Before & After: Taking a Room from Bland to Beautiful

Professional: John James Design
Location of Project: San Francisco, California

John sent us in this amazing makeover, the before is all good bones, but a bit bland and boxy and the after is a truly one-of-a-kind beauty! We’ll let him tell you a little bit about it in his own words …

About this project: Think dot-com-over-priced-drywall and amazing view meets intuitive designer, fabulous clients and some DIY elements.

I approached an art student because of the alligator she had sketched on her folder and before you knew it, she was up and down the scaffolding like a monkey, getting well paid as she deserved it and making a splash in this now very fabulous condo.

Tipsy chandelier installer singing folk songs to my slightly nervous but giggling client, to the hard rock loving wallpaper hanger who insisted she be given BBQ potato chips while working along with a 6 pack of diet Coke. (Not really insisted but strongly suggested)

About his work: I love to make things pretty and that is my tag line. “Making Things Pretty” I also am a wedding florist. I blissfully do both after deciding I simply could not choose between the two. I have been working in SF for 15 years and have lived here for 20. I love color, I love collaboration and I truly believe that everyone has a clear vision of what they want but are often fearful of saying it. They keep the real personality under wraps. I have a unique intuition and humor that makes my clients comfortable telling me everything. It makes for much better design and the kind of ownership clients really appreciate. Then they eventually tell me to just take care of it anyway, but appreciate, as do I, the input and the collaboration.

Nothing is more exciting than a client who is confident showing me their contribution to the design of their room, home, garden, wedding, outfit, hair style etc. It’s a great thing to see.


Artist: Jessica Toney handpainted the birds on the ceiling and trees on the bedroom wall.

Chandelier/Installation: Mikel (Michael) from Light For You on West Portal.

Wallpaper Hanger: Susan Arce at (get this) Wall-nuts. Her number is (415) 810-2889.

Drapes: The super good linen drapes are made by the bombshell drapery goddess Joanna Orr at The Workroom, San Leandro.

Paint: Farrow and Ball Pavillion Gray and Blue Ground no. 210

Wallpaper: Farrow and Ball Silvergate Collection BP810

Sofa: The fabulous teal velvet mid century settee is from the venerable (well almost venerable but super really good) Monument on Valencia.

Swing: My contractor hung the swing. It is a piece of felled redwood from the hippies at Artisan Burlwood in Berkeley. The chains are 1/2 inch thick nautical chains suspended from the ceiling. (removable)

Walnut Shelves: Global Word Source (ask for Andi) in San Jose.

MORE INFO: John James Design

Thanks John!

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