Designer Jeff Schlarb transforms a Presidio Heights home into a masterpiece of style, color and comfort.
Color permeates the home’s design, and each piece of furniture complements the other and adds comfort to the room.
A busy couple—he’s a tech executive, and she’s a psychologist—has 9-year-old twins, two dogs and a 9,405-square-foot home in Presidio Heights. They entertain frequently and host fundraisers for mental health programs and purpose-driven organizations fighting for equality and positive change. While their home was in solid shape, the couple desired a near-total property redesign, including the flooring, kitchen, and bathrooms. They also weren’t afraid to incorporate lots of color.
The couple selected renowned designer Jeff Schlarb, principal at Jeff Schlarb Design Studio (jeffschlarb.com), to transform their home. “My aesthetic has been described as modern-day maximalism rooted in classical design,” says Schlarb. “We like to layer a lot of pattern, color, and texture, but in a way that feels cleaned up and pulled together. We always include a place where the eye can rest so a room doesn’t overwhelm the clients. I also keep a keen eye on the shapes of the furniture, the special finishes, and the selection of artwork to complete the aesthetic.”
Schlarb also believes art is everywhere. “It’s in the little details; it’s in the materials and the finishes—the trim on the pillows or a chamfered edge on a marble countertop,” he says. “I’ll often take traditional ideas or finishes and modernize them. I feel strongly about building trust throughout the design process. There are no cookie-cutter applications at our studio. With every project, we get a new collaborator: our clients.”
Cobalt blue defines the kitchen, which contrasts beautifully with the light-colored countertops.
The clients loved the home’s classic design, but they wanted to make it more alluring by updating each room with a more contemporary and colorful aesthetic. When the couple bought the home, it featured neutral tones, so they wanted Schlarb and his team to modernize the rooms and fill them with color and pattern. “She loved some of the wallpaper selections because, as a psychologist, they reminded her of inkblots in a Rorschach test—especially the paper in one of the power rooms,” says Schlarb. “Similarly, the handpainted Porter Teleo (porterteleo.com) wallpaper in the living room is appropriately named Tangled.”
The kitchen renovation was a significant hurdle, says Schlarb. “When we shared some initial mood boards with the client, we suggested creating a transition between the kitchen and the informal dining area by adding an arched opening,” he says. “They loved the idea, so we had to figure out how to make sure it felt in sync with the original architecture. We worked with a phenomenal contractor, Norman Charles Construction (nornalcharlesconstruction.com). It took us a few tries to get it right—the cabinet doors kept hitting the moldings—so we had to recess the moldings and set it back to fix that problem.”
“Because this is the first room you see when you walk through the door, we wanted to make sure it was a real showstopper,” says Schlarb. “All of the pieces we chose are stars on their own, and they create a real wow effect when we put them all together. But it’s still an inviting space. There’s lots of conversational seating, including a double-sided couch that we custom designed; it’s part of our new furniture collection launch, Jeff Schlarb Studio Collection.”
The ceilings in this living room were hand-painted by Nicole Hayden (@nicolehaydenart). “Our clients love elephants and collect elephant figurines from their travels around the world, so the abstract design of the ceiling mural is meant to suggest velvety elephant ears,” says Schlarb, who custom-designed a Stark (starkcarpet.com) carpet for the space. Other standout pieces in the room include a 1970s cobalt blue Italian ceramic coffee table by Tommaso Barbi from 1st Dibs (1stdibs.com), blown-glass coffee tables from Cliff Young (cliffyoungltd. com) and wing chairs by Kimberly Denman (kimberlydenman.com) covered in Jim Thompson (jimthompsonfabrics.com) corded velvet from DeSousa Hughes (desousahughes.com).
The space also features fireplace stools covered in Dedar (dedar.com) fabric, a Tiffany chandelier from Arteriors (arteriorshome.com) and a sofa the Jeff Schlarb Studio Collection upholstered in Opuzen (opuzen.com) mohair and Holly Hunt (hollyhunt.com) fabric.
The dining room features a vintage lucite chaise, a spoke chandelier from Gabriel Scott, and Iona Crawford drapes.
In this space, Schlarb says his team paid attention to how one room transitions into the next, especially in terms of pattern, color, and textures. “We suggested using a cool vintage lucite chaise they had as an accent piece in the dining room, which we recovered in an abstract Schumacher (schumacher. com) fabric. It became similar to an art piece in this room.” A 1798 blue high lacquer from Fine Paints of Europe (finepaintsofeurope.com) sets the tone for the area, which also includes a smoked oak console from Julian Chichester (julianchichester. com), fluted brass tube and glass sconces from 1st Dibs, a Soliel carpet from Stark, a handcrafted spoke chandelier from Gabriel Scott (gabriel-scott.com), and Iona Crawford (ionacrawford.com) drapes with silk Schumacher tassels.
Schlarb’s aesthetic of modern-day maximalism rooted in classic design reveals itself in every room of the house.
FAMILY AND MEDIA ROOM
“The couple wanted it to be comfortable with lots of seating for family movie nights but also durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of two young children and dogs,” says Schlarb. “We designed the custom sofa, which is also part of our new furniture collection, and we did a nanotech treatment on the fabric to withstand high traffic.” The team highlighted the ceiling beams and trim in Oak Moss satin paint from Sherwin Williams (sherwin- williams. com); a contrasting semi-gloss Saratoga Spring blue from Sherwin Williams graces the ceiling in the room’s window alcove.
The room sings with an original photograph (“David Bowie in Mustard Suit”) by Terry O’Neill from Morrison Hotel Gallery (morrisonhotelgallery.com), as well as a brushed brass chandelier from Park Studio (parkstudiola. com), and wing chairs covered in Mariaflora (mariaflora.com) and Perennials (perennialsfabrics.com) fabric. The Healdsburg sofa—lined in Schmacher’s Bezique Flamestitch velvet—comes from the Jeff Schlarb Studio Collection.
House of Hackney wallpaper graces the primary suite.
KITCHEN AND BREAKFAST ROOM
“The couple loves cobalt blue and wanted a blue kitchen, so we started there,” says Schlarb, who incorporated a custom banquette, covered in Nobilis (nobilis.fr) Frisson fabric, from his eponymous collection. Elements that elevate the space include a bronze chandelier from Visual Comfort (visualcomfort.com), wallpaper from Area Environments (areaenvironments.com) and dining chairs covered in Velours Fever fabric from Nobilis.
The design team’s dilemma: make a large space seem cozier. “We used colorful, saturated wallpaper from House of Hackney (houseofhackney. com) and dark heavy drapes with a classical valence from Holland and Sherry (hollandandsherry. com),” says Schlarb, who divided the room in half to create a seating area around the fireplace. He also added chairs covered in Rosemary Hallgarten (rosemaryhallgarten.com) alpaca wool and Dedar (dedar.com) fabric.
HOW THE HOME IS LIVING
“They were thrilled with the outcome, and we’ve been invited to a bunch of parties at their newly renovated home,” says Schlarb. “More often than not, our clients become our friends, and we often collaborate with them to host fundraising events and support each other’s causes. Leaving the homes better than we found them is one thing, but leaving the community in a better place is the true joy of our studio’s work.”
The primary suite’s bath offers a soothing escape.
Jeff Schlarb Design Studio
Norman Charles Construction
Wallpaper, living room
Carpet, living room
Tommaso Barbi table, living room; sconces, dining room
Blown-glass coffee tables, living room
Kimberly Denman wing chairs, living room
Chandelier, living room
JEFF SCHLARB STUDIO COLLECTION
Sofa, living room; banquette, kitchen; sofa, family room
Fabric, banquette and dining chairs, kitchen
HOUSE OF HACKNEY
Wallpaper, primary suite
HOLLAND AND SHERRY
Valance, primary suite
Fabric, chairs, primary suite
Fabric, chairs, primary suite; fireplace stools, living room
Photography by: NOE DEWITT