Noe Valley home with spectacular SF views

Posted by Lauran

Lauren and Jill recently completed a decorating project for a delightful couple, Tom and Lisa, who purchased an incredible modern home in SF’s Noe Valley at the end of last year.

Tom and Lisa

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The living room features the Camber sofa in white leather from DWR, as well as Otis swivel chairs, Union cocktail table, and Float wall shelves, all from Room and Board. “The fireplace was  covered in a very cool, but dark, tile,” explains Lauren. “We chose to hang a large original painting from Harry Gruenert to brighten up this focal point of the room.”

“One of the best parts of this project was styling their floating shelves, credenzas and bookshelves with artifacts and mementos Tom and Lisa have collected over the years,” says Jill. “People don’t realize how fabulous their own collectibles can look until they are grouped together and styled to highlight color, size and texture.”

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In the large master bedroom, the couple’s bed is topped with a duvet cover from Restoration Hardware and a John Robshaw lumbar pillow (purchased from Anthropologie). The Sivas rug from Room and Board picks up the teal from the two Crate and Barrel pillows.

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Tom and Lisa hired California Closets to build custom storage along one wall. We chose the Jasper Studio Sofa from Room and Board as a luxurious place for the couple to sit while they put on their shoes!

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In the home office, the Mason Glasstop Desk from William Sonoma reflects the light from outside, and the West Elm safari rug (no longer available) adds just the right touch of whimsy to the room. The built-in bookshelves offer plenty of storage and opportunity for showing off more artwork and artifacts. (I just have to wonder, though—with views like this, who could get any work done?)

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The home office features this sitting area in addition to the work area, both of which include sliding glass doors that lead out to the spacious outdoor deck.

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This stunning wrap-around outdoor entertaining space features clear railings for an unobstructed view of the City. The Dockside Dining table (no longer available) and Rex chairs, Acapulco Lounge Chairs, and Java Sectional, chairs and ottoman, outdoor pillows, and green Wire coffee table are all from CB2.

“This was such a fun project, and we’re sorry to see it end,” concludes Lauren. “Tom and Lisa have great taste and weren’t afraid of color—just two of the things we loved about working with them!”

Give your home a Design Boost!

At Visual Jill, we believe that everyone deserves good design, regardless of budget. Sometimes you can make a big impact with just the right small tweaks, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. With this in mind, we are proud to introduce our new 3-hour Design Boost service.

For just $390, Visual Jill will spend three hours helping you refresh your home. We can do a lot in three hours! Here are some ideas.

Color consultation

Do your walls need a redo? We can choose paint colors for every room in your house.

paint example

Room re-invention

Ever tried your sofa on the other side of the room? We can help you re-arrange your furniture and use what you already have in a new way.


On-site styling

Maybe you need a little help with your accessories. Let us come to your home and hang your artwork and style the things you love!


Furniture finds

Tell us what you need and give us your budget. We’ll create a custom Pinterest board and find lots of options you’ll love from different retailers and etsy sellers.

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Remodeling help

Are you exploring options for a new bathroom or kitchen? You can get our input on the right countertops, tile or floors for your project.

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How would you use your Design Boost?

Speed decorating: beach house edition

Posted by Lauran

A couple of months ago we got a call from one of our favorite clients. We’ve worked with him twice before (on his SF home and his office lounge) and we couldn’t wait to hear about his latest project. Turns out he purchased a home in Malibu, and was in the process of renovating every room in the house. He planned to use it as a vacation home and an airbnb rental. It would be ready in a month . . . could we have it decorated in time for a family party one week later?

That meant sourcing, installing and styling all the big stuff (furniture, accessories, artwork) and the small stuff (towels, sheets, kitchenware, etc.) in a matter of five weeks. Without seeing the place (working from photos, videos and drawings). And finding items that were in stock and ready to ship—and that fit within the client’s budget. And then Jill and Lauren spending Memorial Day weekend in Malibu to install and style. A challenge for sure, but nothing we couldn’t handle.

Our client told us he wanted “a comfortable California modern feel, with colors inspired by the beach.” We (and the client!) are pretty darn happy with how it turned out . . .

The palette of white, navy, and aqua combined with citrus brights and natural wood sets a relaxed, beachy vibe.

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White leather on the generous sofa (a floor sample from Ana Furniture in SF) and Eames-inspired chair is surprisingly easy to clean. Lauren highly recommends this Transit Bench from Gus Modern—”it is beautiful and very easy to put together!”


The Pines indoor/outdoor rug from CB2 picks up the gray in the kitchen cabinets and is simple to maintain.


The dining room features the Vines Wool rug from West Elm, the Boerum table and bench from West Elm, and Modway Flare chairs from AllModern.



The pattern on the rug and chair backs give the illusion of flowing water, like the nearby ocean. Artist amiguel (a Visual Jill favorite) hit it out of the park with the commissioned pieces he painted for the house.

malibu mirror

Touches of driftwood (like on this amazing Seaside mirror from AllModern) were a natural fit.

The color palette carried through into the master, the guest, and the bunkbed room.




Upon arriving to style the house, Jill and Lauren’s first priorities were to assemble the beds so they had somewhere to sleep that night! The bunkbed from Amazon sleeps three (a twin on top and double on the bottom)—ideal for a vacation rental.

Sure, there were a few snafus along the way . . . items that didn’t ship on time, bed slats that didn’t arrive (thanks to our client’s construction crew for helping us with that one!) . . . but in the end it all came together.


New living room—and fireplace—for SF couple

Rosemary and David are a fun-loving, interesting San Francisco couple who have traveled the world. They called us last Fall when they decided that their home, which had not been updated in many years, no longer reflected their tastes and style. Oh, and they recently added a family member—Mojo the poodle—who needed to be included in the design plan.

The biggest changes were in their living room—here is how it turned out, complete with new fireplace and furniture.

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And here’s how the living room looked when Jill and Lauren first saw it. The colors and style definitely needed to be freshened up.

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Luckily, Rosemary and David had a few key pieces to work with (a mid-century bench and credenza from David’s parents, side tables, a cool dining room pendant light, media cabinet and lamps). We took our color inspiration from their amazing artwork that they collected during their travels, bringing out the rich blues and oranges mixed with neutrals.

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We love how the new American Leather sectional from Ironhorse Design Center emphasizes the home’s gorgeous corner window. Check out that view! The new gray leather Eames-inspired lounge chair and Noguchi reproduction coffee table are from RoveConcepts. We chose leather for both pieces because it wears well and cleans easily—very important with Mojo in the mix.

In the dining room, it was time to “get the red out” and bring in a more soothing palette. Here’s the “before”:

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And the “after.” We again emphasized the cobalt blue in the existing pendant through the blue zebra striped West Elm rug. We also helped Rosemary and David choose new fabric covers for their existing chairs—a great way to “neutralize” what they already had.

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Now let’s talk about the fireplace. Using some of our favorite Heath tiles (Crease In/Crease Out), Lauren designed a simple, modern fireplace surround, hearth and custom wood mantle.

Here’s her original drawing and rendering:

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And the final outcome!


The couple were thrilled that they got exactly what they expected!

Lauren and Jill had fun styling the mid-century credenza and West Elm bar cart and shelf. They took special care in hanging and arranging Rosemary and David’s  eclectic artwork so that it is all showcased appropriately.

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Additional sources: Pillows, West Elm and All Modern; Living Room rug, Crate & Barrel.

Book reviews: “The Stuff of Life” and “Design Bloggers at Home”

We’ve recently added two new design books to our library, and both are chock-full of ideas and inspiration. The first, The Stuff of Life by Hilary Robertson, looks at how different types of people display their “stuff” — collections, books, photos, artwork, etc.


The first part of the book walks the reader through four different methods of arranging their “stuff”: Intuitive (seemingly random arrangements), Narrative (arrangements that tell a story), Practical (the display of useful things), and Curatorial (a cabinet of curiosities). Each of these approaches is illustrated with moody photography by Anna Williams that makes the reader feel as if they are in the actual room.

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The second part of the book focuses on real-life people and how they live (the author calls this “stories told by real homes”). Once again it is divided into different types of personalities, and how they naturally style their homes. These lifestyles include Neatnik, Bohemian, and Sculpture Vulture (you’ll have to read the book to find out what that one means!). It’s fun to browse through the photos and try to identify your own style among the examples.

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All photos above by Anna Williams.

The title of the second book, Design Bloggers at Home by Ellie Tennant, is a fun look into how some of our favorite bloggers live.


As in the previous book, the author divides the homes into different decor categories: Pared Back, Rustic, Retro Chic, Homespun, and Colour Fun. These homes do not disappoint—as you would expect, these design enthusiasts live with style and personality.

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As a bonus, each blogger lists their favorite blogs and resources, as well as great tips they’ve picked up along their own blogging journey.

DBatHome 2And the book ends with a how-to section for aspiring new design bloggers.

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I really enjoyed the overall voice of this book— the author, as well as the featured bloggers. This is an inspiring and encouraging book with gorgeous photos by Rachel Whiting, and it should have a visible spot on your bookshelf.

Last four photos by Rachel Whiting.


Fall 2014 decorating trends & inspiration

It sure doesn’t feel like Fall here in Berkeley, but the reality is that school starts in less than 2 weeks! The home stores are introducing their new Fall lines, and on the newsstand you’ll see  “Fall fashion” on almost every magazine cover. We thought it would be fun to go through it all and present the trends that we see for Fall 2014. You can see more of our inspiration on the Visual Jill Fall Decorating Trends pinboard, too.

1. The Naturals: Colors from nature (soft grays, whites and creams); leather; rattan; live plants; wood. Items that are noticeable for their texture and detail, rather than color.


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image via Apartment Therapy

avenue lifestyle bedroom

via Avenue Lifestyle

Nate Berkus DR

Designed by Nate Berkus, via Garrison Hullinger

comfy wood

via Wooninspiratie 

2. Color: A surprise for Fall — soft blues and greens! Clean brights (like orange), neutrals, and black and white are still strong too.


we blueswest elm blue LR

 Two images above via West Elm


via Remodelista, via boligcious

orange pillow

peggy sofa

 Two images above via West Elm

cb2 fall pillows

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Two images above via CB2

3. Creative Collections: Personal artifacts hung next to art in gallery walls; mixing one-of-a-kind mementos alongside books on shelves.


kitchen shelves collected

via The Grit and Polish


via Because I’m Addicted, via One King’s Lane


via Batixa.tumblr

4. Abstracts: Artwork, pillows and textiles in unusual graphics.


abstract art, Apt. Therapy

via Apartment Therapy

steve alan pillow

via West Elm

5. Geometric: Symmetrical patterns covering rugs, pillows and textiles.


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Via Dot and Bo

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6. Round rugs: A new shape that’s surprisingly versatile.


round Jute rug

West Elm

round SL jute rug

Serena & Lily (note that this combines two trends: round and natural!

7. Mixed metals: Brass, copper and bronze are staying strong for Fall, outshining chrome and nickel.


swivel bar stool

West Elm

vega 5 chandelier

Schoolhouse Electric






Jill and David’s new modern Berkeley bungalow!

We are proud to debut Jill’s completely renovated modern home. After almost a year of construction, Jill and her husband David are happily settled into their new space and enjoying living the “comfortable modern lifestyle” that we always talk about!

The home combines the living and dining rooms and kitchen into one open concept space.

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A layout like this requires a cohesive color scheme. Jill chose pops of green and orange against a neutral background of white, gray and wood.

The sun pours in from the window wall and bathes the rooms in light.

McCoy window wall

The elements that make this space so special are bold artwork, bright colors, warm wood, and personal artifacts and mementos. Jill incorporated into her own home all the things that we suggest to our clients.

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The french doors open wide from the living room onto the deck (complete with hot tub)!

McCoy exterior conv. area

It was important to Jill for the house to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living. The natural extension of the deck and patio make the house seem much larger than it is.

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The side of the home shows how new cedar was skillfully added to the wood siding that was original to the 1920s bungalow.

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The front of the bungalow was largely untouched (except new cedar columns and a bright citron door!).

McCoy home front

Oftentimes the modern houses we see in magazines are so large and expensive that it’s hard to imagine real people living in them. Jill’s house is a great example of how modern design can be incorporated in a modest home, on a reasonable budget, and in a urban neighborhood.

“This was a huge, wonderful team effort,” Jill says. “Thank you to everyone who lent their expertise to this project. We couldn’t be happier with the final outcome.”