Risk Management: A SF Couple Rolls the Dice on Duboce Triangle Digs

When Steve and Lois Chess moved to San Francisco’s Duboce Triangle from the Marina District, it was a strategic play. The couple was downsizing, opting for a centrally located, landlocked two-story flat in lieu of their large waterfront house. The couple had worked with Vernon Applegate, principal at Applegate Tran Interiors, on other projects and loved his use of color. “I knew these clients, and I knew them to be fearless. I could push the envelope a bit,” he says. Stretching the design boundaries transformed a house originally inspired by a Martha Stewart aesthetic into a home where some rooms take their cues from, in Applegate’s words, “a sexy nightclub from the 1970s.”

Mary Jo Bowling
  • Photo credit: John Merkl
    Dining Drama
    Designed by Vernon Applegate

    The idea of an old-school men’s club drove the dining room’s design. “The table was in their last home,” says Applegate. “We made the space feel intimate by painting the back wall and the ceiling a deep chocolate color with streaks of gold.” Applegate designed round sconces on the back wall and an oversize light fixture with branchlike arms above the table to give the room architectural appeal. “We used to have a sculpture on this table,” says Lois. “Now, a sculptural form hangs above it.”

  • Photo credit: John Merkl
    That '70s Room
    Designed by Vernon Applegate

    The living room’s vivid color palette is sparked by sheer draperies with horizontal stripes of fuchsia, purple and amber. The hot pink appears again, this time paired with dark blue, in a rug with a modern abstraction of a traditional Oriental motif. Amorphously shaped coffee tables, an ottoman clad in a blood-red patent leather faux crocodile skin and a print by experimental artist Joan Miró round out the look. “We wanted to play with the cool vibe of the ’70s here,” says Applegate. “There was a lot of freedom to experiment with texture, pattern and, of course, color.”

  • Photo credit: John Merkl
    Putting the Fun in Functional
    Designed by Vernon Applegate

    Lois’s office can hold its own with the bold personality of the living room. Not only did Applegate deftly mix her favorite color—bright green—with a hot shade of orange, he also layered patterns such as a snakeskin with a more traditional brocade (albeit in a vivid persimmon color). Lois needed her office to also function as a guest room, so Applegate designed a desk that disappears behind orange-lacquered doors when necessary. The desk chair is covered in a Green faux crocodile hide, which makes it work for either 
setting. this room is Lois’ domain, so the designer 
used her favorite colors.

  • Photo credit: John Merkl
    Soft and Simple
    Designed by Vernon Applegate

    That’s not to say that every room speaks loudly. The master bedroom, for instance, makes its design statement in a softer voice. The undulating padded headboard is one of the few items that made the journey across town with the couple. Its soft, tone-on-tone neutral brocade is picked up in the curtains. What brings it all together—and gives the simple, square room a sense of visual architecture—is the shimmering, almost pearlescent finish on the wall behind the bed. “It’s lovely,” says Lois. “It glows day and night."

Designers
Vernon Applegate
Keywords

Add a Comment