An American Dream


Studio Munroe puts a modern spin on an idyllic home in San Mateo.

A vibrant red door greets guests at the front entry. Photos by Thomas Kuoh.

From the green grass to the porch swing, this dreamy home in San Mateo feels as if it’s been on the block for decades but it began as a new construction project built by RG Development.

A Belgian classic roll arm upholstered sofa from Restoration Hardware complements the vibrant La Foret wallpaper by Christopher Farr Cloth from DeSousa Hughes. Photos by Thomas Kuoh.
A vibrant blue Montebello sofa from Lawson-Fenning covered in a Clarence House fabric flanks a pair of Thin Frame lounge chairs in Jerry Pair Leather. Photos by Thomas Kuoh.  

After meeting at the 2013 San Francisco Decorator Showcase the clients, a young family of four, worked with Studio Munroe to design their condo in the city, prior to owning their forever home. “We wanted to reimagine that dream with balance of time-honored pieces and unexpected accents,” says founder and Principal designer Emilie Munroe on the team’s approach. “Our goal was for this home to feel classic but with a twist around each corner.”

Santa Barbara pendants from Serena & Lily shed light on marble countertops purchased at All Natural Stone. Photos by Thomas Kuoh.
A Clay Bead Dome pendant from Restoration Hardware illuminate Romo’s Orvieto Suvi wallpaper, available at De Sousa Hughes. Photos by Thomas Kuoh.

They enlisted Studio Munroe to select construction finishes, design cabinetry details, provide paint specifications, decorative lighting, floor coverings and furnishings for the 4,500 square foot home. “We worked to honor and highlight these details while bringing in fun wallpapers, unexpected accent colors, diverse decorative lighting styles and layered hardware finishes throughout,” says Munroe. 

Little Maharani wallpaper by Osbourne & Little brings life to the powder room.
Thomas Kuoh.
Color is prevalent in the study with touches like the Pinstripe wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries. Photos by Thomas Kuoh.

Functionality was key for the family’s active lifestyle and love for hosting friends and family. Situated on a narrow, deep lot, attention was paid to access points into the home.”The front door was likely to be the least utilized entrance given the garage is located in a separate building behind the main home, so we focused on the design of an uber functional mud room and also added shoe baskets and a shoe mat in the family room for the backyard access point,” the designer notes.

Photos by Thomas Kuoh.
Webster Green HC-130 by Benjamin Moore transforms the mudroom into a statement space. Photos by Thomas Kuoh.

In order to meet the clients’ need of having a formal living room and a causal place where the children could play, the team installed smart materials and functional pieces for everyday durability. The adjacent sunroom was then completed with vibrant wallpaper and more delicate, relaxed furnishings, creating an intimate nook for the parents. Munroe notes, “We were blown away on install day when all the pieces came together and the sunroom revealed itself as the secret jewel of the home.”

Vinyl Herringbone from Phillip Jeffries provides a soft glow in the master bedroom. Photos by Thomas Kuoh
The Dyad sconce by Apparatus adds a modern touch in the master bathroom.
Photos by Thomas Kuoh.

Soft, neutral textures, pastel hues dance through the sleeping quarters and bathrooms upstairs. While a vibrant coat of blue paint electrifies one of the kid’s bedrooms.

Munroe painted half the walls in a kid’s play room in a vibrant blue. Photos by Thomas Kuoh.
The Hexagon Calacatta floor tile from AKDO adds luxurious texture in the Jack and Jill bathroom. Photos by Thomas Kuoh.
Wallpaper from Serena & Lily bounces light in the guest bedroom. Photos by Thomas Kuoh.

Showing the clients’ their new home post installation proved to be one of the most exciting for the Studio Munroe team, who creates a signature big reveal moment for each of their clients. “This project’s reveal was especially energetic and warm given the young kiddos were experiencing the spaces for the first time as well,” says Munroe. “They scampered through each room with their mom exclaiming and exploring.  Children experience new spaces with such exuberance and frequently catch details that take longer to reveal themselves to adults.”