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By Allison McCarthy | Photo: Thomas Kuoh | April 12, 2016
Modern and muted mix with hints of glamour inside a couple’s Pacific Heights manse.
Perched at the top of a hill on a beautiful block in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, Alfred and Rebecca Lin’s home has some of the most desirable views an urban setting can afford. With incomparable 180-degree sightlines, the 7,000-square-foot, three-story residence looks out over the city, the bay and the Marin Headlands, making a living space with indoor-outdoor elements a top priority for the couple. “When you live in a temperate climate like San Francisco, you definitely want to be outside and enjoying the view whenever possible,” says Rebecca.
After scouring Houzz (Alfred sits on the board of directors) for designers that could meet the challenge, the couple eventually settled on Niche Interiors. “We had no clue how to decorate our home in a way that made a comprehensive whole,” says Rebecca. “We knew we really liked clean, modern lines, but it was through Niche Interiors’ discovery process that we learned I also really like glamour and playful pops of color,” she says. After settling on a cool, muted color palette of grays, blues and ivories to anchor the five-bedroom, 6 ½-bathroom home, they started to hone in on more custom elements that would add character and style. “Alfred and Rebecca were very clear about their likes and dislikes, and actually agreed on what they wanted—which is rare for a couple, but which made the design process really easy,” says principal designer Jennifer Jones. The newly remodeled contemporary home served as a blank canvas for the design team to outfit a residence that was truly reflective of the homeowners’ tastes.
Alfred—a partner at Sequoia Capital and former COO of Zappos, with a spot on Forbes’ Midas List of Top Tech Investors—often entertains for work and wanted the common areas to be designed around that. So some of the features were imagined with large parties in mind—a custom dining table that expands to accommodate 14, a roof deck and back patio with plenty of seating, and a Nathan Anthony sectional sofa in the family room overlooking Alcatraz—for occasions ranging from work dinners to poker nights to play dates with family friends and their kids. “We hosted our housewarming party during Fleet Week,” says Rebecca. “It was pretty amazing to have the planes flying directly overhead.”
As their everyday family residence, the living space needed to be both comfortable and sophisticated, without a lot of clutter. “Niche Interiors knew we liked a clean look but also knew that we had a 4-year-old son,” Rebecca says. The solution meant integrating cleverly placed custom storage units underneath bench seating in the kitchen nook and in the playroom so that common areas could be easily cleaned up and organized. A bold, geometric rug and graphic Graham & Brown wallpaper lend a fun, whimsical vibe to the playroom, while a midcentury-modern Design Within Reach table-and-chair set keeps it looking refined. The addition of a Niche Interiors custom-designed Murphy bed in the playroom provides extra space for guests. “Perhaps because Jennifer is a mother herself, she knew where to use more comfortable, durable items and where to deploy more expensive, less child-friendly furniture and decor,” Rebecca notes.
The formal living room gives Rebecca the luxury she longed for—rich velvet Christian Liaigre chairs, mohair Holly Hunt sofa, Donghia’s origami occasional table with brass accents and a custom rug woven with silk. “Rebecca really wanted some dramatic elements throughout the house,” says Jones. Nowhere is this more apparent than the adjacent dining area, clad in an exclusive black Omexco wallpaper with a subtle metallic sheen surrounding a standout chandelier by Lindsey Adelman and gold-studded Arteriors table lamps. “Niche Interiors was great about knowing where to emphasize the glamour and where to tone it down,” Rebecca says.
Upstairs, the master bedroom is a statement of tranquil simplicity and is outfitted with a custom platform bed designed by Niche Interiors. Fabricated locally by Franciscan Interiors, it’s made from natural, nontoxic latex wrapped in organic wool and then upholstered in a wool fabric by Rogers & Goffigon. “The eco-friendly aspect wasn’t a directive from the homeowners, but they were pleased that we offered a healthier alternative to potentially harmful chemicals—especially in the bedroom,” Jones says. Phillip Jeffries grass-cloth wallpaper adds subtle texture for understated elegance and a wall-to-wall sliding door capitalizes on the incredible city view.
Throughout, the design strikes a masculine and feminine balance—bold, metallic flourishes blended with modern, rectilinear pieces. The look changes from room to room, yet tells a cohesive story and truly captures the Lin’s day-to-day lifestyle and personal tastes. Mission accomplished!
Master bedroom and dining room table lamps
De Sousa Hughes
Living room Christian Liaigre chairs; and dining room Omexco wallpaper, head chairs and console
Dining room table
Design Within Reach
Back patio ottomans
Dolby Chadwick Gallery
Living room art: “Structur” by James Kennedy and “Silver French Horn Dynamo” by Katina Huston
Master bedroom custom platform bed and pillows
Family room rug
Tai Ping Carpets
Master bedroom rug
Living room coffee table
Interior photography by Thomas Kuoh