Inside a Striking Bay Area Home With Cali-Cool Vibes
With the emergence of brighter colors on the runway, we are already starting to see those vivid hues translate to interiors too, but there's one classic shade that will always be in: neutrals. Regardless of the current trends, this look will always be timeless in our book. Amanda Barnes of Amanda Barnes Interiors proves why with this stunning home in San Francisco.
To prevent this colour-averse style from veering into bland territory, Barnes recommends layering textures that are cozy and inviting. "As a mum of two toddlers, I am a huge advocate of layering in textiles that are both washable and durable," she told MyDomaine Australia. "So many people think they have to wait until their kids are older to have a home that feels beautiful and cozy, but I strongly disagree. With a thoughtful selection of fabrics and furniture, I think design can sustain even the toughest of couch jumpers." Ahead, Barnes explains how she achieved this layered, neutral aesthetic for her client, along with style notes for each room.
The family room maximises the space without feeling too crowded. Barnes achieved this by positioning the seating around an oversize custom rug. "The furniture itself is all very neutral with colour on all of the accent pieces," she said. "This was designed accordingly so pillows and blankets could be swapped out for the holidays, family get-togethers, and larger parties. Pillows can be mixed and matched from all the rooms and still work cohesively in this space."
Barnes's goal was to keep the home cozy and family friendly, but with limited space, it was a challenge to give the space that sprawling feel. "With that in mind, I focused on creating rooms with dual purpose using transitional pieces that could be moved around from room to room," she said. "I used a lighter palette to keep the home feeling as open as possible and selected seating that could easily work in more than one room in the house."
The family wanted to achieve a calm, California-casual style that married boho layers with coastal vibes. "We focused on using natural textures like mango wood, jute, burlap, and grasscloth and pairing them with soft washable fabrics, leather, hide, and sheepskin," she added. "To bring in the coastal mood, we used different shades of blue in each room to keep the spaces feeling cohesive."
With the front room converted into a family space, Barnes transformed the second living area into a meditation room. "All the technology was left behind to cultivate a space for reading, relaxing, and meditating," said Barnes. "Amazing, right? Their family owns a ranch in Mexico, where they love taking their son. This space channeled the peaceful energy they enjoy when they are there. The daybed also makes for the perfect place to stretch out for a nap."
The dining room/kitchen nook was "definitely the hardest space to transform." Firstly, the windows on the two walls were different heights. Secondly, the chairs needed to hold up to daily meals with a toddler yet still look dinner party–ready. Barnes solved the dilemma by investing in stylish smoky ghost chairs that can be wiped down with glass cleaner. "Pairing them with grasscloth shades quickly whipped this room into shape," she said. To dial up the style factor even more, Barnes layered a wool-and-jute rug for texture, a fully stocked bar cart, and a fiddle leaf in a gorgeous hand-painted pot. Voilà!
The master bedroom is definitely the most tranquil room in the house. "My client wanted a space she could unwind in, so we played up the light and kept the clutter to a minimum," Barnes explained. "White walls, drapery, and bedding layered with capiz shells, raffia, burlap, and linen keep this space soft and serene." So dreamy.
The neutral theme continues into the nursery, proving that lighter tones can work even with a toddler. Barnes made sure the space reflected the client’s style needs while making sure it had all the practical elements a toddler needs too. “Like all kiddos, this 2-year-old boy is the man of the house, the king of the castle and the one who rules the roost,” said Barnes. “He was also going through a big transition as we were getting the space ready for him to move in. Shortly after, he moved from the crib to a toddler bed which is a big milestone. For this reason, we selected pieces that would pair well as he continued to move to a ‘big boy bed.’ A pint-size reading couch to cuddle on with his parents and an equally accessible bookshelf make this space smart and safe for a toddler.”
While the powder room is small, it really packs a punch in the style stakes. “The sweetness of the lotus wallpaper paired with the sassy brass mirror make for a big statement,” said Barnes. “And let’s be honest: Grey and brass are always a good idea.”
Their goal was to make each space functional and durable enough to be used every day and survive three cats, a dog, and a dirtbike-riding, couch-surfing 2-year old boy. It also needed to have a luxe feel that was fit for entertaining with ample seating. The biggest challenge, however, was that each room in the house (aside from the sleeping rooms) needed to be designed to function as two different rooms: a living room and a family room, a dining room and a kitchen nook, and—my favourite part of this project—a guest room and a meditation room. Challenge accepted!