SF House Call: Christiana Coop of Ferm Living

SF House Call: Christiana Coop of Ferm Living

Feb 12, 2008

It should come as no surprise that Christiana Coop's San Francisco apartment features some fantastic wallpaper. Afterall, she is the U.S. rep for Danish company Ferm Living. But Christiana's design skills clearly extend well beyond picking just the right wallpaper for her dining room (shown above) or kitchen and living room (pictured below the jump).

How would you describe your decorating style? I tend to go for basic, clean-lined, well-made furniture and add in a wide ranging mix of accessories. I'm drawn to bold and bright, black and white, timeless, trendy, modern but not minimalist, dramatic, delicate, whatever catches my eye. By keeping the furniture understated, I like to create energy and focus with the textures, colors, patterns and shapes of accessories. This energy constantly changes depending on my mood, the people I'm spending time with, my hopes, the places I've been, etc. I'd analogize my style most closely to being an adventurous make-up artist with a preference for solid bone structures. Want sultry eyes? Layer on mascara. A more sultry bedroom? Lay down a sheepskin rug ...

Best bargain in your home and where did you get it? Anything from Ikea. How is everything so cheap there?

Biggest splurge? An Ingo Maurer Birdie chandelier. My dad, who always tried to teach me the importance of spending wisely, would have something close to a heart attack if he knew how much I spent on what is essentially a dozen light bulbs and some wire. But, I do love it so. I suppose you could say I was blinded by the light.

Favorite local resources for furniture and accessories? I can't seem to walk past Eden & Eden without stopping in and discovering something irresistible. And, I always find just the right thing at Area. I also love Rare Device for its uniqueness, Flora Grubb for its wonderful selection of plants, Design Public for great warehouse deals, and Limn for an art gallery experience without needing to buy a ticket.

What's at the top of your list of things to buy next for your home? I've been eyeing the Leaf Light for a bedside reading lamp. It gives off such a soothing glow and looks fantastic. I'd also love to have an Established & Son's Fold floor lamp in the kitchen (and one of their Font clocks too!). At the very top of my dream list, and contrary to my tendency towards modest furniture, is Ligne Roset's Togo seating. I'd go with an armless sofa along the main wall in my living room and a couple fireside chairs curving under the bay window for a circular seating feel. They're such a classic, and I can't think of anything more inviting to sit in. I'm pretty sure I could make them work with this mini-Renaissance revival I seem to have going on at the moment, but there's zero chance I could make them work with what is happening in my bank account.

Favorite spot in your home and why? Right now, it's my kitchen. In an attempt to inspire more home-cooked meals, I added some shelving to display my grandma's cheerful china and to make my cookbooks more accessible. As a backdrop, I hung some custom wallpaper designed by Julia Rothman and added more succulent plants. I think the changes give it more warmth and make it such a pleasant place to spend time reading the paper, working on my laptop, chatting with friends, eating take-out (and hopefully cooking one of these days). Also, from the kitchen window, I have a clear view of the San Francisco sign above the Ferry Building which I just love.

What's on your nightstand? A sturdy glass water pitcher I bought when I lived in Chicago, a die (hmmm, the singular of dice never sounds quite right) made by one of my favorites, Rae Dunn, that serves as a reminder to take more chances, and a red vintage Ericofon. I used to be a lawyer and had the misfortune of being staffed on a case which required countless hours of reviewing emails written by engineers at a high-tech company. They were all so painfully dull, except for a few written by this hip Canadian guy who, in my desperate state to be entertained, became my Euro chic idol. In one of his emails, he recommended to his coworker that she visit this great vintage phone website. So I, of course, had to check it out too, where I immediately purchased the phone — thus discovering a shiny red gem buried deep in a never ending chain of mind-numbing emails. Its rotary dial is as impractical as its ring tone is intolerable, but it always makes me smile.

Favorite childhood memento that's in your home? A framed picture of a chrysanthemum that my grandmother drew while attending grammar school in Yorkshire. I never met her, but my mom frequently described her to me when I was a little girl. I wish that I could have known her and often picture her diligently coloring at her desk. I am sure that I would have loved her very much and vice versa.

Favorite travel keepsake? A mosaic bird made from fragments of broken English china. I picked it up at this cool shop in London called Contemporary Applied Arts. Mosaic work has never been my thing, but the longer I have the bird, the more I appreciate its different marks, patterns and glazes. Plus, broken china is supposed to bring good luck. Can never get enough of that!

Current inspiration(s) for your work? I'm not sure whether to admit this, but I've been reading some (okay, all) of Philippa Gregory's historical novels over the past few months. And, don't get me started about my obsession with "The Tudors" on Showtime. I think so much time spent imagining a royal life at court has steered me towards my most recent purchases — richly-colored velvet pillows in mustard and plums, playful goblets, and golden accents.

Favorite home/design magazines or websites? Other than AT... design*sponge, poppy talk, oh joy!, decor8, pointclickhome and casasugar are my favorites. I have subscriptions to Domino, Dwell, Sunset, Architectural Digest and Elle Décor. And I can never resist the latest ReadyMade, Real Simple or Wallpaper at the check-out counter.

Thanks for letting us take a peek at your home, Christiana!

Pssst ... If you like any of the wallpaper in Christiana's home, you can find them at Ferm Living or Wall Collection. Christiana also blogs and maintains an interior design business.

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