Brian’s Serenely Styled Sanctuary

published May 4, 2010
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Brian H. Andriola
Location: San Francisco, CA
Size: 800 s.f.
Years lived in: 1 year

Upon first glance, it isn’t hard to understand how Brian Andriola has made quite a successful career for himself as a prop stylist. Brian’s home is a culmination of beautiful furniture, art, and accessories accumulated over many years. The provenance and character of each piece is more important than whether it “goes” with the decor, and the result is a whimsical and welcoming home.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

After 15 years in New York building an impressive career in the decorative arts, Brian packed up and moved across the country to the Bay Area. With 400 boxes meticulously packed and some key pieces of furniture, all of his belongings made it intact. He has since unpacked and styled himself quite a romantic home. Fueled with a love for the antique, the odd, and the interesting, Brian’s home is a veritable cabinet of curiosities. In spite of the multitudes of interesting objects to take in, he manages to maintain a light sense of calm and serenity that makes this a home we would move into in a heartbeat. Take a look at his website, full of images of his stylings, and you’ll understand more about how his eye and knack for arranging has created such a graceful space.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: Palette and texture driven. Old store. Cabinet of Curiosity.

Inspiration: It’s always evolving and in motion, much like life. When I find something beautiful I am not worried about if it belongs. It will always find its place in my home. Usefulness is important, but beauty reigns. I do my best to keep like things together, in fact it’s a mantra and a good philosophy for collectors. What I’ve got going on may not work for many, but the one thing we all have in common is that our home is an expression of individuality. My home is also where I get to live out some of my decorating whims, test ideas, try new things.

Favorite Element: The light, the open floor plan, the classic detailing and the view!

Biggest Challenge: The challenge is always how to maximize the space to get the best use out of it. With the obvious tendency to bring home more than there is room for, there is a constant amount of letting go that needs to happen as well. I inherited the colors. Green in the main space and a strange almost fleshy neutral in the bedroom. My color sense was more greys, cooler. So instead of fight with it I ended up working with the colors that were there which set up a new challenge.

What Friends Say: My friends are either freaked out, intrigued or totally get it.

Biggest Embarrassment: OMG. Piles. You have no idea.

Proudest DIY: Covering my over-loved Billy Baldwin sofa with a washed down giant cotton tarp from the hardware store. One day it will be reupholstered, but for the meantime I liked this $59 solution. Also, the “city” on the very top shelf of the built in shelves is made from the assembly of pulp packing material found in boxes. This was such an odd and very high shelf that I wanted something up there, but didnt know what. I liked the shapes this bi-product made when all together. Lastly the packing and moving of everything I loved and getting it across the country without a single broken piece. 400 boxes and pieces of furniture. Everything survived because of excellent packing.

Biggest Indulgence: The Gustavian desk (1771-1792). I love the lines, the patina and the functionality. Its built incredibly well and hasnt been touched in 200+ years. Although it was expensive it was a very good price for what it was, making it irresistable in the end.

Best advice: If you love it than make it happen, inspiration is everywhere, dont try to hard, live casually, everything is precious but nothing is too precious either. Allow yourself to love something and not know why, academia is only for enhancing your knowledge of things, but value is subjective. Listen to the stories objects tell, enrich your home with layers.

Dream source: The dream source is the unexpected. Some of my favorite things I’ve found in the oddest places. The best stores and showrooms are amazing sources and incredibly inspiring, but attainable beauty is everywhere. My favorite circle of sources are antique co-ops, flea markets, outlets, hardware stores, estate sales, salvage yards, cool shops, weird garage sales, online dealers, auctions, general stores, thrift stores, furniture showrooms, etc.

Inspiration: See above dream sources!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


On top of the Gustavian desk: a charcoal and pencil of Pan created by my grandmother Grace Purpura. The bullseye mirror above and industrial lamp sit next to a piece of log found on the street in NYC. I saw this odd beautiful shape in the trash pile one snowy night on the walk from the subway to my apartment. Its been with me ever since. The Thonet chair was a $10 find.

On the bedside: the yellow lamp was a $6 find at a church sale in Los Angeles, and the painting behind is by a NY artist from the mid 1900’s

In the alcove: Made from a storm window, th glass cabinet holds my cisollection of early American blown glass. The two chairs were first spotted at an estate sale for $400 but where eventually found again at the flea market for $80. I loved them the first time and was so happy to see them again the second time at a much more affordable price. The clock case on the left was the first and only piece of furniture ever purchased from the famous action house Christies in NY at an anual Americana auction. So primitive and humble, its almost modern.

In the hall off of the bedroom: The painting of circles was by me and the still life was found in the trash room of my apartment in NY. Love the combination of old and new.

In the bedroom: This giant painting above the bed is by a Pasadena artist by way of Sweden. It was painted in the 1930s in Santa Monica. Its huge and heavy and faces west. I try to collect pieces that are distinctive to an area (the smaller one being the West Coast, probably Northern California). The large clay pot is actually a primitive, possibly Mexican pottery that was used for holding water.

Off of the kitchen: This is an old store mirror found for $20 in the basement of a shop in
Pennsylvania, its amazing, super thick glass and just the right amount of flaking. It sits on whats now referred to as the Matthew table named after a friend who was with me when I found it. The table is metal with Queen Anne style legs and was used for holding two square galvanized wash tubs.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

(Thanks, Brian!)

Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.