A Designer Tailors Her Small San Francisco Home for Big Style
Catherine Kwong has had a big year. In just 12 months, the interior designer opened her eponymous firm; completed the stylish “Fashion Blogger Studio,” one of the most talked-about rooms in the 2012 San Francisco Decorator Showcase; and married emergency room doctor Brian Kwong. But one (literally) small thing also happened: She renovated a 1,300-square-foot loft in SF’s Jackson Square for herself and her new husband.
Kwong (pictured here with her husband, Brian) says her home had all the right spaces, but all the wrong finishes and fixtures. She kept the floor plan, removed the floor-to-ceiling mirrors and added elegant trappings. Kwong also replaced the existing white carpet with ebonized oak floors, and she installed recessed lighting along with new chandeliers and sconces.
The proportions of the loft’s existing spaces were right, so she left the layout untouched, but everything else got a makeover. “I used all new finishes and fixtures, designed new lighting and window treatments and worked closely with local craftspeople to add one-of-a-kind pieces,” says Kwong. In the living room, Kwong selected navy-and-silver striped fabric for the curtains, making a luxurious background for a rustic coffee table and a pair of custom-made leather sling chairs. The rolled-arm sofa is upholstered with Belgian linen and dressed up with velvet throw pillows.
When Catherine Kwong remodeled her home, she paneled the dining room wall with vintage wine racks, so there would always be a bottle at hand. “Guests can help themselves,” she says. She also personalized a Blu Dot oak-topped dining table by adding gold leaf to the steel legs. “I loved the simplicity of the original table, but it was too off-the-rack for me,” she says.