Designer Crush Q&A: Victoria Smith of sfgirlbybay


sfgirlbybay is a daily source of inspiration for us, so we couldn’t be more pleased to bring you Victoria’s answers to our Designer Crush Q&A!

1. Where do you currently live in CA and what’s your favorite thing about how you’ve designed your personal space?

I live in a small cottage in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood. My space is small (about 600 square feet) so I had custom-built bookcases and storage built by local designer and woodworker Michael Woo. It’s the perfect problem-solver for displaying my collections without looking cluttered and the ideal place to stash all my paperwork, art supplies and stacks and stacks of design books.

2. What’s your dream design project? Who would it be for (dead or alive)?

I’d love to work with Sibella Court on a restoring an old farmhouse in the South of France. That would require lots and lots of flea marketing with her, and scouting unique finds all over the world. Not a bad project to work on at all.

3. In real life, what’s your favorite project you’ve completed to date?

I don’t design very often anymore, I just blog about design. But sometimes I take on projects like this bedroom make-over I did for Maggie Mason of Mighty Girl. Recently divorced, she was looking to make her bedroom ‘hers’ again and create a feminine haven for herself. I’ve been thinking of taking on more projects like that — perhaps make-over bedrooms for women starting over in life and help them have the beautiful bedroom they deserve.

4. You’ve been gifted a fabulously furnished dream home but can only bring one item from your current space. What would it be?

My DwellStudio black ink tufted Chester sofa. It’s coming with me everywhere for the rest of my life.

5. What’s your creative process when designing a space?

I like to start with existing pieces and think about re-purposing them in interesting ways. Then, clear out the clutter — just empty the room like a blank canvas and work in layers from the wall color, to the floor coverings and then on to the major furniture pieces and finally accessories. I usually will create a Pinterest pinboard with the client and find out what their dream space looks like, then whittle it down and create a clear vision of what we’re going for. I like a really eclectic mix — nothing cookie cutter, so I look for an unexpected mix of old and new. And I like to include a lot of personal mementos and collections in a room. If you create a room around happy things you love, you’ll want to spend lots of time there.

6. Where do you score your favorite interior design items? Any shopping tips?

With the exception of a few classic pieces like my sofa, I shop almost exclusively at the local flea markets like Alameda and hunt for vintage treasures on craigslist and occasionally eBay. I do like vintage-inspired shops like H.D.Buttercup, Mid Century Modern Finds and Anthropologie.

7. Ever had an epic DIY disaster? What project would you never take on again yourself?

I painted my bathroom once 5 times until I got the color right. I think the room began to shrink from all the layers of paint. I mostly leave the DIY to the experts. I know my limitations.

8. What new design trend are you excited to integrate into your next project? 

I don’t know if it’s a trend, but if I could have Scandinavian white painted floors I’d be pretty happy. I love that look combined with Moroccan Boucherouite rugs with bold of pops of color.

9. Lightning round! 

Beach or mountains?


Twitter or Facebook?


Architectural Digest or Wallpaper?


Should you spend money on a fabulous bathroom or kitchen?


Would you rather shop new or vintage?


Great view or perfect pool?


SF or LA?

San Francisco

10. What’s one tip you wish someone had told you when first starting out in the design world?

You enjoy admiring, curating and writing about design much more than actually doing it for clients. I like to stay behind the scenes unless it’s a small, personal project.


Want more Victoria Smith?

Website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr

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