Natalie Bowen Designs + Porro

Natalie Bowen Designs + Porro

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Kim Lucian
Dec 9, 2014
(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Name: Natalie Bowen Brookshire & Seth Brookshire
Location: SOMA; San Francisco, California
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years in Business: Natalie 10 years, Seth 15 years, Studio has been open for one year

The combined studios of Natalie Bowen Designs and Seth's architecture firm Porro are just as you would expect from the creative duo. The perfect combination of clean, modern architecture with functional-but-stylish finishes like the concrete floors meets the softer, more romantic touches that Natalie brings the space: Dreamy artwork, vintage vessels of all shapes and flowers— the space is brimming with flowers.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

It is this exercise in opposites that strikes you when you walk through the door and it is also what makes the space work so beautifully. While both businesses share a conference room, entryway and outdoor space, you can really see the individual elements of their style in the two distinct workspaces that the businesses occupy. Seth's office is clean lined and modern with books arranged in neat rows and objects that feels almost sculptural in context—all of which is punctuated with unapologetically bright pops of orange. Natalie's studio is full of soft colors and organic shapes, with vessels and tools that show a patina lining her shelves. Both are an example of how to successfully bring style to your workplace, be it solo or shared.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Our style is clean, modern and unfussy. The space is for both of our businesses and the style of the studio really represents the two of us and where our individual aesthetics meet. Seth designed a modern canvas allowing Natalie to continually let floral and decor elements brought in for each client modify the space.

Inspiration: The place was a dump when we moved in. Our inspiration was to transform a hole in the wall into a beautiful space that we—and our employees—wanted to come to.

Favorite Element: The back yard. When we moved in the back yard was knee deep in weeds and we didn't even know there was brick underneath. We have turned this space into our favorite room and eat lunch out there almost every day. Both Seth's office and Natalie's workshop have sliding glass doors out to the yard, which allows us to enjoy the garden year round. It doubles as a terrific party spot.

Biggest Challenge: How to transform a wood-paneled law office that had been deteriorating since the '80s into an studio that reflected our passions without tearing the building down and starting from scratch.

What Friends Say: You'd never know what was back here until you come through the front door.

Biggest Embarrassment: Low water pressure in a floral studio is quite the drag. The water literally dribbles out.

Proudest DIY: How very little we actually reconfigured the space to transform the flow and layout. By simply moving door openings and even closing one door up, we were able to make the rooms feel more streamlined and open.

Biggest Indulgence: Natalie: My own personal cutting garden. Having a garden is an incredible bonus but not a necessity. Seth: Lighting! This time of year you hardly notice because the sun is always shining, but in the dead of winter when the days are short and the fog is thick having great lighting inside and out makes a huge difference.

Best Advice: Natalie: Marry an architect. Seth: Once you have found the space, take the time to make wise decisions. You are going to be there a while.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Resources of Note:

CONFERENCE ROOM

  • Wood chairs in the meeting room: Organic Modernism
  • Yellow chairs in the meeting room: Bluedot
  • Table: Ikea
  • Console: CB2
  • Rug: Westelm
  • Cast Resin vase: Martha Sturdy
  • Planter: HipHaven Bullet Planter
  • Painting on conference room wall: Anna Korkobcova
  • Prints of Natalie's Work

NATALIE'S WORKSHOP

  • Table and sink: Economy Restaurant Supply
  • Black shelves: custom
  • Silver bins: Home Depot

SETH'S OFFICE

  • Table: Ikea
  • Desk lamps: Pablo
  • Chair: Eames Aluminum Group
  • Black shelves : custom
  • Lighting: Artemide

FRONT ROOM/GALLERY

  • Table: Economy Restaurant Supply
  • Ribbon wall: Custom
  • Storage bins: The Container Store
  • Vintage Ladder: Alemeda Flea Market
  • Mounted plants: various sources including Flora Grubb

BACKYARD

  • Table chairs: CB2
  • White outdoor chairs: HD Buttercup
  • Green and yellow Chair: CB2
  • Concrete table: Flora Grubb
  • Planters: from various sources including West Elm, Flora Grubb, CB2

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Thanks, Natalie and Seth!

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