Accentuate the Positive


Vernon Applegate of Applegate Tran Interiors updates a Danville home with timeless sophistication

In the entry, a custom handrail by Paul Ferrante leads to custom concrete floors by Cheng Design.
Photos by Christopher Stark.

“The house had great bones, a brilliant volume of space, and plentiful light. There were only some minor changes to address architecturally,” says designer Vernon Applegate, co-founder and principal of Applegate Tran Interiors, about the update of a Danville home for clients who wanted to create a family-centered space that would function for entertaining friends and family. “They asked us for a home that would exemplify the casual California lifestyle,” he notes. “It needed to feel comfortable and intimate for the two of them and then effortlessly open enough to accommodate when they have twenty family or friends over.”

A coffee table by Caste sit between a pair of sofas from De Sousa Hughes and in front of a stunning custom mantle by Cheng Design.Photos by Christopher Stark.
In the kitchen, all millwork was designed by Applegate Tran Interiors.
Photos by Christopher Stark.

Built in the 1990s, the 8,000-square-foot home was full of dated, dark finishes that were removed to create a more open and bright environment that embraced the ideal California lifestyle. “The only challenge was getting the husband (president of a major development company in California) and wife on the same page since his preference was clean lines minimal and hers was more traditional and playful,” says Applegate. “Luckily my partner Gioi and I also have different design points of view, which makes our partnership so fruitful.  It was not foreign to us to navigate this type of contrast in tastes. I was able to pull from the yin and yang in my own life to deliver a comfortable middle ground for both husband and wife.”  

In the dining room, both the table and chairs are by Andre Jacobson and the console is by Hellman Chang.
Photos by Christopher Stark.

For example—in the dining room—the team surrounded a modern table with Klismos-style chairs that add a classic touch that plays to the home’s architecture. “This intentional mix is evident throughout the home,” he notes. “Warm wood beams tone sleek plaster down, neutral backgrounds punctuated by vibrant pops of color, mixed forms, and patterns that take traditional and modern cues create a playful and easy juxtaposition.”

All of the primary bathroom all details were custom designed by Applegate Tran Interiors.
Photos by Christopher Stark.

Connecting the kitchen and the primary bathroom to the outdoors was key to achieving the family’s secondary goal of bringing the outdoors in. “Opening up the kitchen to the family room and the relationship to the indoor-outdoor living gave them the California dream house,” says Applegate. “When you live in a climate as nearly perfect as the East Bay of San Francisco, your life naturally extends in and outside.” 

Even though the clients were involved in every detail along the way, they were in awe of how it all came together in the end. “The reaction was emotional and visceral. They loved it so much that they had us do their next home in San Francisco,” says Applegate. “There is no better compliment in our business than working on multiple homes for the same client.”