About 15 miles south of San Francisco is Burlingame, a charming town with friendly tree-lined streets and an eclectic mix of cottage and bungalow style homes. It was here that Linnea Clark of Studio NEA was tasked with her latest project: a home for a family with three small children. Typically, Studio NEA’s scope of work includes architectural elements and major renovations, but here, the family was only interested in updating finishes, fixtures, and furnishings.
“These clients were such a joy to work with because they wanted a home that reflected their fun-loving side but also needed a design that had enough presence to fill the expansive spaces and tall ceilings,” Linnea says. “Finished with a hint of glamour. They also value unique pieces and even commissioned me to create a custom folded paper sculpture which hangs over the console table in the living room.”
In this home, the interplay of sculptural and natural elements ensure Linnea’s vision would be brought to life. The entryfoyer features a feather triptych by Barluga Studios, which the designer says was sourced from a wonderful little shop in Half Moon Bay called Hometown Mercantile. “The softness of the feathers is contrasted with the cool marble and black of the credenza,” she explains.
Moving to the dining room, the heft of the angular oak dining table by Usona Home is balanced by a light and airy Articolo Moni pendant. “Pops of greenery in the Light And Ladder vases add freshness and vibrancy,” Linnea shares. In the living room, they wanted to add dimension and did so with a stunning focal point: floating oak and steel shelves from Croft House are layered with greenery and flouncy texture. “We found the perfect family sofa at Hometown Mercantile in Half Moon Bay. It has a gel fill which requires no fluffing, and the black hides any spills from the little ones. The marble tables with concrete and wood décor add depth and texture.”
In the bedroom and bathrooms, more details pop out. “Two of my favorite pieces in the house are in the Primary Suite,” Linnea says. “The massive chaise from Home Nature and the oversized Tonto poufs from Cisco at the foot of the bed have a subtle opulence in white linen.” Another torn paper piece, also by Linnea, hangs above the chaise in a vintage frame.
The project proves you don’t always need a major renovation to see a full transformation. Below, Linnea tells us how she created architecture impact without any construction:
Simply put we used the design strategies that we typically apply to architectural design and applied them to the selection and placement of finishes, fixtures, and furnishings, specifically:
1. Create clean sculptural expressions using oversized pieces to anchor large spaces.
2. Create Rhythm. Many items were installed in pairs or in trios, this creates a visual rhythm, which is an architectural principal. An example of this is that we added a third pendant over the island to play off of the three stools and bays of the island. Mixed with the black and white palette this creates a graphic statement.
3. A controlled color palette. Many times when working with an existing home my goal is to create longer, cleaner lines by simplifying the massing and palette. In this case, the existing home had a mix of neutrals in the wall colors, window trims, and cabinetry which was visually breaking-up the vertical planes. By painting everything out the same color we created a monochromatic background which makes the sculptural furnishing pop and gives a cleaner expression. Similarly, we used a controlled color palette in several other spaces, for example in the Principal Bedroom, the Aubergine Natural Silk wall covering picks up the purple threads in the textural rug. At the Principal Bath Vanity the oversized pitcher compliments the muted gray of the cabinetry.