Makers & Designers
See How BK Interior Design Transformed a Historic Ross Property
As the saying goes, “good design takes time.” Such was the case for the collaboration between BK Interior Design and Polsky Perlstein Architects, who spent two years weaving together a tapestry of open space, color and pattern to bring their clients’ dream home to life. Founder and principal designer Brad Krefman recounts, “Our clients’ love of vibrant hues and playful motifs inspired a thoughtful and inviting space.” To achieve this vision, the team embraced the idiosyncrasies of the original architecture and infused vintage and found objects to imbue the space with a softness and sense of wonder. While the clients wished to maintain the home’s structural integrity, they also longed for a modern, open floor plan. “The challenge was to balance interior and exterior spaces while preserving privacy,” explains Krefman.
The solution was a system of three expansive bifold windows that bathed the home in natural light and panoramic views while ensuring a sense of seclusion for the homeowners. The result is a design showpiece that seamlessly blends function and beauty.
How would you describe the aesthetic? Eclectic. The furniture is country-rustic meets old-world charm. The architecture is traditional with modern elements. The large openings and connection to the outside represent a real modern way of living. At the same time, the interior trim package and detailing are traditional and reference the type of profiles that would be used when the house was originally built at the turn of the century.
Tell us a bit about the color and pattern choices. A deep blue-gray (Benjamin Moore Gray Gardens) color is used on all the interior trim work and sets the tone for a moodier space. We kept with these deeper, saturated colors on the sofa. The rug was the clients’ and served as a starting point for the other fabrics. We mixed and matched patterns — a traditional plaid from Cowtan & Tout on the vintage chairs from 1stDibs. The pillows are Timorous Beasties. The sofa was made at local Marin upholstery shop Michael’s Custom Built. The coffee table is an old prison daybed from France in the 1800s from Obsolete in L.A. There are inscriptions and drawings on it — like tattoos that tell a story about the inmates who must have slept on it in its previous life.
How did the different woods play a part in the kitchen and dining room design? We wanted the floor, table and beams to be a similar tone so all horizontal wood surfaces were cohesive. We punctuated this neutral background with black chairs, a wall clock and a case piece. Contrast creates definition.
What did it take to achieve the lived-in feeling? The mix-and-match chairs from O&G Studio and rustic woods help make the room feel unpretentious and casual. We wanted finishes that had a timeworn look. This was not only an aesthetic choice, but also a practical one. A young family lives here so having surfaces that are already distressed helps hide the first nick or scratch caused by daily life.
Tell us how the design for the kitchen evolved. We were tasked with designing a new kitchen with modern appliances, but we also wanted it to look like it had been part of the house from the beginning. Both the beam and oak floor are reclaimed wood and instantly add rustic charm. The trim work throughout the house is a blue-gray and we chose cabinets to match. We selected Fireclay brick for the backsplash and an aged copper hood early on, which brought an earthiness. We mixed that with marble from Da Vinci, which had warm tones that would also patina.
Were there any challenges with designing this indoor-outdoor space? Polsky Perlstein was instrumental in detailing the large doors and windows. We took careful consideration with the furniture plan and layout to ensure it all flowed well for easy entertaining. Though these photos are static, you can easily imagine a large group of people flowing from indoors to outdoors enjoying each other’s company.
Tell us about the swings! Who doesn’t love a swing? These particular ones are from Thomas Hayes Studio in Los Angeles. We installed them at the edge of the covered patio to connect this space to the pool. We love that they add extra seating and can face either the terrace arrangement or the pool. Plus, they activate the space with movement instead of being just static. Most of all, it adds playfulness and whimsy, which was reflective of our clients’ fun personality.
How did you meld the design elements with the natural surroundings? We chose outdoor furniture for its durability, but also for its airiness in appearance. You more or less see through the iron frames of these pieces so they are not visually obstructive.
Music seems to be a theme in this room — can you talk a little about that? The owners requested a music room and that was the departure point. It’s on the second floor of the pool house so somewhat out of the way of the main living spaces. We knew this would become where the kids hang out and wanted it to be fun and relaxed. We chose a large-scale sectional from RH and paired it with a custom ottoman and pillows designed by us. The light fixture is from Robert Long Lighting, a Sausalito lighting company that was started in the 1960s.
The art throughout the house is also eclectic and unique. Lost Art Salon in S.F. spearheaded the art program. The Salon is an amazing Bay Area resource that specializes in this type of gallery-wall approach to art.
Where did you find these chairs? The chairs are some of my favorites to date. They are vintage Guillerme et Chambron, postwar designers in France notable for making practical-but-beautiful furniture for everyday living. We reupholstered them in a fun, large-scale Christopher Farr stripe. The scale of the stripe adds a totally unexpected twist to the chairs. It interjects color into the neutral space, which we echoed in the Missoni stair runner.
Is there a story behind the closet doors? This is the pool house and the architecture more or less existed in this state — the closet doors and the fireplace were existing and close to 100 years old. We wanted to leave them untouched and embrace part of the history.
Paul Dyer is an architectural, hospitality and lifestyle photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. To see more of his work visit www.dyerphoto.com.