Design details in newly constructed Oakland home

Posted by Lauran

We recently staged a newly built home in Oakland’s NOBE neighborhood (where North Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville intersect) that features some stand-out design details. Take a look and get some ideas for your own home.
pink door

First off—the curb appeal. Check out the great mid-century modern door painted a bright pink, the nice chunky house numbers, and the lovely landscaping—all of these scream “welcome, we’re glad you stopped by!”



original artwork by Harry Gruenert (left) and Mark Petersen (large blue painting)


The main living space features gleaming concrete floors and a comfortable open floor plan. We used navy and yellow-green accents against neutral modern furniture to make the most of the space.


We love the wood ceiling that runs throughout the kitchen and dining rooms. The mix of white upper cabinets and lower wood cabinets is also on-trend.


original artwork by amiguel


original artwork Mark Petersen 



original artwork by amiguel

A bedroom on the main floor is staged as a home office. Note the wood trim around the windows that was left unpainted—a nice modern touch.


original artwork by Mark Petersen

We love the clean, bright stairwell, featuring modern railing, a skylight and window, and a cool light fixture.


original artwork by Harry Gruenert


original artwork by Kristen Jensen (left) and amiguel (center)

The large master suite includes a seating area, a private balcony, and a master bath. The natural fir trim around the doors and windows adds modern warmth to the room.



The guest room and kid’s room were left all-white, making the colorful accents pop and the natural light bounce around the walls.




The backyard is perfect for family living and entertaining. It’s got everything you could want—a grass playground for kids, two seating areas, built-in planters, and . . .



. . . a separate workshed/office/art studio!

The design choices made in this home—such as wood trim, paint colors, light fixtures, skylights, colorful artwork—set it apart from other homes on the market. These are all details that you can incorporate into your own place, even if it’s 50 years old vs. brand new.

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!”

Flora Grubb—flowers, foliage and fantasy!

One of our favorite places to gather inspiration is Flora Grubb Gardens, located in the BayView neighborhood of San Francisco. Not just a garden center, this place is a wonderland of fantastic foliage, creative plant displays, and comfortable gathering zones.

flora name

If you want a vertical garden, this is the place to go! They have a wide variety of shapes and sizes—including wild unmanicured rectangles, neat succulent squares, and even letters.

flora vertical

flora vertical 2

flora big letter

And oh, the color you’ll see here! From the citron painted wall to the bright pots and saturated Fermob furniture, it’s a kaleidoscope of color.

flora orange pots

flora blue pots

flora chairs

We especially like Flora Grubb’s ideas for incorporating plants in rather unusual places. Got an old car hanging out in your yard? Turn it into a garden!
flora car

Here’s an idea that’s more realistic for most of us: remove the board at the center of your table and replace it with a tray of succulents. It’s a permanent centerpiece.

flora table

Speaking of succulents, you won’t find a better selection of them (and their close cousins, the cactus) anywhere in the Bay Area.

flora succulents

flora cactus

Flora Grubb Gardens is a not-to-be-missed destination for gardening enthusiasts as well as brown-thumbed design lovers. Did I forget to mention the coffee bar inside too?

Photographs by Lauren Hosmer

Three elements of an inviting outdoor space

Posted by Lauran

Lately I’ve been analyzing images of outdoor spaces, as I look for ideas on creating a more usable lounging space in our little backyard. After perusing Pinterest, blogs and HGTV for hours, I have identified three elements that seem to really make an outdoor spaces most inviting to me. These are coverage, comfort, and lighting.

boho pergola

This boho patio shows the three elements at work: coverage, lighting and comfort. Image via Babble, originally posted on Desire to Inspire.


A sense of having something overhead makes a big difference in how an outdoor space feels. Sure, it would be great to have a custom wood pergola for my fancy outdoor living room. But the truth is, a rustic patio overhang (as shown above) works just as well. Even a tree or just an umbrella will do the trick. The key is to give a feeling of coverage, and shade and protection.


This dining space is set up under a tree to provide shade and coverage. Image via decor8.


Look at those amazing textiles in the top photo above. Don’t you just want to sink into those pillows and take a snooze? Whether your space is for dining, lounging or roasting marshmallows it’s essential that it is comfortable. It’s all about pillows, floor cushions, and poufs!


Moroccan lounge image via homedit

Here are more luscious pillows and padding in an amazing Moroccan-inspired outdoor room. Note the bamboo-thatched roof that provides the sense of coverage. And can we talk about those lanterns? Which brings me to the last essential . . .


Soft outdoor lighting may be functional, but it’s also necessary to create the ambiance for your space. There are a lot of great options for outdoor lighting—from string lights, to paper lanterns, to solar-powered mini-lights, to candlelit lanterns.

patio w cafe lights

Cafe string lights hanging from this pergola add to the overall atmosphere of this outdoor lounge created by Shana Feste via country living.

orange umbrella BHG

On this patio, an umbrella provides the shade, the pillows and cushions comfort guests, and paper lanterns provide the lighting. Image via BHG.

I’ve pulled a few good deals from World Market and Home Depot to make it easier (and cheaper)  for you to light up your (outdoor) life.


1. Battery-operated lanterns, $16.99 for 4; 2. Wavy stripe paper string lights, $$29.99 for 35 bulbs; 3. Teardrop solar-powered LED lamp, on sale for $10.49; 4. Edison-style string lights, on sale for $18.74 5. Small blue hanging lantern, on sale for $10.49


1. 10-Light outdoor clear hanging string light, $12.98; 2. Outdoor white portable pendant, $50.50 3. Outdoor 15-bulb string light set, $99

Accessorizing a modern home

We recently helped a young Piedmont couple put the finishing touches on their amazing modern home. In the living room, all the major pieces were in place—they had fabulous furniture and great taste. We sourced some key accessories—such as rugs, pillows, and lamps—and then spent a fun day styling it all on site.

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We got the succulents and the outdoor planter troughs at Flowerland in Albany.

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The owners already had a lot of cool stuff that we relocated from other areas, like the round basket that found a new home between the white Barcelona chairs. The lamp is from Crate and Barrel, and the shag rug is from Rug Studio.

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In the dining room we supplemented what the owner already had. We grouped various vases together on the credenza and added a white one from  Jonathan Adler, then created a dining room table centerpiece with airplants and the Mallorca candleholder from Crate and Barrel.

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The owner’s bright artwork (left wall) was our inspiration for the family room, which we furnished top to bottom. We chose the rug, pillows and accessories in bright blues and greens, then created a gallery wall using frames the owner already had.

Photography by Mel. O

Outdoor entertaining on a tiny budget, in a tiny space

It’s easy to get lost in all the catalogs, blogs and Pinboards that show amazing outdoor entertaining spaces. Perfectly manicured gardens, outdoor kitchens, cool fire pits surrounded by nice teak furniture, long farmhouse tables with Tolix chairs . . . we all love these scenarios. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the space — or the money — to create them in our own homes.

But guess what? You can set up an outdoor cooking and eating area, that will fit in a space as small balcony, for less than $175! Here are two options for you:

Ikea combo: $ 163.98

For grilling

lillon grill

 The Lillon charcoal grill sells for $99, is only 18″ wide, and sports adjustable legs.

For dining


The Tarno bistro set is the perfect size for two, and the perfect price ($49.99)!

To set the mood


The 23-foot Solvinden light strand is just $14.99 — and it’s solar powered.

Target combo: $ 139.98

For grilling

smokey joe

The Weber Smokey Joe is $29.99 online.

For dining

target bistro

The Folding Metal Bistro Set comes in four fun colors and is on sale right now for $95.

To set the mood

target lights

Room Essentials Frosted Globe lights give you 25 feet of light for just $14.99.

You don’t have to be rich or have a big yard to entertain outdoors — you just have to know where to look!

New ideas in outdoor furniture

It’s time to dust off the outdoor furniture, scrub the cushions, and replant your pots, all in anticipation of warm weather outdoor living. If you’re in the market for a new piece or two, check out these options from some of our favorite retailers.

For casual dining

beer garden copyInspired by the beer gardens of southern Germany, this set from World Market features an unexpected color and is collapsible for easy storage.

For luxurious lounging

montego sun bed

The Montego Sun Bed from Room and Board invites you to enjoy a lazy summer nap. The cushions are available in several colors to brighten up your deck.

For the kids

childs picnic table

You can afford to give the kids their own dining table thanks to the Reso Table from Ikea. This retro picnic table is a true bargain at only $39.99.

For chill-axing

huron chairKick back with a novel and your favorite cool beverage on the Huron Large Lounge chair from West Elm. Made of lightweight aluminum and all-weather cord, it’s designed to withstand the elements.

For cozy gatherings

Hearth-Lounge-Orange-w-Blanket-65495-e1355516423386Sure, this amazing Hearth Heated Lounge is a splurge, but what a cool (make that warm) addition to your outdoor space. The cast-stone sofa utilizes radiant floor heat technology to keep you toasty even on a foggy evening. Nice!




A Berkeley home all ready for Spring

Nothing says “Spring” like a light and bright home. Our most recent staging project welcomes guests with a pretty yellow door, fresh colors, and crisp white woodwork throughout.

01 Front

04a Entry

08 Liv3

05 Liv1

09 Din detail

The paint color palette features softer, rather than bolder, brights — light and medium grays, pale watery blue, and cheerful yellowish green.

15 Office

16 Master

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These colors were the perfect backdrop for brighter pillows, accessories and artwork.

20 Back patio

While the house has a large front yard, the back space is narrow. We made the most of it with a vertical garden along the fence, a bistro table, and an outdoor rug to delineate the seating area.

It’s easy to bring Spring into your home without making a major investment in new furniture. Try putting fresh flowers in a bright vase, switching velvet pillows for linen or cotton ones, or introducing a new citrus color via a table lamp or throw.

Photography by Liz Rusby.


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.

McCoy living room

McCoy living room

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.

McCoy dining room

McCoy kitchen

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.

McCoy outside

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

McCoy wood paneling

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.”