One Room Challenge: Our 6 Week Living Room Makeover - Week 3

Here we are at week 3 of the One Room Challenge, where bloggers take 6 weeks to transform a room and document the process. In the two previous weeks, we shared the room we’re tackling, and the new plans for the space. This week: progress photos!

 Fresh white walls

Fresh white walls

We’ve been busy with the project management stage of the project which includes procurement and execution, and placing orders for all the new items for the living room space and overseeing installation. Some of our new pieces have started to come in or be completed: new paint, new sofa legs and cushions, and new bookshelves. You'll notice we still have to declutter and rearrange a bit...

 New cushions, sofa feet, and bookshelves are in

New cushions, sofa feet, and bookshelves are in

Now that some of the major pieces are in place (with more new items arriving soon), we’ve been thinking about layering - the small touches that greatly contribute to the unique character and life of a space. Our next two posts will be focused on adding plant life and accessorizing with decorative and/or functional objects. No room is complete without these last steps! 

Check in next week for a primer on selecting the right plants for your space. Missed the previous weeks' posts? You can catch up here: 
Week 1
Week 2

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Check the progress of the other bloggers participating in the One Room Challenge:
Guest Participants
Featured Designers

One Room Challenge: Our 6 Week Living Room Makeover - Week 2

We love short turnaround times - there’s nothing like a 6 week deadline to force quick decision-making! In our second installment of the One Room Challenge, we’ll begin by sharing our design process and concept for the living room. 

 Our starting point for the living room makeover

Our starting point for the living room makeover

Assess the Situation

We start every project by getting the lay of the land and assessing the situation. In this case, the living room (and condo in general) had a couple major issues that needed to be addressed.

Issue #1: Our furniture is a hodge-podge of pieces that I and my husband have collected individually and the overall space lacks cohesion.
Goal: Unify the aesthetic of the space by replacing select furnishings and decor.

Issue #2: Lack of color harmony with yellow undertone walls (it’s hard to tell in the before image) and gray undertone floors.
Goal: Update wall colors to match undertone of floors.

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Create the Design Concept

After gathering all the relevant information and setting the goals of the project, we then create the concept for the look and feel of the space. My husband and I agreed on a mostly neutral palette to provide a place of calm in the midst of the hustle and bustle of our location next to the train station in San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood. We’re going with white walls, mixed woods, and soft patterns and textures for a clean, cozy atmosphere.

What I’m most excited about is upgrading the artwork in the living room to bring a new level of sophistication to our home. I fell in love with a mixed media piece by Robert Szot a couple months ago, and purchased it from the Jack Fischer Gallery, one of our favorite local San Francisco art galleries. This first new piece will be the perfect anchor for the space!

 The anchor for the living room: Robert Szot's Demirep from the Jack Fischer Gallery (  image source )

The anchor for the living room: Robert Szot's Demirep from the Jack Fischer Gallery (image source)

To help illustrate the vibe we’re going for is this stunning space from Malene Birger, a Danish designer.

 The living room of Malene Birger's London flat via  Lonny

The living room of Malene Birger's London flat via Lonny

Source the Pieces

After the design concept is firm, we start sourcing pieces that fit the concept and goals. One of the hardest parts is deciding which pieces to keep and which to let go, especially when you don’t agree with your husband! I’m personally not a big fan of the Barcelona chair especially for a small space like ours, but that’s his favorite piece so it stays. The full rundown:

  • Coffee table: We have an oak dining table, and a few walnut pieces, so to remove some of the chrome and bring in balance and warmth, we’ll be replacing the marble coffee table with a custom oak coffee table.

  • Sofa: We love the bones of the sofa, but need to replace the legs as they were too tall and not the best style for the space. We’ll also be replacing the back cushions and some of the upholstery to make it more loungey and cushy.

  • Bookshelf: The bookshelf is too industrial-looking and heavy for the space so we’ll be replacing this bookshelf with minimal book shelving.

  • Walls: The creamy, almost beige walls have got to go! Same for the red accent wall. We’ll be starting over with a fresh white base.

  • Artwork: We’re starting to up the sophistication and only collect pieces we really love, so existing artwork will be replaced.

  • Accessories: We’ll be replacing and layering on accessories to make this space ours.

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Stay tuned for next week's post where we'll be sharing progress photos! Missed the first week's post? You can catch up here: Week 1

Check the progress of the other bloggers participating in the One Room Challenge:
Guest Participants
Featured Designers

One Room Challenge: Our 6 Week Living Room Makeover - Week 1

We’re excited to be guest participating in this spring’s One Room Challenge. For those who are unfamiliar, the One Room Challenge is a biannual event where bloggers take 6 weeks to transform a room and share the process. This is our first time doing a design challenge like this, and we’re pumped to get started! 

I first moved into the condo I share with my husband (then-boyfriend) 3 years ago. At the time, it hit ALL the checkboxes for the ultimate bachelor pad:

  • Dark shag rug

  • Huge, L-shaped lounge-y sectional built out of painted black shipping pallets and loose gray cushions

  • Chrome and marble coffee table and Arco lamp

  • Chrome and black leather Barcelona chair and ottoman

  • The list goes on...

  Not a full-on bachelor pad anymore, but still a mess.

Not a full-on bachelor pad anymore, but still a mess.

As an interior designer, it’s embarrassing to say we haven’t done too much with the space in the past three years! I’ve been slowly injecting some of my own style, including my collection of Moroccan and Turkish rugs and a vintage cabinet, but the space has never felt like a home.

Why haven’t I done anything about it?! Good question. When living in a rental for a finite amount of time, there’s a constant debate: Do I spend money to fix this place up? Or do I save money for the huge renovation project we’re working on? Given the long timeline of our personal renovation, we finally decided that it’s worth making this place feel like a real home for our remaining 2 years here.

So, what can we do within reason to fix the ugly in this place? For the One Room Challenge, I’ll be focusing on the living room as it’s the space in which we spend the most time. Our primary goals:

  1. Create a unified aesthetic.

  2. Re-use as much existing furniture and decor as possible.

  3. Only buy new things that we will be able to use in our future home 2 years down the line.

We’ll be tagging all of our behind-the-scenes and and sneak peeks with #formandfieldORC on Instagram so be sure to follow us there. For the next six weeks, check out our progress each Thursday on the blog. Let the makeover begin!

Read the rest of the series:
Week 2

Check out the plans of the other bloggers who are also up for a crazy next six weeks:
Guest Participants
Featured Designers

Behind the Scenes: How Architecture Informs Interior Design

A building’s architecture plays a large role in interior design. Even if you’re creating an open floor plan, the basic bones of your space (and of the others on your street) are characteristic of the era in which they were built.

What does this mean for you?

It means your space has an existing narrative! If we ignore that narrative while using interior design to tell your story, the two may sit at odds with each other and look incongruous. It’s our job to find harmony between the two and to create a cohesive story that feels uniquely yours.

To show you what we mean, we designed this high concept guest bedroom that fuses Mediterranean-inspired architecture with our signature modernist style.

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Because our goal was to blend old with new, push color boundaries, and create something wholly unique, we didn’t recreate a typical Mediterranean villa.

Instead, we let the architecture inspire a vibrant color palette. Hues of yellow and red create a warm and hospitable welcome, while robin’s egg blue bedding gives a refreshing nod to the sea.

Mediterranean architecture is also known for arches and curves, so we combined the circular elements of the sconces and the ceiling fixture bulbs with the clean lines of the ceiling fixture itself, a modern chair, and these functional yet minimal nightstands.

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In general, art is a great way to tie a room together, especially when you’re marrying genres. These contemporary pieces by Robert Szot (left) and Paul Wackers (right) echo the room’s warm and colorful palette and create further harmony between lines and curves.

Lastly, plants are the final piece in evoking an airy Mediterranean retreat and just might inspire this house guest to throw open the windows!

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In the end, this room tells a specific story for a specific guest. It’s the perfect example of not fighting or ignoring your home or building’s architecture, but having the courage to weave nuances of it into the interior design.

Let multiple influences create your narrative, and you might be surprised by the richness of the results.

What styles would you want to mix together? Tell us in the comments below!

Behind the Scenes: 7 questions with Four/Quarter

Form + Field loves to commission the work of local craftsmen for our custom projects. When it comes to millwork for wood furniture, we particularly love the creations of Four/Quarter.

  The Four/Quarter workshop

The Four/Quarter workshop

  Dowel Dining Table  (image credit)

Dowel Dining Table (image credit)

Four/Quarter is a San Francisco-based studio and the brainchild of designers Sergio Traverso and Kenny Johnson. Though Sergio has since assumed sole ownership of the company, his team’s designs still preserve the original vision: clean lines, a modern feel, and natural treatments of walnut, oak, ash, and douglas fir — a perfect style fit for Form + Field!

Case in point: Four/Quarter recently completed this sleek, Donald Judd-inspired piece for the bar area of our Lacquerbar project.

  Lacquerbar, Berkeley

Lacquerbar, Berkeley

Some of Four/Quarter’s other notable works include Amour Vert in Palo Alto, California, Little Gem in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, and a work-in-progress custom cabinet for our Mission Bay Penthouse project.

  Traverso at work in his studio

Traverso at work in his studio

We checked back in with Sergio this month to ask some thoughtful questions and go inside the mind of one of our favorite craftsmen.

Q: If you were a piece of furniture what would you be?
A: Definitely a chair.

Q: Which living person do you most admire and why?
A: I've always admired the work of Jasper Morrison. I love the idea of designing beautiful products intended for mass-manufacturing. His products are informed by logic and available technology but have handcrafted beauty.

Q: If you weren’t a designer and craftsman, what would you be?
A: Probably a motorcycle mechanic or a dog walker.

Q: Which book or film has changed your way of thinking?
A: Jiro Dreams of Sushi. His dedication to his craft is absolutely incredible.

Q: What is the most treasured object in your own home?
A: A big beautiful hardbound copy of Hans Wenger's Bauhaus.

Q: What are your aspirations for the next 3-5 years?
A: I’d like to move away from custom work and continue expanding the Four/Quarter furniture line.

Q: What motto do you try to live by?
A: Measure twice. Cut once.

That’s advice we can get behind!

See more of Four/Quarter’s work.