Sparked By Period Films, A San Francisco Home Receives A Refresh


The living room is painted...

The living room of this San Francisco home was designed for entertaining. The antique sofa features a Peter Dunham paisley, a Hickory Chair ottoman in a Classic Cloth plaid and a Michael Taylor wing chair a print by Lisa Fine. Peter Dunham fabric is used for the drapes and the fireplace fender was a 1stdibs find. Carpets from Pak Oriental Rugs, left, and Tony Kitz Gallery add a layered feel.

A stairway has a striped...

Designer Lynn Kloythanomsup reimagined this San Francisco home’s stairwell as a place to display a series of portraits by the homeowner, artist Michelle L. Morby, and a figure (far left) by Chelsea America. The vintage chair is from Elsie Green and the console is from Design Within Reach. A runner by Mark D. Sikes for Merida adorns the home’s original staircase.

A banquette in the dining...

The dining room’s banquette is upholstered with a William Morris fabric from Sutherland Perennials Studio; a work by Ian Ferguson hangs above it. The side table is from Michael Taylor Collections and the shade fabric is from Holland & Sherry.

A dining room has a...

In the dining room, the sideboard, table and chandelier are vintage and the chairs, upholstered with Sunbrella fabric, are from Antique & Art Exchange. The Paul Ferrante bench is from Hewn and the Tres Tintas wallpaper is from New Wall in Canada.

A hallway leading into a...

The pantry hall, where Kloythanomsup placed the Sub-Zero refrigerator to save kitchen space, is lined with William Morris wallpaper and illuminated by Arteriors pendants. The painted floor is by decorative artist Caroline Lizarraga. In the kitchen beyond, the designer worked with general contractor Frank Kenny to make the new kitchen feel original with California Interior cabinetry, stone from Tez Marble and an island from 1stdibs.

A small banquette in the...

In the kitchen, a 1920s breakfast table sourced on 1stdibs joins a banquette with cushions crafted from a striped Perennials fabric. An artwork by Faye Moorhouse, Fierce Horse, Fierce Horse, hangs above.

The primary bedroom has a...

A Cisco Home bed upholstered with a Lisa Fine print from Holland & Sherry anchors the main bedroom and is paired with a vintage nightstand from McCarney’s Furniture. The duvet is crafted with Ralph Lauren Home fabric from Kravet and the drapery fabric is by Les Indiennes.

The master bathroom has light...

In the main bathroom, Kloythanomsup chose Grow House Grow tile for the tub. The wall tiles and flooring are from Galleria Tile. The cabinetry is by California Interior with marble from Integrated Resources Group, and the sconces are by Visual Comfort & Co. The artwork is by Candice Lin.

When artist Michelle L. Morby moved into her 1914 Craftsman home in San Francisco several years ago, she started dreaming about what it could be. “I’ve always loved the lived-in, ramshackle feel of artist spaces and wanted this home to have an other-worldly, English feel that’s comfortable and historical,” she says. “I wanted to contrast that with my contemporary art collection, most of which comes from my friends.” It’s not a common design brief, but when Michelle spotted the work of Lynn Kloythanomsup, she knew she had found the right collaborator. “I didn’t want to have to convince someone of my aesthetic,” she says. “Lynn’s homes resonated with me because they had personality.”

“We understood each other’s references,” adds Kloythanomsup, saying she took inspiration from historic homes, countryside taverns and Merchant Ivory films, whose costumes and sets influenced Michelle. “I’ve got Helena Bonham Carter on speed dial for style,” the artist jokes, referencing the actress made famous by those films. But perhaps the greatest visual influence on the design was Charleston, the National Trust property in England that was home to artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and served as the nexus of the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of creatives, intellectuals and free spirits, during World War I. “Charleston was a huge inspiration for this home,” notes Michelle. “I love its soulful nature and how it embraces color and texture and wanted to recreate that here.”

As the visual narrative came together, Kloythanomsup also came to terms with the space itself. “Michelle cared about the integrity of the architecture; and our goal was to make it more cohesive,” the designer says. She began by taking the house back to its most original state, undoing a 1990s renovation and enhancing period features with fitting complements, like paneling, beams and late-19th century wallpaper designs by William Morris and Lindsay P. Butterfield. But the biggest change came in the kitchen, which was relocated from the middle of the house to the addition at the back, opening up a large hallway that now gives guests their first big splash of Michelle’s personality. “The walls are a very bold pink!” she says. “But everyone loves it because

it’s joyful and fun.” Since the adjacent upstairs library doubles as her studio, the color supports Michelle creatively. “Having color on the walls
is a constant inspiration,” she notes. “Pink is energizing, fresh and optimistic.” Another direct reflection of her personality is the main hallway’s secret powder room, hidden behind a bookcase. “It was on her fantasy list—and it’s super fun,” recalls Kloythanomsup. “I love the unexpected quirkiness,” adds Michelle. “It’s reminiscent of British murder mystery novels, but it’s also a little bit Scooby Doo!”

“Because Michelle loves to entertain, the entire first floor needed to be planned and furnished in a way to accommodate guests,” notes Kloythanomsup. In the living room, cloaked in a more subdued pink, there are a myriad of seating options, including Michelle’s antique camelback sofa, a window seat and an upholstered fender bench around the original fireplace. “It’s a place to perch,” says the designer, who also added
a corner banquette to the dining room. “Why does a dining room have to contain just a dining table?” she muses. “I wanted to make it more like a salon.” Turns out, it’s Michelle’s favorite spot for coffee, and a seat from which she can enjoy the forested frieze above the paneling. “It has an Emily Brontë feel that I love,” she says.

Upstairs, the main bedroom was another space “to envelop with pattern and vibrancy,” says the designer, who chose dark teal walls for depth, lifting it all with layers of pattern in neutrals and pinks. “I love the moodiness,” says Michelle. In the bathroom, painted a blush color, Kloythanomsup replicated the dining room floor’s knot pattern with old-fashioned penny tile and chose an encaustic cement shower tile with a Mexican Otomi animal motif she says, “feels like a reference to William Morris’ scenes of nature, but folksier.” Michelle adored the idea. “It’s different but it makes sense,” Michelle says. That’s Lynn’s sophisticated eye.” The designer also created pocket doors and a vanity that feel original to the house.

Likening the renovated home to an installation art piece, Michelle says it realizes her vision perfectly. “I wanted to live in a creative narrative, inspired by books like Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone—a place with that trapped-in-amber feel,” she says. Kloythanomsup agrees, noting this was a rare project: “Michelle has exquisite taste and is fun and adventurous, and she was willing to go all out. Those clients don’t come around often.”