You could say the evolution of this 1906 abode in Pacific Heights began with a screensaver. At an early meeting with their clients, Susan Collins Weir and Chris Weir—husband-and-wife designers—shared a collection of images for inspiration, including a Reed Danziger triptych.
“The movement, color and process of the piece spoke to the client, and how I understood her,” recalls Collins Weir. “She stopped me and said, ‘I’ve had this on my screensaver for the past year.’” The clients ended up purchasing the piece from Hosfelt Gallery—it now hangs in the living room— and used it as a jumping-off point for the project.
The owners had brought in the designers to inject some soul into their home. Situated on a typical, deep San Francisco residential lot with immediate neighbors, the house looked inward and was dim, due to a previous renovation that emphasized dark woods, glass and hard, reflective finishes. “The strategy was to reimagine the interior architecture and bring in life and lightness that way,” says Collins Weir. Working with general contractor Michael Cello, they installed subtle interventions: The floors were restored to their natural oak, dark wood interior doors were repainted a shade to match the light- colored walls, and painted baseboards were added, which grounded the spaces. “The idea was to remove the existing visual clutter that came with the home,” says Weir.
Among the more substantial changes, the designers revamped the entry sequence. “Originally, you were greeted by a glass wall of bookshelves,” explains Collins Weir, “but the couple needed a place to stash strollers and other kid items.” They conceived a walnut-clad coat closet to hide the elements of daily living (on the dining room side, the structure opens to a dry bar). The paneling extends to the front door, bringing more formality to the entry sequence from the street. “It also serves to signal that, while traditional on the exterior, this is a modern home for a young family,” notes Weir.
Other moments of lush materiality define the house because, as Weir notes, “We’re not designing for vignettes. Instead, we’re establishing a language that ties the whole house together.” For example, Calacatta slabs now clad the living room fireplace that’s flanked by blackened-steel shelves and walnut sideboards. As a counterpoint, the Jen Risom settee by the bay window was re-covered in a bouclé and club chairs are upholstered in a Pollack fabric. The moves “provide visual relief and add warmth,” he notes. “You have a visceral response to the materiality.”
Similarly, the designers opted for bold moments of color to create consistency and bring vibrance to an inward-focused home. “You find yourself in different areas of color and texture,” says Weir. The gestures might be subtle—a green sofa in the living room resting on a blue-gray rug or the cool hues of the dining room bar’s interior—or they may be more saturated, as in the kitchen and family room. Grass-green Arflex chairs surround the clients’ existing Saarinen table, and dots of the hue pop up on the whimsical Edward Fields carpet. Originally designed for Marjorie Merriweather Post to hide her dogs’ footprints, the rug “appeals to the wife’s graphic sensibilities. She’s a product designer and highly visual,” says Weir. All of the rugs explicitly tie back to the Danziger triptych. “This idea of graphics and marks became the inspiration for the floor coverings as we developed graphic patterns to camouflage the marks, footprints and evidence of daily life,” notes Collins Weir.
While textural moments run throughout the home, perhaps the greatest exploration of its possibilities is in the main bedroom. There, the designers downshifted the palette, opting for low-key gray-blues throughout, such as the fabric on the four-panel headboard. But they built-up the visual interest with a Cogolin rug with a basket-weave pattern. Notes Collins Weir, “The client expressed an interest in graphics and color as well as the process of making. Rather than being statements, the palette of natural materials became a way to explore color and graphics without being overly decorative.”
For the designers, the house encapsulates their approach to design. “Our work is a reflection of and inspired by the clients and the site. Our portfolio and interest rest in understanding a home and how we bring the owners into it,” says Collins Weir. “When you enter, you should have a sense of place, of calmness.” Ultimately, she notes, a family’s home life should mirror the feeling of the Reed Danziger artwork that inspired this remodel. “The color and line work suggest fluid movement with moments of pause and reflection.”