Crystal's Dramatic Home in San Francisco

Crystal's Dramatic Home in San Francisco

Marcia Prentice
Jul 5, 2012

Name: Crystal Gentilello, Co-founder & Editor in Chief of Rue Magazine
Location: San Francisco, CA
Size: 1,600 square feet
Years lived in: Since February 2011

When you get an e-mail from Crystal Gentilello, co-founder of Rue Magazine, saying she is interested in having you photograph her home, you cancel your weekend plans, pack up your gear, and drive up to San Francisco. I'd never met Crystal in person, but I felt like I knew her already through the fun personality that comes through the editorial voice of Rue. Of course, I just knew her place was going to be good!

Crystal's home is dramatic and unexpected at the same time. The pink and feminine bedroom definitely suits her personality which makes the dark and moody living and dining room a total surprise. The living room is my favorite in the home; it feels like a chic hotel lounge where you would gather with friends for drinks. What I also love about her design is that every room has a statement light fixture that adds to the look - no recessed lights here!

While Crystal and I were talking, I mentioned that she could definitely have a career in interior design, as well. With all the designers she knows through the magazine you would assume she might have gotten help with her place, but the entire design is her own eye and talent. Yes, she is one multi-talented lady!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I have a very tailored and refined aesthetic. I gravitate toward serene spaces, neutral color palettes, and classic silhouettes. When it comes to design, proportion, scale, and placement are most instinctive for me as a decorator.

Inspiration: My previous home was very light and airy and decorated with lots of white (white walls, white sofa, white chairs...), which I absolutely loved. But I wanted to go the opposite direction with this place - partially to challenge myself, partially to get it out of my system - and experiement with a dark and moody look. I painted my living room in a beautiful charcoal to create a feel of drama and opted for furniture and accessories in darker colors than I'd normally pick. The outcome is a really cozy feel... perfect for lounging and entertaining!

Favorite Element: It's so hard to pick just one favorite element. I love each of the rooms differently but equally. I love the mood that the dark living room walls sets for the space, I'm also really fond of my wall of mirrors in the dining room, and of course, my ultra fem pink bedroom is the perfect, girly oasis for me to end my days in.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was definitely the kitchen. When I moved in there were no shelves or cabinets for storage, the stove and fridge were very dated, the water heater was exposed, and there was hardly any counter space. So I had open shelves installed, updated the appliances, had a contractor build an encasement around the water heater, and brought in a woodblock island for more prep space.

What Friends Say: That it's the perfect reflection of me. I get a lot of compliments on my Serena & Lily sofa in the living room and pink bedroom walls.

Biggest Embarrassment: The fact that half of my home is still unfinished. Thankfully the other half wasn't photographed! But I'm busy getting the other rooms done this summer!

Proudest DIY: I'm not much of a DIY gal, but I did paint the tops of my dining room chairs to match the décor better. They arrived in green and I painted them a light gray. I also spray painted my nightstand and all the pewter hardware in my bedroom to bronze. That's about as DIY as I get!

Biggest Indulgence: Moving in with zero furniture and starting over from scratch. It was so exciting and inspiring to have a blank canvas!

Best Advice: When I approach any design project, I like to pick a point of view and stick to it. With all the inspiration out there at our finger tips (magazines, blog, p Pinterest...), it's hard not to fall in love with so much of what we see. Remembering this design philosophy helps me stay focused and achieve a well edited space.

Dream Sources: European flea markets!

Resources of Note:




Living Room

Dining Room



Living Room





Living Room

Thanks, Crystal!

(Images: Marcia Prentice)

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Re-edited from a post originally published on 7.5.12 - AB

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