3 Design Trends Spied at the SF Decorator Showcase

One of our favorite events of the year is touring the San Francisco Decorator’s Showcase home. It’s almost like the Fashion Week of interior design where designers from all over the Bay Area come together to exhibit their talents all under one roof {literally!}. This year’s location is a beautiful historic home designed by famed Bay Area architect, Julia Morgan. Located in Presidio Heights, the home overlooks the Presidio boasting expansive views of the Bay and that mighty fine looking Golden Gate Bridge of ours!

Since each room is designed by a different designer, you’re hit with all types of styles, tastes and interior inspiration. There was so much visual interest to take in, it was hard to even find time to blink. We could have easily spent several hours exploring and we still would have missed some killer details—it was just that stunning.

While there was an overload of inspiration to report back on, here were some of our biggest trend takeaways {the rest you’ll just have to go see for yourself!}:


1. Green is Gold. Various shades of green were used as the wall color choice for several rooms, but we were especially obsessed with the look of the matte, Hunter Green walls of Will Wick’s master bedroom. The color seemed to shift dramatically depending on which way the light hit the room—adding an additional layer of drama to the space’s already edgy feel. The use of all sorts of green hues throughout the home proved just how dynamic the color can be and for that reason it earned a spot at the forefront of our minds for future decorating projects {like this one!}.


2. Embrace Destruction. While a lot of interior design has a tendency to be super pristine and polished {and spendy!}, we love the look of subtle imperfections that give a room character and a sense of realness. Brittany Haines of Authenticity B layered in that sense of “realness” for the Showcase home’s office space. From a desk made from charred wood to a worn, lightly frayed antique rug, the room embraced life’s natural “wear and tear” to create an utterly sophisticated, yet still super approachable look.


3. Walls as Art. Of course we’re familiar with the concept of hanging art on walls, but Cecilie Starin took the idea to another level by commissioning Bay Area muralist Ian Ross to create a custom-painted, canvas wallpaper. Suddenly the walls themselves became the work of art! The organic, energetic lines of the hand painted walls played perfectly with some insanely badass gold accents to create a jaw-dropping look that can’t even be summarized with words.

These were just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the all the design happenings going on inside the 2015 Decorator Showcase house. It’s truly a must-see for any design fiends in the Bay Area. The house itself will be open for viewing through Memorial Day weekend so be sure to check it out for yourself if you’re in town! You can find all of the details on the Decorator Showcase website. If you’ve already visited, we’d love to know what design detail caught your eye!

image 1& 2 by Patrik Argast // 3 &4 by Bess Friday // 5 via Cecilie Starin // 6 by Ali Hartwell

Color Coded: How to Go Gray in a Good Way!

Here in San Francisco, our dear friend Karl the Fog isn’t shy when it comes to making his appearance this time of year. Just as the months are getting warmer he arrives in full force. It’s a rare thing to look at the horizon and not see an ominous gray blanket slowly creeping through the streets. It’s similar to the way gray hairs are tending to creep out of nowhere on my head – hence, why most people tend to associate the color with BUZZKILL! In spite of all that, we still happen to love the color gray. In fact, as the spaces below illustrate, we’re here to prove goin’ gray has never looked better!

gray-room-inspo-apartment34Est-Magazine-Flack-Studio-LivingTDC.Sleepyhead_5307-02grey-inspiration_apartment34 color-coded-grey-apartment34lotta-agaton-interiors_01

We’re obsessed with the moody yet calming look that gray can offer. Whether it be a dark charcoal on walls, soft heather gray on furniture or monochromatic artwork – the spectrum of “gray” is one of the most versatile and inoffensive palettes out there.

By layering your gray tones and mixing your textures you can add lusicious depth and interest to any room. The living room above with its variety of gray textiles and black & white artwork feels cozy and inviting rather than cold. A pop of natural wood also helps warm things up. The bathroom above is a great example of that. The wood vanity, divan and wall mirror contrast with the slate tones beautifully. Are you swooning over it as much as we are??

Whether you apply gray with a light touch or fully commit to the singular color palette, it’s a softer way to play on classic black & white. We say gray, you’re welcome inside of our homes annnytimeee {just stay out of our skies and hair!}.

Do you agree??

image 1 greg cox for elle decoration uk // 2 brooke holm for est magazine // 3 the design chaser // 4 carolina bak for loft // 5 est magazine // 6 lotta agaton

A Trip to L.A. to Admire Design

Design is in the details. That’s a phrase you might commonly associate within fashion. From expertly executed hand-stitched couture to a custom fitted suit, I know details make a world of difference in how you look and how you feel. It’s also something I pay very close attention to when I travel. I don’t know about you, but I’m always noticing what font a hotel uses on their soap packaging, or whether they offer a modern room key or a super cool alternative to those ugly floral comforters {do they ever wash those btw?}. But how often do we stop to think about design details elsewhere, like in a car? We certainly hadn’t until we were introduced to Lincoln’s new and most creative line of cars: Lincoln Black Label.

Instead of leading with discussions of torque or horsepower {because let’s be honest, those numbers really mean nothing to us!}, Lincoln has chosen to lead with design through four different themes inspired by four different moods: Modern Heritage, a classic and elegant sensibility focusing on clean lines without opulence; Center Stage, about dramatic, attention grabbing moments; Indulgence, with an emphasis on luxe sumptuous materials; and Oasis, inspired by a dream escape to the ultimate eco-spa. Taking the whole idea one step further, Lincoln decided to style a house in Los Angeles that further personified their design inspirations. A gorgeous home in the Hollywood Hills? Now that was something we could definitely understand. And for attention-to-detail suckers like ourselves, we were intrigued to learn more so Bianca traveled to L.A. to see it all in person {and get a jolt of inspiration from the City of Angels – lucky gal!}.

lincoln-black-label-3The luxe black leather sofa and pop art prints of Hollywood icons definitely take “Center Stage” in this living room.

black-label-lincoln-apartment-34The patterned leather seat in the Modern Heritage car was so yummy – we wanted to turn it into a handbag!

While in LA, we sat down with Lincoln’s color and materials design manager, Janet Seymour, who talked us through the process of designing for Black Label. The four themes were designed specifically to attract different personalities. With an artisanal type of approach to design, the team has focused on materials and exploring creative ways to design a car around an experience and “creating a desire.”

Everything from exterior paint color and sheen, to grains and textures, to designer woods {did you know you can design the grain of a wood exactly how you want it?! So cool!} to leather and fabrics, the team has looked at trends in fashion, travel and food to really create the most detail focused car out there. “Subtlety through impact” is what Janet likes to refer to as the detail mantra. Whether it’s the mood you feel when you step in or how the leather feels against your blue jeans, Lincoln has thought of it all!

black-label-lincoln-apartment-34-2I would gladly have this chandelier take Center Stage in our new house!

black-label-lincoln-apartment-34-3The luxe black sofa takes Center Stage in the living room

When designing the Indulgence theme, the team started out with a piece of buttery, chocolate-colored leather. That leather  inspired them to look into chocolatiers in New York and Paris to garner more insight into smoothness, color and texture. The “Oasis” theme was inspired by a magical retreat to a super modern and design-focused hotel in Africa. “Center Stage” as the name lends itself, was inspired by the feeling and excitement of curtains parting on the opening night of a show. And “Modern Heritage” focused on a timeless color palette, classic design and sleek details, keeping in mind the person who loves travel, fine art and the good life. Hearing all of these stories and the process of selecting specific inspirations was fascinating. It really got us excited to not only travel the world and explore new places some more, , but it had us eager to hit the streets of LA to keep an eye out for everyday inspiration.

lincoln-black-label-apartment-34-Adding pops of red to a chic black and white color palette make the clean lines of this bar space pop

lincoln-black-label-apt-34I love the mixed materials of the brass and black leather chair in the Center Stage themed living room

Before we could do just that {more on the L.A. sites we saw, architecture we gawked at, and cute boutiques we shopped later!} we drove up the small and windy streets of the Hollywood Hills, where nestled amongst the trees and Hollywood Sign was a gorge house, styled by Evan Haslegrave of hOmE. When asked about how he incorporated the design of each of the Black Label themes into the home, he said, “we brought in certain moments “that are evocative of” the Los Angeles landscape “but also balancing it with richer, more luxurious materials that are more indicative of the car.” Everything from the sleek brass light fixtures {ob-sessed!} to the smooth, buttery leathers and crisp, modern color palette, we’d say he did an excellent job!

black-label-lincoln-apartment-34-6We loved the understated elegance of this art deco fixture in the Modern Heritage themed dining room

apartment-34-black-label-6Bar area: Modern Heritage

How sleek and modern is this bar setup? Love the black and smoky glassware mixed in with just a couple of well designed {of course!} bottles of liquor. It’s color palette of black, white and red is simple and timeless – proof positive that you don’t need to fuss when it comes to styling vignettes in your home. Simply stick with really clean and curated design elements and the classic style will last for years.

lincoln-indulgence-roomThe sheepskin draped over those stools at the foot of the Indulgence themed bedroom literally make us drool

black-label-apartment-34-4Red certainly takes “Center Stage” in these corners of a bedroom

black-label-lincoln-apartment-34-5lincoln-black-label-apartment-34-2I’d gladly climb into this “Oasis” of a bed every night

What small design detail has inspired you today? Maybe it’s the way you’ve chosen to roll your sweater sleeves, or the subtle impact a gold bobby pin in your hair make over the plain ol’ black ones. Or did you decide to throw on red lipstick before you left the house this morning? It’s those little decisions that can make a major impact on how something is perceived. We are definitely paying more attention to details after our experience in LA!

original photography for apartment 34 by Joanne Pio // iimage 9 c/o Lincoln by Jared Chambers

This post is in partnership with Lincoln. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34’s doors open.