A condo transformation surprise for Berkeley roommates

Posted by Lauran

In early October, Jill got a call from Pam Ferguson, who lives in Michigan and found us via Google. This generous mom gave us a challenge: to re-design her daughter’s Berkeley condo as a surprise for her and her roommate, and to have it done by Thanksgiving. Pam’s daughter is a law student at UC Berkeley, and her roommate is the Assistant Manager of the Claremont Hotel. Needless to say, these two young women have not had a lot of time to put into decorating their home.

Because this was to be a surprise, Jill and senior designer Lauren could not actually see the apartment in person. Instead, Pam sent them a video of the space and a floor plan of the condo. Working from these, Lauren chose just the right furniture and accessories for their living room, dining room, and entryway, exchanging many emails, photos and ideas with Pam along the way. Check out these amazing results!



When Lauren and Jill started, this is what the place looked like:



It wasn’t horrible; just a little boring, and it didn’t reflect the energy and personality of the two friends who lived there.

Lauren changed all that by ordering furniture from CB2 and accessories from CB2, West Elm, Urban Outfitters, Allmodern, and Society6. She even got a custom doggie bed from Etsy for the roommates’ boxer, Pablo, and made a special sign to designate his corner of the room!


Lauren had all the accessories and furnishings shipped to her own home so she could consolidate the packaging and store it until they were ready for installation. Once all the items were in, Pam found a day when the roommates would both be out, scheduled with Jill and Lauren, and sent them a set of keys.

On move-in day, Dave and Nick from the Visual Jill staging team arrived to move out the previous sofa and to assemble all the new furniture. Then it was up to Jill and Lauren to hang artwork, style the shelves and other accessories, and make everything perfect.





As you might expect, the hardworking roommates were amazed by the transformation, and by Pam’s generosity. Lauren received texts from both of them, raving about the new decor and how happy they are.

Do you (or someone you know) need some design help? As you just read, Visual Jill can help—even from afar! Call us to get started.

Items purchased include (all from CB2): District II sofa, Puli Natural Rug, Stairway White Bookcase, Smart Marble Coffee Table, Odyssey White Dining Table, Roya Slate Blue chairs, Alexa Copper Vase Planter, Peacock Hearts Pillow, Rainbow Snake Pillow, Rove pillow, Fortune vase, Woven Wall Decor.

A modern soon-to-be-teen room

Posted by Lauran

One lucky 12-year-old named Aidan recently got to work with our senior designer Lauren to revamp his entire bedroom. The result? A sophisticated, modern space that is more befitting a soon-to-be-teen.

Aiden after 1

Aidan’s previous decor—light blue walls, a bunk bed, and a white Ikea storage unit—worked well for him during elementary school.

Aiden before 2

Aiden before 4

But Aidan was ready for something new. “He had just outgrown his current space,” says Lauren.

Lauren’s first goal for the design was to make sure it fit Aidan’s specific needs and interests. “This kid is a mini-genius and an architect of some sort in the making,” Lauren explained. He loves to build models and complicated Lego creations, and he also has a massive Hot Wheels collection. Aidan’s parents’ goals were pretty simple:  “to just make sure his room looked tidy, modern, and was functional for all of Aidan’s interests, using long-lasting furniture that will grow with him.” Lauren’s solution was to make one designated area for model making and a separate designated area for homework.

Aiden after 2

Here we see Aidan’s model-making table and bookshelves from Room and Board. His Hot Wheels collection is displayed on the walls, while his other models and creations have plenty of room to live comfortably on the shelves.

Aiden after 3

His homework space is over in a “quieter” corner of the room, featuring a desk and file cabinet from CB2 and a cool chair from All Modern.

The color palette may be a bit unusual, but it works for the room, especially because it receives lots of natural light. “Black is modern and masculine,” explains Lauren. “And I knew his maple furniture and colorful collections would really pop against the black.” The medium gray on the coved ceiling accentuates this architectural detail.

Aiden after 4

Aidan’s new upholstered storage bed from Room and Board gives him more room to stash his stuff, as does the tall dresser. A few of his model airplanes are fun decor for the room.

Lauren especially enjoyed styling the room after all the furniture had been delivered. ” One day while Aidan was at school, I came in and sorted through all of his collections (Hot Wheels, Lego models—airplanes, cars, buildings, ships & people, and Papertoy Monsters),” says Lauren.  “I organized the Hot Wheels by labels, then by TV series and Movies on the floor, measured the distances around his desk, and hung them on the black wall.”

Aiden collections before

The Hot Wheels organization in progress!

Aidan and his parents are thrilled with the end result. As Aidan puts it, “My old bedroom was such a clutter of random ‘nik-naks’ and furniture that didn’t match. I love my two new chairs, my new hobby workbench, and overall I just love my beautiful new bedroom so, so, so very much!”

Now that’s the kind of customer feedback we love so, so, so very much!

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!”

Flexible furniture: modern puzzle pieces

Posted by Lauran

This week Jill and Lauren visited the Arkitektura showroom in San Francisco, and were struck by the many examples of flexible, modular furniture pieces.

mod 2

These pieces blur the lines between tables and seating, and sofas and lounges.

mod 4

The large flat ottoman shown here can be used alone as a table, or it can be tucked under the smaller metal table to offer different levels and textures. And the sectional itself is completely flexible—the pieces can be taken apart and put back together to form just the right configuration for each use or space.

mod 5

Here again, a smaller ottoman is partnered with a round glass table. The ottoman can be pulled up to the table as extra seating, or moved closer to the sofa for a footrest (and the two together just look cool!). Note also the different levels of side tables next to the sectional.

mod 1

Another example of the ottoman/table combo, with a small, moveable and useful side table perfect for holding a snack or a laptop!

Most of the items shown here are from European designers, but I’ve noticed this trend of multi-functional furniture from US retailers as well.


The new SAIC Deep Dish Table from CB2 also comes with two cushions that fit under the table. It’s a coffee table, extra seating, and a stand-alone casual dining set all in one!


Lovesac offers what they call “sactionals”, made up of base pieces and side pieces that can be combined into hundreds of different configurations. Not only are they flexible, but convenient—easy to move up stairs or around tight corners, and they require no tools to assemble!

We like this trend of furniture that can change as your life changes, or even as your week changes! What do you think?

Modern organizing for the new year

Posted by Lauran

I have to admit that I totally buy-in to all the hype around the New Year. I love making resolutions, taking stock of the past year, and starting fresh. And nothing says “starting fresh” like re-organizing! I thought I’d share some of the coolest products and ideas I’ve found that can help solve your organization problems—with modern style.

If your closets are too small . . .

coat rack

This coat rack is beautiful enough to leave out in your bedroom, entryway, or anywhere else you need more hanging space. Toj Coatrack from All Modern Outlet, $374, found via Remodelista


With this unique rod, any corner of any room can become additional hanging space! I love the color combo too. CB2 Corner Hanging Rod, $39.99

If you have stacks of paper laying around . . .

file cab copy

Filing those bills and invoices away will be much more fun when you put them in this bright cabinet! It also comes in many other smile-inducing colors. Poppin West 18th File Cabinet, $229

If you’re tired of you Ikea bookcases . . . (not that there’s anything wrong with Ikea!) . . .


I’m in love with this happy new Colorblock Bookcase from CB2. It would raise the style quotient of anything you choose to display on it.

If  little kitchen or office stuff is driving you crazy . . .

painted brackets

Move your jars, canisters or plants off of your counters and onto some out-of-the-ordinary shelves. Try this simple idea from Apartment Therapy: spray paint plain old hardware store brackets to bring color and personality to your room.

modern peg board

Or, if your New Year’s resolutions include upping your DYI skills, try making this modern peg board system, also from Apartment Therapy.

What are you planning to re-organize in 2015? Tell us in the comments below!



Hip hostess gifts for design lovers

It’s that time of year! For the next several weeks, people open their doors to friends and family—chances are you’ll be invited to at least one get-together. Your mom taught you to never arrive at a party empty-handed, so this season think beyond a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers. Here are some fun ideas to give your hostess, no matter what type of entertainer she or he is.

For the Gourmet Cook


fall spoons copy

This set of spoons will make stirring her ingredients so much more colorful! From World Market, $14.97 for three.

For the Tea Party-Giver


These are coated with silicon and will look great on an open shelf. From CB2, $9.95-$24.95.

For the Hostess with a Black Thumb


Give her this cool vase filled with an indestructible air plant. From CorPottery on etsy, $30.

For the Cocktail Party Specialist

burlap coaster

These monogrammed jute coasters come in their own little bag. From World Market, $9.99.

For the Design-Savvy Hostess


These gorgeous napkins show off the geometric print trend. From Avrilloreti on etsy, $25 for two.

For the Baker

baking molds

Who wouldn’t love these hot pink baker molds coming out of their oven? From Ikea, $9.99 for the pair.

For the Newlywed Hosts

bamboo coaster

These personalized bamboo coasters will help them spread the love when they entertain. From Woodbemine on etsy, $24 for four.