"How Are You Going to Use These Spaces?" (Interior Design)

By Gregory, Daniel | Sunset, June 1993 | Go to article overview

"How Are You Going to Use These Spaces?" (Interior Design)


Gregory, Daniel, Sunset


Here's a lesson in how an interior designer works with a client--to complete a versatile to complete a versatile living-kitchen area

WHAT IS INTERIOR design? It entails the thoughtful shaping of interior space to fit particular functions and to suit the client's needs, dreams, and budget. Award-winning San Francisco interior designer Lou Ann Bauer's recent assignment to complete a living-kitchen area that opens onto a pool helps explain what interior design is all about.

After the structural shell had been built, homeowners Jane and John Willison wanted Bauer's help in selecting finishes, furniture, and lighting that would create a comfortable, distinctive interior.

Bauer's first question to her clients was, "How are you going to use these spaces?" The Willisons answered that flexibility would be important. The living area had to function as an informal living-dining room, as a guest room, and as a place where children could play. And they wanted it, and the kitchen, to be casual, able to withstand heavy use, and to serve as a contrast to more formal rooms in the main house.

Bauer sketched several design approaches. Together, she and the Willisons settled on one design, which Bauer then refined, producing a floor plan and interior elevations showing the window treatments. The Willisons hired Jeff Kraft, a contractor who was willing to experiment with new ideas, to convert the design to reality.

To give the area an outdoor feeling--capitalizing on its proximity to the pool Bauer used simple, rough, outdoor-oriented materials, such as plaster walls and concrete floors. She derived her palette of beiges and greens from earth and plant tones.

The walls and floor are integrally colored (the pigment was mixed into plaster and concrete) and an aniline dye stain highlights the wood grain of the cabinetry and the tapered window trim, which conceals shades. …

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