A note from our editors: 

It’s time for one of our favorite traditions! Each year, we spend the holidays reflecting on the stories and articles you loved most. It’s the “Best of Rue” and this is one of 2020’s top stories. Enjoy!

Previously published on October 20, 2020:

Anthony and Garrett, two newlyweds who work in tech, bought their first home together in San Francisco’s Miraloma Park neighborhood. It was an Art Deco row house from the ’20s that was in pretty good shape but lacked the drama and touch of whimsy that the homeowners wanted. After living there for a few months as is, they hired interior designer Leo Cesareo to make their new space a bit more glam, grown up, and perfect for entertaining.

“Their home was missing the flare for the dramatic that my client Anthony wanted,” Leo told us. “The kitchen and master bathroom were dated and in need of a new design direction. We were able to come up with a design that was respectful of the age of the home and yet modern and eclectic.” To do this, Leo focused on the details – black cabinetry in the kitchen and brass fixtures both in the hardware, wall shelves, and lighting had an especially large impact in creating that Art Deco glamour that his clients wanted. A custom slatted wooden hood in the kitchen gave the room a contemporary touch that balanced out the antique accessories dotted around the space.

The star feature of the home’s redesign, though, is the custom banquette that Leo designed and had made by a local woodworker and upholsterer. Its gold upholstery matches the brass used throughout the home, and the black base mimics the kitchen cabinetry. Besides serving a stunningly beautiful dining area for the homeowners, with an ingenious system of leather straps holding up the backrest, the banquette offers much needed extra storage, always a welcomed addition to any smaller space.

Leo continued to find ways to meet his clients needs and hopes for their new home. Garrett had few requests, but among them was that there be a recliner in the living room. “We managed to find a great option that was custom upholstered to match the living room,” the designer explained. Another element in this part of the home that was on the client wishlist was a fireplace. “It was kind of a nightmare,” Leo admitted. “We had to make sure that it came out perfectly and didn’t end up looking cheap. It was a big undertaking and really put a dent in our budget, but it’s such a great addition to the living room that it really was the right call. My client still sends me pictures of them enjoying a book next to the fire on a cold and rainy day and it makes me happy to know that it was worth all the trouble.”

With San Francisco’s tough policy on granting permits and the normal setbacks that occur with an older home from the ’20s, the project took a little longer than expected but concluded right before the pandemic hit. “Garrett and Anthony absolutely love their new home and are thankful that we got started on it when we did,” Leo said, “since everyone’s spending so much time at home now.”