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Bella vista

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Great views, an eclectic art collection and a desire for open space provided the inspiration for this remodel project from Applegate Tran Interiors

Bella vista


A commanding view of the Golden Gate bridge, a great neighborhood and some interesting architectural features sounds like a winning formula, but the home featured here also had a downside - a boring 1950s interior.

To breathe fresh life into the interior of this San Francisco terrace house, the new owners presented interior designers Applegate Tran Interiors with a list of requirements, chief of which was to create beautiful open spaces with an emphasis on sculptural design.

Project leader Vernon Applegate says, from the beginning, the designers knew they could never compete with the home's magnificent view. Instead, they needed to feature it from every room in the house.

"The interior has been designed to offer a breathtaking panorama from the living room chairs, the kitchen sink and the master bath," says Applegate. "Inside the front door, where once there was a wall and an entrance into a powder room, there is now a clear view of the ocean."

Applegate says the new, open-plan layout meant that instead of walls dividing the living area, furniture, floor coverings and lighting now denote individual spaces. For example, a conversation area in the living room is marked by a woollen rug.


Throughout the living room, warm color tones have been used to balance, rather than compete with, the floor-to-ceiling window that dominates the room. Color is also used to mark out zones, as on the two-tone wall with a sofa in its niche.

"A grand piano is highlighted by a track lighting system designed to add whimsy and drama," Applegate says. "Lighting is a key aspect of the design. It has been used to bring everything to life."

The emphasis on aesthetics is carried through to the kitchen, which was named NKBA Kitchen of the Year. To keep the practical aspects of the kitchen concealed from the relaxation areas, the appliances have been placed along the wall furthest from the dining table. A row of cantilevered wooden cabinets with glass insets function as kitchen cupboards but offer a furniture look.

Many of the motifs and materials used in the kitchen, such as the black granite countertops and cantilevered cabinets are repeated in the upstairs bathroom.

"Continuity was paramount when designing the home's interior. We wanted a seamless design throughout, rather than a series of separate rooms."

For more information, contact Applegate Tran Interiors, Suite 260, 680 8th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, phone (415) 487 1241, fax (415) 934 1817. Website:

First published date: 23 August 2004

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