A Colorful “Tongue-in-Chic” San Francisco Apartment

updated Jun 18, 2019

A Colorful “Tongue-in-Chic” San Francisco Apartment

updated Jun 18, 2019
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Name: Ginevra Held and her mom, Beverly
Location: Richmond — San Francisco, California
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: Ginevra — 1.5 years; Beverly — 10 years, owned

Ginevra has been surrounded by art all of her life. Her mom has a PhD in art history, so Ginevra has been to countless art museums around the world—an amenity that has obviously influenced her style. Her brother is also a glass artist and craftsman who often collaborates with her to execute design ideas. Just recently, he drew all over a Restoration Hardware ottoman in the living room at Ginevra’s request, adding that extra “oomph” she strives for in each room. Clearly, the house is buzzing with creativity. But it’s thanks to Ginevra’s unique point of view as an interior designer that each space feels new and unexpected.

Ginevra describes their San Francisco home as a laboratory and a creative outlet, and it helps that her mom Beverly is the owner and client. Beverly has owned the home for 10 years, and Ginevra moved in nearly two years ago after spending time abroad in Europe. Since then, Ginevra has taken charge of the decor, experimenting non-stop on every surface of the home—that is, if mom approves. “Mum has been the thoughtful curator throughout the process. She has the final say—the director’s cut,” she says. “This is her house after all, and she really is the best client an interior designer could wish for!”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Tongue-in-chic, eclectic, bohemian, French and English

Inspiration: There are so many! All the traveling we have done as a family over the years. The cities of Paris and London. No matter how many times I visit, they offer something new. Museums! Numerous movements and styles like 18th century French architecture, Renaissance high art, street art, pop art, modern art, contemporary designers, mid-century modern design, art deco, and art nouveau.

Favorite Element: The Fornasetti wallpapers I ordered from London (three different ones and counting), Fornasetti plates and objects, the trompe l’oeil Haussmann-style French door wall sticker, the graffiti murals my brother created, the chair and ottoman he Sharpie-d, the canvas rug, and all of the glass art my brother has created, including a family of rats and life-size heads.

Biggest Challenge: This house had been stripped of almost all of its architectural detail, so I really had to just go for it when it came to decorating using color and patterns and wall treatments to give the place character and soul.

What Friends Say: “You’ve changed it again!” or “Where did you get this?!”

Biggest Embarrassment: There is nothing really embarrassing. I’ve tried a number of things in the house that didn’t work, so I just took them down or painted over them. Okay, fine! Also, my closet. I have not tackled that yet; I am so not a “storage” designer, but a nice pretty organized closet would be awesome.

Proudest DIY: This whole place! I did everything here myself or enlisted my brother to help me. I hung the wallpaper and I painted all the rooms. I designed and sewed the draped pelmet canopy for the bed.

Biggest Indulgence: Contemporary chairs, lamps, and Fornasetti decor.

Best Advice: The most important thing I’ve learned as a designer, doing so much of the work myself, is to not underestimate the power of high-quality paint. I went through a big trial and error period with cheap paint, and it was not fun. I now only use Farrow and Ball. Also, as an interior designer myself, I get really sort of bummed out by all the lists of rules to follow. The number one rule is there are no rules! It’s much more fun to design as the English do, with wanton abandon and a love of color and pattern. Don’t get all caught up in these articles that tell you how to decorate. It’s intuitive. And it’s a process. And again, my “no-rule” rule: paint is the most amazing decorative tool, the least expensive, and the easiest to re-do.

Dream Sources: Studio 65, de Gournay, Moooi, ABC Carpet and Home, Design Within Reach, Roche Bobois


Alvar Aalto umbrella stand — Hive Modern

Fornasetti wall paper— Cole and Son
LC4 chaise lounge — Design Within Reach
Lorraine Chair — Restoration Hardware
Louis XV ottoman — One King’s Lane
Alvar Aalto armchairs — Artek
Philippe Starck gnome stool — Hive Modern
Antique mirror — One King’s Lane
Eileen grey side table — Design Within Reach
Fornasetti pillows — Barneys New York
Moooi rabbit lamp — Hive Modern
Sofa — IKEA
Pendant lamp — IKEA
Book shelves — IKEA

Haussmann trompe l’oeil door decal — Martin Margiela Home
Eero Saarinen tulip table — Knoll
Red leather chairs — Zanotta
Fornasetti plates (various) — L’Eclaireur, Paris
Faux deer heads — White Faux Taxidermy
Achille Castiglione frisbi lamp — Flos, Rome

Pendant lamp Muuto — Merci, Paris

Louis ghost armchair by Philippe Starck — Hive Modern
Skateboard — Supreme
Fornasetti TeatroCole and Son
Bourgie lamp — Hive Modern
Mirrors (painted) — IKEA

Alvar Aalto side tables — Design within Reach
Side table lamps — IKEA

Thanks, Ginevra & Beverly!

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