Alison’s Eclectic Mix in a Cozy San Francisco Apartment

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Name: Alison Hotchkiss
Location: Mission; San Francisco, California
Size: 700 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; Rented

Event Planner Alison‘s home is a reflection of her finely honed aesthetic, cultivated both by years in the wedding and event industry and her travels throughout the world. When quizzed on her resources she was as likely to drop the name of an exotic locale as a big box store.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Alison’s San Francisco apartment is polished, with a bit of spunk and wit, and her personality is infused into every square foot of the space, from the “Let’s go to New York” decal to the gallery wall containing the work of many of her friends and associates. Mixed patterns and prints abound, and she has never met a throw pillow she didn’t like. The end result is a lesson in personal style, layering and creating a home that truly reflects who you are.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Vintage, classic, ethnic and eclectic. Textured, layered, playful patterns in complimentary colors.

Inspiration: I’m inspired by my travels and the ocean. I love the beach and surf culture and nature in general, so I tend to go for neutrals against ocean inspired tones, with added pops or color and vintage inspired or woven patterns.

As an event producer designing events for my clients around the world, I always end up with something from my events, whether it be a drape we used as a backdrop that I later turned into pillows, or a runner I used at a wedding in Mexico that turned into my office storage curtain, or napkins I had fabricated for a party that the client didn’t care to keep and I ended up with. I have lots of goodies to play with and entertain with.

Favorite Element: I have a photo my friend Jose Villa shot and put on a large canvas, of sea kelp floating in tropical blue water, that sits over my bed. I also love my gallery wall with artwork from friends like Brooke Duthie, Thayer Allyson Gowdy, Christine from Yellow Owl Workshop, Josh from Chen designs, Allan Zepeda, Jose Villa, Jesse Leake, Michael Oneal, Erin Heart’s Court, and vintage photos of my parents in the 70’s and 80’s.

Biggest Challenge: Working in a small space and being a collector, I have had to rein in my love for pillows and blankets because there just is not enough room.

What Friends Say: It feels like a tree house because it has so much natural light, and it’s cozy.

Biggest Embarrassment: I need major cord management. I put all of the cords by my desk into a basket from Turkey and threw some colorful scarves on top. A good temporary solution, but I know how messy it is under those scarves. Also, a poorly hung shelf in the bedroom covered by prints above my dresser. Thank god for Task Rabbit, as I am not the best at home repairs.

Proudest DIY: I love my gallery wall — it started with one print and then kept growing. It brings back so many memories. I also love the family photo gallery in the guest room. I had a bunch of old images reprinted from slides to pay homage to my roots, since all the photos in my apt are of me and my fiancé. The frames are all from IKEA and Cheap Pete’s, along with some thrift shop finds.

Biggest Indulgence: The wooden desk, I have always wanted one and I was lucky to get a generous cash tip last year that I used for it.

Best Advice: If you find something amazing when traveling and are pondering if you should buy it: if you want it, get it. I have so many amazing things I got along my adventures, and it’s fun to fill the apartment with memories. You also end up with things that you can’t just go to the store and get and one of a kind pieces.

Dream Sources: eBay and Craigslist; Monocle, great inspiration for worldwide art and design and travel; Dwell Magazine, especially the small spaces; Lori Yoeman’s my amazing interior designer partner for Event Space Consulting; ABC Carpet and Home; Elle Decor UK, I love their textiles; Nest on Fillmore, Great french inspired interiors; Architectural Digest.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Resources of Note:


•Light grey eggshell


•White ceramic side table and wooden stump table, Roost Co •Books, Amazon •White ceramic Planters, Flora Grub and Ikea •Blue ceramic plant holders, Heath •Wooden slotted coffee table, vintage inherited from a friend •Stone planter, sidewalk find •White pots on coffee table, Flora Grubb •Mexican woven pillows, Mixtik in Tulum •Turkish Ikat pillows, Bazaar in Istanbul •Cable knit throw, Restoration Hardware •Beige and ivory stripe throw, West Elm •Navy velour pillow, West Elm •Blue and ivory Aztec woven pillow, ABC Carpet and Home •Blue velour chair, Room and Board •Navy and black pouf, DWR •Navy and ivory living room rug, Market in Morocco •Oatmeal linen couch, DWR •Wooden desk, DWR •Orange fabric office chair, Vintage Flea Market •Vintage ivory candy jar, inherited from Grandma Hotchkiss •White picture frames, Cheap Peers •Pink graphic print above desk, Jenny Pennywood •Gold framed ship artwork, vintage shop in Wyoming •Candle sticks, inherited from Grandma Kibbe •Tea cup, inherited from Grandma Hotchkiss •Wooden toys, vintage from Zurich •Chess set, shop in Italy


•Vintage blue glass bottles, Etsy •Blue and white ceramic car bowl, gift from my fiancé, made in Zurich •Cookbooks, Chronicle who published my books •White Bertoia chairs with orange cushion, DWR •Massive airplant, Flora Grubb •Letter E from, Alameda Flea •Love Artwork, Etsy •Kitchen Table, West Elm •Place matts, boutique in Connecticut, Chilawick brand •Candle sticks, inherited from Grandma Hotchkiss •Skateboard,prototype of fiancé’s new skateboard line ‘Barefooter’ •F*** it let’s go to NY decal, found on Pinterest from a Company in the UK •Penguin chalkboard, the Modern Museum in Barcelona •Knife holder, Ikea •OB Surf print, Mark Gordon •Cutting board, Heath Ceramics


• Linen duvet and blue and white pillows, Restoration Hardware • Ivory and oatmeal linen curtains, Ikea •Green throw blanket, purchased in Sweden •Green oversized pillow, John Robshaw •Horsehead light, Roost •Green glass light, Big Daddy Antiques •Jewelry holders, Mark Made and Catbird NYC •Wooden shelves and striped carpet, Roost Co • Gallery prints: Brooke Duthie, Thayer Allyson Gowdy, Christine from Yellow Owl Workshop, Josh from Chen designs, Allan Zepeda, Jesse Leake, Jose Villa, Michael Oneal, and Erin Heart’s Court •Wooden bench end of bed, Zinc Details •Wooden stacked table next to bed, Roost •Wood Dresser, Ikea •Shoe rack, Bed Bath and Beyond


• Rug, from Morocco • Couch, Zinc Details • Wall shelves and frames, IKEA • Prints from old slides of my parents • Wooden art, Big Daddy Antique • Shelf, sidewalk find • Big basket, Ikea


• Recycled Chinese newspaper mirror, Friend or Friend •Colorful towels, purchased in Turkey •Navy towels, Bed Bath and Beyond •Blue woven carpet, Flora Grubb • Shower curtain, Restoration Hardware •Custom duck soap, Italy
(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Thanks, Alison!

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