Monday, July 20, 2015

Low Down on Leather

Leather for Beauty, Comfort and lasting Quality

Supple and luxurious, leather lends itself beautifully to the sophisticated, sleek, clean lines of Contemporary furniture designs. With draping capabilities, which emphasize the great shapes of today's high-fashion styles, leather is the perfect cover.
Yet, when seeking the perfect sofa, sectional or chair that speaks to you personally, experts say that a soft and plush hand (or feel) of leather covering the frame is the factor often trumping all else in the majority of shoppers' buying decisions.
That's not too surprising given that touch is the first sense we experience in the womb, and the last to leave us in the aging process. A superbly soft leather just feels wonderful, and well, sexy - making our initial attraction and emotional response  with this natural, luxe material extremely visceral. If you want the attraction to develop into a relationship that can go the distance; however, it is important to ask (and answer) a few questions to determine compatibility.

Who (and what) Do You Love?

Be upfront with your salesperson or design consultant about all other loves in your life, particularly kids and pets. Not all leathers are created equal and durability is a factor to consider. Also, be open about your lifestyle; meaning, what, where and how often the furniture will be used.

"The fact is, a quality leather can last a very long time," relates one of our upholstery experts, "And when you are investing in great, quality design, you want longevity."

As wise a choice as leather furniture can be, education is key in determining the ideal grade of leather for your unique circumstances, and will ensure you receive the best value for your investment.

A family with small children and a couple of dogs who like to nap on the sofa may not want a naked, or untreated,aniline leather which offers no protection from stains in their family room. And if they do, they should be sure to understand what to expect in how the leather will wear over the long haul. High-traffic space or not, that same family may also not want a fully protected leather due to the difference in the feel of the material. [See accompanying story]. The good news is that we can help choose the ideal leather, which may be one with some protectant that still has a soft, supple feel.

Why Top Grain is Tops
Leather furniture prices are largely determined by the quality or grade of the leather. Leathers are graded by the size, location and extent of the natural blemishes, such as wrinkles and scars that are inherent in all natural hides.

Hides are separated into layers. "The very top layer is known as the top grain, and if you were to examine the top layer under a microscope, you would see fibers running in every direction, making the top grain layer of the hide very, very strong," says Rob, our leather expert.

There's a vast range of quality and price within top grain leathers, and what's best for one may not be best for others. Part of leather furniture's appeal is luxuriant comfort. "The finest of top grain leathers will have the softest feel, but may not be as desirable if ease of care is important within your house," advises one expert. "They do tend to be a little more temperamental."

Finally, no matter how well it is cared for, all upholstered furniture will fade with time when exposed to light and heat. We can offer suggestions and solutions to help you get the most out of your leather.

By Definition

Aniline: Only the best, blemish-free hides are soaked
in the aniline dyes used to create this exceptionally
sumptuous and soft "naked" leather, with no other finishes 
or pigments applied.

Semi-aniline: Sometimes called "protected", these leathers
have a small amount of pigment, giving them slightly better
protection against stains and fading.

Pigmented: The least costly, and generally the most stain
and scuff-resistant, pigmented leathers are also somewhat
stiffer. Perfect for family use.

Pull-up: Full anilines that have been processed to produce
a weathered, or distressed look.

Embossed: Lower-grade hides that have been imprinted
with any of a wide range of textures.

Saturday, March 7, 2015



Here Are The Top 5 (of many) Reasons To Use Our Professional Design Service...

1. Save money. That's right! It is a common misconception that using a designer is too expensive. No more purchasing major items time and time again only to find they're an ill fit. We can help save money by doing it right the first time, helping you avoid costly mistakes. We can help you with a plan and you can buy with that plan in mind! This way you can buy all at once or one item at a time. You can buy with confidence, knowing what you are purchasing is exactly what will work.

2. We have access to all of the best stuff. We have many exclusive lines that you may not discover on your own. It can be a daunting task to find the right item in a sea of possibilities. We are experts on our lines and can easily navigate those sofa filled waters. Finding unique items that are made just for you is what can make your home special. You can be the Jones' everyone is trying to keep up with!

3. We do it so you don't have to. We can manage your entire project start to finish, freeing up your time for more enjoyable pursuits. We will help you construct your plan, order the perfect items, manage their arrival, make the  follow-up calls and  take the pressure off of you. Managing and helping you design your project is what we do, so you can relax and enjoy your space!

4. Outside Perspective. Another set of eyes can be the thing that makes all the difference in choosing a design direction for your space. When you are too close to something you can't always see it clearly. Sometimes the people in your life can't give you the advice you need.  Again, this is where we can help. Together we can help you create a space that looks and feels the way you want it to, not like your mom wants it to.

5. Hook-ups! That's right! Take advantage of our relationships to tradespeople. You don't have to find and choose painters, electricians, plumbers, etc.We've been in business for 30 years and have great relationships with people in many different trades. We can manage these projects for you too. Give us a call or drop by and discuss your latest project. We can take it from there.

Come check out our entire design team here!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Find Your Style!


Are you more modern?

What do you want your home to be? Do you want a serene retreat? An energetic,colorful space to entertain? An eclectic space to collect your treasures? 

Or transitional?

This may seem a daunting undertaking, but write down or collect magazine pictures of what inspires you. What colors,patterns and styles do you gravitate to?


Now you have the basis you need to start decorating!
Most will start with the sofa. What do you need the seating area for? A great room serves as heart of the home next to the kitchen and dining area. Will you be watching TV?

Make a design board!

Doing homework or family projects? That will determine whether you need a sectional for optimal seating or a sofa and chairs. Leather or fabric? Do you have pets or lots of young children? Leather is easy care and looks good for years. 

Do you want a sectional?

Or Sofa and Chair groups?

New fabric offerings of microfiber polyester imitate expensive luxury fabrics such as silk and linen, that are durable, cleanable and give a warmth to your space.

Don't expect a new piece of furniture will complete your space. Pictures, accessories, plants, area rugs and lighting are all essential elements to bring your personal style to the forefront.

Start 2015 with a visual focus and you'll be so happy that you followed through to a beautiful new home that is a reflection of you!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pantone's Color of the Year Is?


That's the Pantone color of the year for 2015, and the shade color experts believe will be reflected in fashion, home decor and graphic and industrial design trends next year. Pantone describes the color as "a naturally robust and earthy wine red." "Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness," "This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, home furnishings and interiors."

Surya will showcase rugs, pillows, lighting, wall decor and accessories in Marsala and complementary hues along with hundreds of other products across the broad range of styles and price points.

American Leather has a  beautiful leather color called Haven Pomegranate that works perfectly with this rich Marsala. We think this is a perfect match!

Here at San Francisco Design, we always strive to give you the newest and best trends in the furniture and design world. We love the new Pantone color of the year and we have many styles in this color already! 

Drop in today if you haven't already!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Let's Nest!

Fall Is HERE!

It's fall, the leaves are changing to brilliant reds and golds, bringing warm sunny days and cool crisp nights.
It's time to turn our attention indoors, where we'll be nesting til Spring!
Time to assess, edit and refresh.
Start with a new area rug!

Area rugs are a great way to enhance and define your living spaces. With the cold months ahead, natural wool is not only beautiful but will insulate, keeping you warm.
It's easy to measure your space with painters tape. Most of us will want our furniture sitting on the rug, but it's not written in stone,either. 
Layering area rugs can be a fun way to add texture , but layering must be done with flat weave area rugs. There's a trick to it; start with colors that coordinate and add patterns to compliment.

They're back in a big way! You can choose from an inch to over 5"! Nylon is a way to add vibrant color at an affordable price, but wool, that's the luxury way to go. There are so many new colors available in wool like never before that can be dyed to match what you have,even a paint swatch!
There are beautiful blends now of wool and polyester or wool and nylon. These blends will add sheen to wool.

Hand tufted or hand knotted? 
Nothing beats the luxurious feel of a cut pile wool area rug.
Traditional, transitional or contemporary, these rugs will last forever, with very little care.
They are an investment, but will give years of use and can be handed down to your next generation.
Enjoy your hunt, and then get cozy!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Home Makeovers!


Needing a quick and easy change? Wallpaper can transform a host of areas in
your home. Take your room from good to great!

Try one of these five clever wallpaper projects from York Wallpaper:

Prettier Private Spaces

Wallpaper can turn a tiresome nightstand or sad-looking screen into inspired eye candy. Making over a throwaway is satisfying and economical.

This zebra wallpaper creates a face-lifting piece that diverts attention from its storehouse functionality.

The Fabulous Feature Wall

A feature wall is shorthand for sharp interiors, and it’s a popular look because it’s modern and truly transformational.

Covering large areas quickly is easy if you pick an area with no windows, doors or corners to contend with. By doing only one wall, it’s easier to update when trends and tastes change.

Stylish Storage

Break up the boredom of one-color cabinetry by making cabinets a canvas for color and design.

In this project, lining open shelf backs is a style statement while papering the backs of closed cupboards is a just-for-you surprise.

Big Impact for Small Spaces

Enliven an entry or add pizzazz to a powder room with a dashing design that transforms a tiny space -- the bolder the better.

More durable and dramatic than paint, wallpaper has a life span of 10 years.

Wallpaper as Art

Awaken walls with movable art. Just frame paper in decorative molding, artist’s boards or pre-assembled frames to create a clever, changeable style statement.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Window Treatments

What You Didn't Know About Window Treatments

The difference between drapes and curtains, although they are often used interchangeably, is the weight of the material. Curtains are typically a lighter weight window treatment and provide less privacy and insulation, but are very good for accompanying other window treatments, like shades. Height can vary. Drapery is a heavier window treatment with blackout and insulation liners and is usually floor length.

Curtains or drapes do not have to make your home look like a 15th century castle. Nor will they make your home look like you’re the up-and-coming cat lady. I’ve had numerous design experiences where clients look like they want to run away when I suggest adding curtains or drapes to a modern space. There are numerous ways either drapes or curtains can enhance a modern look, and thousands of photos to prove it! It is true that not every space calls for them, but when it does call, here are the reasons you should listen. 

1.       Compliments High Ceilings

Drapes or curtains can beautifully accent high ceilings by blurring the lines between the ceiling and floor. They will draw the eye up without creating any of the breaks or interruptions that blinds or fitted window covers create. Fireplaces, stairwells, large art pieces, lighting and other tall focal points will be complimented without being competed with. Especially if you’re space consists of low furniture pieces and accents, floor length drapes or curtains are a simple, fluid way of bringing the eye upward from the low furniture pieces and keep the space from looking like an empty cavern.

2.       Functional and Beautiful

The wonderful thing about drapery is that it can be as functional as it is beautiful. By using a thicker fabric or a blackout lining, which is usually the better options with large, tall windows, drapes can be drawn closed to block out or minimize light. Imagine an 8 foot by 10 foot window with wooden shades: it not only looks heavy, but would be heavy to raise and lower. If roller shades or other window fittings are desired, drapes easily work with them, hiding cords and tracks and adding that soft, rich look only fabric can give. Layering sheers and solids makes it easy to control the amount of light coming in while allowing you to bring multiple textures, colors or patterns into the space. 

3.       Livens Up a Blank Wall

More and more often, we are seeing high end contemporary spaces with white or very light walls and finishes. This will actually allow the items you place in the room to stand out. Even a light colored, textured fabric will stand out against a clean white background. Drapes or curtains are also a great way to introduce a new color into a space, and they are large enough to stand alone as a design feature. Contemporary or subtle patterns, bold or soft colors, and varying and interesting textures add interest and liven up your space. 

4.       Unifies the Space

By choosing a fabric that has multiple colors that are also found in your furniture, accents and finishes, drapes or curtains can be used to unify your space, just as a rug or pillows can. It can also repeat a pattern or texture that is found elsewhere in your room. If you want to stay away from patterns, look into two toning your drapes at the 1/3 or 2/3 heights, like pictured above. This feature also makes for more interesting lines throughout the space.  To keep your space neutral and be able to switch up the accents, find a neutral that compliments your bigger furniture pieces, but doesn’t match it exactly (go a shade lighter or darker). The style of your window treatment can definitely tie together or direct the style of your entire space as well. Pay attention to the hardware and header styles as much as the fabric!

5.       Softens Edges and Adds Heights

A big concern with drapes in small spaces is that it will make the space feel crowded or dark. This may be the case with certain traditional drapery styles, but curtains and some drapes usually do the opposite. In the photo above, a light weight sheer fabric in a long simple style adds a new texture to the room that softens the otherwise hard and plain wall and blurs the transition from floor to ceiling, making the low ceiling look taller. Even though they aren’t done in a dramatic contrasting color, they make a big impact on the space without being overwhelming. You may have noticed that many of the floor length window treatments shown here and in other designer photos, the drapery rod is lifted above the window, bringing the drapes or curtains even closer to the ceiling and lifting your eye even higher. Another trick is to extend the window treatment into and around the corner of a wall or between windows. This, again, blurs the lines between one wall and the next and makes the entire space look more continuous (this should only be done with solid fabrics).

If you’re hesitant about curtains or drapes because you’re afraid choosing the wrong color, texture, style, or height, contact a designer to help determine exactly which window treatment will be right for your individual space. Standard height and width window treatments can be purchased almost anywhere, but custom curtains and drapes are easy to have made and allow you to get exactly what you want and need. Now that you are put at ease about window treatments, enjoy all the beauty and functionality your new window treatments are going to provide!

Your local design expert,

Courtney Bulloch