Interior designers are crucial to seeing the potential of a space as a whole. When a family of three contacted Lauren Nelson to help them with their new home’s design in Laurel Heights in San Francisco, they initially thought that the project would entail a kitchen gut renovation and a bathroom revamp. However, after the first couple of meetings with the designer, they soon realized that their home could work so much better for them if they tackled the whole space at once.

“The layout of the main living spaces had some major issues,” Lauren explained. “There was a large wall dividing the entry from the dining area and kitchen, which made the home seem much smaller than it was and blocked flow and natural light.” The 1,700 square-foot home had expansive views of the Golden Gate Bridge, but the interior was compartmentalized and dark. The homeowners knew that trusting Lauren’s vision would help the interiors live up to the same level that their space’s vistas offered. “By opening up the dining room and kitchen to each other and removing the central wall near the entry, it created an expansiveness and openness that made the space feel much grander and more generous in proportion,” she added.

In the master bedroom there was also an opportunity for a reconfiguration: “We borrowed space from the bedroom, which was a generous size, to create a walk-in closet and expanded the master bathroom. We added a skylight which made all the difference – our firm always tries to maximize natural light in bathrooms, as it’s so important to actually see what you’re doing in there and it lifts the mood.”

Deciding on the aesthetic of the interiors was a straightforward process. For instance, the homeowners had a deep appreciation for Kelly Wearstler’s maximalist and modernist style. “The directive was to ‘use as much teal as possible’ and make it feel glam but approachable,” Lauren said, “mixing Art Deco and Modernist elements.” The clients were able to bring in a dose of their design hero’s flair with the Kelly Wearstler for Ann Sacks geometric tile for their kitchen backsplash, complemented beautifully by the two-toned teal cabinetry. To add warmth, Lauren designed a custom-made ash dining table with curvaceous Gubi Beetle chairs. Natural and more relaxed pieces were included such as simple white linen drapes framing the windows and a sisal watercolor mural in the master bedroom. “I think balance is important in any space,” she added. “It allows your eye to rest on certain elements without being overwhelmed by visual overload.”