San Francisco’s Mission District may have been named for a Catholic Mission, but the landscape is known more for bold color than creamy stucco. The neighborhood offers a variety of art-filled galleries, bookstores, and local-designer shops; craft beer and coffee bars; and cafés, taquerias, and restaurants with farm-fresh, regional cuisine. So, it was fitting that this condo owner’s original interior decor was equally as colorful as the neighborhood. “It was a ‘Skittles’ look,” says local interior designer Nicole Newkirk.
But over time, the homeowner’s style evolved and an overwhelm of color simply wouldn’t do anymore. Instead, the homeowner required a soothing, understated, and mature feel for her condo and specifically her bedroom—an oasis from the busy business and social world outside her door. “I wanted the room to be cozy and comfortable with a beautifully uncluttered bed,” explains Newkirk. “We kept the color quiet and then used pops of subtle neutrals and rich textures for a dash of interest.”
Newkirk started with a clean slate of walls freshly painted with Simply White by Benjamin Moore. The wood floor is covered by a flatweave geometric rug in charcoal gray—understated so it doesn’t compete with the relaxing ambience of the rest of the room. The bed, with a headboard upholstered in a simple ivory fabric, is lushly dressed in a calming white coverlet piped in black. “I found the bed linens [at] Restoration Hardware. They have the best bedding,” says the designer, who is all about the details.
Textured accent pillows in soft tones of white, gray, and beige add some contrast without overpowering the simplicity of the bedding. “I feel lumbar-shaped pillows look the best as an accent,” says Newkirk. Simple, gray bedside tables provide storage and a surface for minimalist, black table lighting. Newkirk says the homeowner loves to read, and these adjustable lamps were a practical way to add a little pop of black.
The custom-built window seat is a storage bench topped with a custom-made cushion in white with black piping to complement the bed linens. A small, creamy-white sofa sits at the entry to the bedroom. “I love to break up the straight lines of a sofa with round pillows,” explains Newkirk. “They help to soften the lines.” A textural lamp on the end table offers interest and blends with the wood tones in the room. Two minimalist chairs provide additional seating. “One is from Etsy and has seating ropes to support the cushions,” says Newkirk. “In addition to being extremely comfortable, the chair is unique.” It has black-wire construction and that simplicity works well with the overall room design.
In her desire to find interesting details for each of her designs, Newkirk loves to discover and use intricately constructed wood accent pieces. The dresser in this room has a horizontal pattern carved into the front drawers, and the credenza shows a uniquely irregular pattern in wood. Both these pieces offer striking contrast to the smooth end table by the sofa and the bedside tables.
“You need to have a focal point in a room,” says Newkirk. “Bedroom furniture can be boring with all pieces looking the same. I prefer pieces out of the norm—not matchy-matchy. I like introducing something different.” She finds many of her most interesting pieces at ABC Carpet & Home and California-based HD Buttercup.
Although most of the bedroom is swathed in serene shades of white, the designer introduced some strong pops of color with artwork and natural elements. Minimalist paintings and photography in black and white frames stand out without feeling intrusive. Green plants infuse the design with a hint of nature, while wood elements such as bowls, vases, trays, and the sliding barn door that leads to the office, offer textural surfaces and a natural feel.
With carefully chosen textures and tones (and a lack of Skittles), this bedroom’s overall mood is now one of serenity, subtlety, and sophistication . . . exactly what the owner had in mind.