, I am off to meetings and to handle a family emergency that has cropped up.  Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable weekend!  Remember, life is too short not to live it up……

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