Installation Stories: SF Decorator's Showcase
All images: Christopher Stark Photography
Opting for mesmerizing floor tile in Adriatic Sea, designers Benni Amadi and Courtney Springer transformed this SF Decorator Showcase powder room into a showstopping display. The San Francisco Decorator Showcase is features the work of the region’s top interior and landscape designers and comes with a major bonus: all of the funds raised go directly to support the San Francisco University High School Financial Aid Program. If you're in the Bay Area, the house is full of design inspiration and is worth a visit! (The house in open for visitors until May 29th).
We're sharing more about Benni and Courtney, as well as their unforgettable powder room below:
Here are Benni & Courtney:
Here's a bit about Benni (on the right):
My style can be described as...Nordic, austere with pops of colors here and there, timeless and uncommon.
My design philosophy is...As Coco Chanel stated, "An interior is the natural projection of the soul."
I find inspiration in...My passion for travel.
My best design advice would be...Don't think too much about your property resale value, go with your gut and with what you love, at the end of the day you are the one who will be living in the space!
I love tile because...Endless creative possibilities can be explored.
A bit about Courtney (left):
My style can be described as...Modern, bohemian, organic, eclectic.
My design philosophy is...Everyone deserves good design.
I find inspiration in...Small elements like a textile pattern or a rug. I find one thing I love and my imagination goes wild creating rooms around a single starting point.
My best design advice would be...Have a plan before you start buying. Even in the most eclectic spaces, there is always some method to the madness.
I love tile because...The options are endless! Color, pattern, shape, size...you can use it in so many ways to set the tone in a room.
You two are both designers of your own studios, how did you come to meet?
We first met through a mutual connection who set us up for a coffee date to help Benni get to know more people in the design community when she moved to San Francisco from New York. Shortly after we worked together at a design firm and became good friends, as well as realizing how similar our work styles and aesthetic are.
Had either of you ever done the SF showcase before?
This is both of our first times since launching our own firms. We had both helped with the design of the 2015 master bedroom when we were with Wick Design, but it's a totally different experience doing it on our own. The pressure of creating something like this and putting your name on it, it's an honor but also a little anxiety inducing!
What made you decide to team up on this?
We share an office and we help each other out on our respective projects. We have similar styles, so we share our material library, meet vendors together, and we are constantly running ideas past each other for our projects. If felt like a no brainer to work together on Showcase so that we could share the responsibilities. It's a big time commitment, especially when you work solo, so working together has helped us so much managing our time and getting everything for showcase done.
Why did you choose the power room?
Powder rooms are often the space you can go a little wild with. Since they are small rooms you can make it dramatic without being overwhelming, which was one of the reasons we were attracted to doing one for Showcase. We also both felt like the first floor powder deserved some love. It was just a sad, white drywall box when we first saw it, and it just didn't stand up to the architectural drama of the rest of the home. We felt inspired to give it some of the architectural interest that we see in the larger rooms of the house, but put our own, modern spin on it.
Tile Shown: 2x8 tiles in Adriatic Sea
What aesthetic were you going for?
Traditional meets modern. We added all of the paneling and heavy trims in the space to give it that traditional architectural interest that we saw in other areas of the house, but then we layered modern elements to create interest and tension. We also took this opportunity to create something a little more dramatic and colorful than our typical work.
How did you come up with the color scheme/design?
One of the first elements we were inspired to do was the black paneled walls. We knew we wanted to add pattern to the ceiling to draw your eye up and take advantage of how high it is. 11 foot ceilings are almost unheard of in a small powder room. We turned to Eskayel for the wallpapers and really felt inspired by their mix of black with inky blues.
What made you choose the color Adriatic Sea for the tile floor?
We had a strong idea of which wallpapers we were going to use for the powder room ceiling and the walls in the vestibule space, so we knew we wanted to go with a blue or green for the tile floors. When we saw how Adriatic Sea popped against black it was a no brainer. It just instantly created that bright, powerful tile moment we were looking for.
How about the herringbone pattern?
It went back to that idea of creating tension between traditional and modern elements. The bright, bold color of Adriatic Sea felt really modern, so we decided to lay it in a herringbone pattern to give that nod to tradition.
How was the installation? Did you face any challenges?
Our installation was pretty stress free! We definitely created a little extra work for our installer by choosing the herringbone pattern, but he was great and handled the challenge well. I think the hardest part was choosing the grout color...almost every color looked good with Adriatic Sea! We ended up going with a light gray, but we're dreaming of using it with a terracotta colored grout in a future project.
Lastly, which of our colors/shapes are each of you hoping to get to use in future projects?
Courtney: I am really wanting to do something with Stilbite in 6" Hexagon. That color is just happy and so unexpected for a tile installation.
Benni: The large Star and Cross in Bora Bora, just the name of this color puts me in a great mood ;-)
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