The end of the year is a great time to look back at our predictions, and see how accurate we were in forecasting the year. I predicted I would work with amazing clients, who would challenge me to deliver just the right style for them in 2019, and I was right!
A look at what interior design styles were popular this past year takes us all around the country, with the overall most popular style searched for online being Industrial, according to Realtor.com.
Below are the top design styles by state. California’s is Hollywood Regency, which is no surprise. I’ve created spaces for people to feel like stars in their California homes for over 16 years.
Glam is a similar style to Hollywood Regency. To show what I mean, in the photo above, my client wanted her Oakland home to feel welcoming to both men and women. So I brought in glamorous feminine elements, juxtaposed with heavy, masculine woods and tones. In her now-elegant dining space, the clean lines display an element of luxury while the glass chandelier and detailed head chair backs provide the glam.
The heavy wood dining table is balanced out with additional shine — the copper triptych artwork. She can come home from a long day at the office. and still throw a glamorous late-night dinner party with very little effort in a dining room like this, adding a little texture and sparkle to the evening under a fabulous chandelier.
Do YOU want help bringing glam into your life? Kimball Starr designs homes for stars just like you in the Northern California and Nevada areas. Contact her today for a consultation!
The holiday season brings chances to gather and be festive together, with family, friends, and guests arriving to join in the fun. Here are some of my best host tips to create a welcoming guest space for a memorable experience in your home.
Tip 1: Fresh Flowers
Nothing says clean and fresh like clean sheets and linens, and freshly-cut flowers. Place a seasonal arrangement next to the bed, or pick some from your own garden, for a personal touch.
Tip 2: Hand-Rolled Towels
One of the preparations that makes a spa or hotel feel luxurious is the special way they roll their towels and washcloths by hand. Take it a step further by placing towels in a basket or neatly stacked on a tray on the counter.
Tip 3: Lotions & Beauty Products
How many times have you forgotten your face cream, soap, shampoo, conditioner or hand lotion on a trip? A hotel or spa will provide you with a matched set: Classy, luxurious, and sweet-smelling. You can do the same thing for your guests, but go a step further – find out what brand they prefer, and have theirs available. They’ll be very impressed at your thoughtfulness.
Tip 4: Turndown Bedding & Chocolates
Who can resist snuggling into bed when the sheets and covers are turned down for you, with a chocolate on the pillow? Not me! Guests will feel like they’re receiving the white glove treatment if you provide this simple service.
Tip 5: Sleep Kit
A good night’s rest is probably the most important thing you can provide for your guests who’ve traveled to reach your home. A thoughtful way to provide that is to install blackout blinds in your guest bedroom, but if you don’t have those, the next-best option is a sleeping mask, and earplugs. Take it up a notch by also providing spare chargers for phones and cameras, extra toothbrushes, slippers, and a light aromatherapy spray for their pillow.
Tip 6: Drinks & Snacks
Imagine you want a midnight snack while everyone else is asleep. You tiptoe to the kitchen, open the fridge door, and see your favorite treat or drink waiting for you! You probably feel happy, plus relieved because you don’t have to wake your hostess. This is the ultimate in hosting, anticipating every desire and need of your guests. They will not only thank you, they’ll remember how you made them feel – like a million bucks.
If you want assistance creating the ultimate luxury guest bedroom in your home, or even for yourself, contact Kimball Starr today! She looks after the details that make superlative experiences.
The holidays are a time for grand entertaining and welcoming guests old and new. Here are a few of my favorite tablescape designs, curated with a designer’s eye from around the internet.
What could be as inspiring as alfresco dining in Provence? Dining outside in your own backyard, of course! Here the focus is on wintry white linens, light-colored furnishings, and fresh-cut greenery for an elegant, elevated experience.
White and red farmhouse linen napkins with sprigs of evergreens on pure white china, alongside silver and gold accents, make the perfect country table setting. A large sleigh bell holds your guest’s nametag, for traditional holiday cheer. The seating arrangement is a host superpower, so choose wisely!
When I think of chilly, windy days outside and a warm, civilized holiday meal inside, possibly after a hunt, tartan springs immediately to mind.
Maybe it’s the red, black, and white colors in that familiar pattern, or maybe the use of natural woolen materials as a backdrop for a hearty meal, but I just adore a tartan table setting, especially paired with winter-themed china and a reindeer sleigh of evergreen trimmings, lit by candlelight.
For my Jewish friends, a Hannukah table setting in blue, white, and gold is a great way to honor and gather with loved ones during the holidays. Sharing a meal together is one of the oldest traditions around the world. I wish everyone peace and joy this holiday season.
The holiday season is almost here! To help with your hosting duties, I’m sharing some ideas on how to maximize the useable space in a petite home.
Cooking While Entertaining
In the photo above, the custom island appears in the foreground, clad in butcher-block for the perfect chopping surface. A pullout work surface provides additional drinks space for guests, while you cook and entertain.
Deep drawers are great for multi-use storage. A mix of open and closed shelving is ideal for displaying your china, and keeping kitchen items close at hand. Place infrequently-used pieces that are also beautiful at the top of your cabinetry, for a good way to utilize the top surface.
In the dining area, a corner banquette lets you pack a lot of people in a small space. An adjustable-height coffee table is perfect for pre-dinner cocktails. Raise the table when you’re ready for dinner.
Entertaining in a Petite Living Room
The living room is the primary living space where we relax, spend downtime after a hard day’s work, and have fun with friends and family. If you have tight space restrictions, reducing clutter through clever storage will maximize your living and entertaining area, as in the sliding shoji screens below.
Here, the glass partition between rooms functions as the balustrade for the stairwell. Instead of installing a sheet-rocked wall, the glass partition takes up less depth, provides safety, and allows the eye to travel freely.
An L-shaped sectional sofa fits perfectly from wall to wall, to maximize comfortable seating. Keep the upholstery color similar to the wall color, so the room is visually open. The heavy coffee table does triple duty here — functioning as a table, providing storage underneath for remote controls and game consoles, and also serving as additional seating when more guests arrive.
If you need ideas for a space to entertain, interior designer Kimball Starr provides design for all sizes of homes throughout the San Francisco, San Jose, and Marin areas. Contact her today for a consultation!
Are you the type of person who loves books, and has a home library? Do you struggle with space and making it all look good? Or maybe you have a collection you want to display. I’ve got some ideas for you! Today I’m showing off a few of the designs for shelving I created for my clients.
Shelf Form & Function
This creative space solution for a San Francisco loft has a movable set of shelves that wrap around and hide the circular staircase, pulled open and shut with a large black handle. A change in color for the modern staircase rails and a new high-gloss shelving interior, the addition of global textures and patterns, and coordination with a pop of color in the nearby wall niche makes this shelving really special. I dressed it with display plates and pillows, to supplement the owner’s books.
There’s a second moveable shelving unit, which you can see in this before photo. Wouldn’t you just love to surprise your guests by sliding open a hidden bookshelf like this?
Media & Cocktail Combo
This San Francisco bachelor’s open-plan living and dining room conceals a floor-to-ceiling projection screen for movie watching, surfing the web, and playing video games. I wanted to display some of the owner’s fun collectibles, and hide the tech.
The solution: A custom wall-mounted media cabinet stores AV equipment wired into the ceiling projector, and also serves as a bar area. Collectibles, media and cocktails live comfortably side-by-side on this shelving, and look very hip together.
Home Office Guestroom
A hardworking home office doubles as a guest bedroom in this condo. The convertible wall bed is hidden behind the large blue cabinetry, with a second, custom drop-down desk in white. The owners, who were recently married and moved in together in their golden years, wanted to combine their belongings, downsize, and still have room for family and overnight guests. Shelves either side of the bed unit are filled with books and display items.
Upon closer inspection, you can see I’ve turned one of the books around to face into the room, so the cover art is visible, and used a designer trick of stacking books with spines out, adding to it by topping the stack with a beautiful vase or sculpture. For additional interest when it comes to a collection on multiple shelves, I stagger the direction books are leaning.
Custom Cabinetry & Open Shelving
Here I’ve created a custom wall cabinet to hide our downsizing couple’s many reference books and filing. In the corner are open shelves and a small, lightweight but sturdy desk, appropriate for paying bills and handling mail, or working on a laptop computer.
When we look more closely at the desk and shelving, you see only a few books visible on the open shelves, mainly small reference books such as a dictionary. The rest of the items are beautiful collectibles and personal memorabilia, family photos, sculptural pieces like vases, and fresh flowers. Working at a desk that’s uncluttered, surrounded by things you love, makes life feels lighter and easier.
If you want help organizing your books and collections into a beautiful surrounding, get in touch with designer Kimball Starr! She beautifies homes all around the San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California and Nevada.
Everyone loves a makeover, right? I do, too, so here are two of my favorite and most dramatic before-and-after projects in San Francisco!
Guatemalan-Inspired Downtown Condo
I met with the owners of a two-bedroom condo located steps from the San Francisco waterfront. The clients are a retired couple moving from the suburbs to the city for a more urban and active nightlife, wanting a space that reflects their modern aesthetic with the vibrancy of colors from their vacation home in Antigua, Guatemala.
A major aspect of their project is the need for beautiful and effective storage, to assist with downsizing. In the After image on the right, I addressed this by creating Mondrian-inspired custom cabinetry to display their gorgeous collectibles and books in the open-plan living room, house their multimedia electronics, and conceal everyday items such as kitchen crockery and office supplies. The storage coordinates beautifully with B&B Italia dining chairs covered in red wool, and the modern classic Eero Saarinen marble dining table.
The adjacent dining area highlights an art piece created from textured paint on plaster, inspired by the weathering, layering, and patina of a building’s exterior in the Central American climate. Colors and fabrics used throughout the space were thoughtfully selected to remind the couple of their Guatemalan experiences. A cheeky zipper up each dining chair back adds a tailored detail, and copper glass globes cluster in a chandelier that finishes off the dining space. What a difference!
Sunnyside Arts & Crafts Stunner
Before, the flow of this kitchen didn’t work, with minimal natural light, and no place to sit with friends or family while cooking. Knocking down the wall next to the door opened up the space, and allows for the new 10-pane door to flood in lots of natural light. Adding a petite peninsula kept the space open and airy for counter seating, and hand-blown blue glass pendants overhead enliven the space with moody lighting after the sun goes down.
The original kitchen was a monument to the
late 80s/early 90s, with plastic-fronted appliances, boring cabinets,
mismatched countertops, plus those diamond-shaped wall accents, behind the
stove and sink. Yuck!
Sometimes too modern a kitchen can feel out of place within a traditional home. This 1930s home had wood wainscoting throughout, with original wood floors that we preserved. Pairing modern light-gray quartz countertops with distressed pewter hardware, cherry cabinetry, and gorgeous limestone floors strikes a balance between modern and traditional. The kitchen exudes warmth and soul, and fits in with the home’s original aesthetic, while still providing some modern materials.
Before, the outdated diamond tiling continued in the bathroom. After, the old tiling is banished, replaced with statuary marble floors, and handmade Pratt & Larson glazed ceramic wall tiles, plus a decorative inset to keep with the traditional arts and crafts architecture of home. A deep tub, Waterworks shower fixtures, and modern glass pendants in front of the custom-shaped mirrors keep the space from being too traditional and fussy, while the light colors feel airy and timeless. The light, ethereal tones and soft watery blues in the tile make it a perfect space to cleanse both your mind and body.