Home with Lisa Quinn Episodes

Interior Design Secrets Revealed

Lisa Quinn gives you a sneak peek inside the San Francisco decorator showcase home. Top West Coast designers reveal their decorating secrets.

Decor Tips from Valerie Fiscalini:

1. When choosing accessories, pick items that are about as big as your head. Fewer larger pieces will always be more dramatic than a lot of little ones.

2. Scale is paramount in a room. How the size of the elements "feel" in the room and relate to each other creates harmony.

3. Every room needs a little black. It gives the eye a place to rest from the colors throughout the space. It can be as simple as a black lamp shade.

4. Don't be too "matchy-matchy". Two slightly different shades of any color are more interesting that if the shades are exactly the same. When the eye sees the two shades it mixes them together to make a third color, which is more stimulating to the brain and makes the design more interesting.

5. Throw in the "unexpected" into every design plan. That is probably the element that most people will remember about it.

6. Keep your bold statements and colors in pillows and accents which can easily be changed if you tire of them.

About Valerie Fiscalini:

Valerie Fiscalini is an award winning interior designer and an Allied Member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). She has been creating beautiful interiors for the design savvy throughout the greater San Francisco Bay area, as well as New York, for the past 11 years. Her designs have been selected and seen in 4 San Francisco Decorator Showcases, as well as 6 Marin Designer Showcases. Her work has also been showcased as the designer "inspiration room" for such HGTV programs as, "Double Take" and "Sensible Chic".

Valerie's outstanding qualities as a design firm owner set her apart from the others: She personally oversees every job to ensure success. Valerie has a particular fondness for getting to know each client on home visits and shopping trips to the design center or other showrooms. Her personal attention allows clients to realize their goals. Valerie also views every new project as a completely unique experience, resulting in refined surroundings that reflect the interests and passions of the homeowner. Whichever look you may desire -- modern, contemporary, or traditional, (or an eclectic blend of all three) -- Valerie's versatile knowledge of design styles results in a fresh, inviting appearance.

Heather Hilliard Design's Tips:

1. Any mistakes that you think are commonly made by homeowners?

I find that most people do not know how to hang and present art in their homes. I cringe when I walk into a lovely home but find art that is not the right proportion and or hanging WAY TOO HIGH. Homeowners should not hang one small framed piece on a large wall. If you really want to hang small works, it is best to group them, grid-like and hang them approximately one inch apart. Hang the center of a large work or grouping at least 5'-0" high which is approximate eye level.

2. If you're going to splurge on one thing in the house, what should it be and why?

A custom designed sofa is splurge worthy. If designed well, a custom sofa will last for years and years. It can be tailored to fit specific comfort preferences in terms of seat, arm and back height and depth. I like to take clients to my upholsterer's workroom to "sit test" different types of cushion fills so the client can determine the exact firmness or softness of the seat. As well, a custom sofa will be specifically designed to suit a client's room size and proportions. I believe a custom sofa should be a simple and classic design that will look beautiful for years, even after re-upholstering it with new fabric once or twice.

3. Good buys: For people on tight budgets, what are some good local resources?

About Dolby Chadwick Gallery:
The Dolby Chadwick Gallery is a fantastic resource for people who are interested in emerging, mid-career and established artists with works ranging in mediums including painting, photography, sculpture and museum quality prints. Lisa Chadwick has a great eye for selecting new artists and cultivating their careers. Lisa and her staff are warm, friendly and knowledgeable about each and every artist they represent.

Address: 210 Post Street, Suite 205 San Francisco, CA 94108
Website: dolbychadwickgallery.com

About SF MOMA's Annual Artist Warehouse Sale at Fort Mason:
The five-day sale features paintings, photographs, sculptures, prints, and works on paper at 50% off regular retail price. Sale proceeds benefit the programs of the SFMOMA Artists Gallery, which supports both the Museum and regional artists. With affordable, original art priced from $50 to $5,000 visitors can purchase paintings, sculpture, drawings, and unframed works on paper by more than 300 emerging and established Bay Area artists. I found great architectural drawings done by a local artist, Doug Kerr, for a steal.

4. Recommended reading: Any design books that you especially like?

I'm always referencing the AIA's Architectural Graphic Standards and S.C. Reznikoff's Interior Graphic and Design Standards. These books have a lot of detailed information geared toward architects and designers but homeowners will find them helpful for referencing appropriate dimensions and distances for furniture placement -- for example, a coffee/cocktail table should be placed 12 inches to 18 inches in front of a sofa. The books are full of these tips.

5. Color Tips: Many of the interiors in your portfolio seem to have a neutral palette with pops of color introduced in the accessories, artwork, etc. What is the reasoning behind this approach?

I prefer off whites and neutral colors to ground a space. Color can be layered in with accessories, flowers and art. This is a very practical approach. By using neutrals for the big pieces and envelope of the room, you can easily change the style direction by integrating different color accessories to achieve a totally new look. As well, a neutral background is literally easier on the eyes. There are color and light regulating rods and cones situated just behind the retina of the eye. When we enter a brightly colored room, the rods vibrate and have to work extra hard to adjust our perception of the constant color. The longer we are exposed to the color, the more dull the color become as the cones become fatigued. I don't suggest painting a room in a bright color unless it is a transition or circulation space.

About Heather Hilliard:

Heather Hilliard opened her full-service interior design firm, Heather Hilliard Design in 2009. Previously, she led projects as a Senior Designer at the time-honored San Francisco decorating firm The Wiseman Group (named one of the five best interior design firms worldwide by the Robb Report). She also worked for Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design in Philadelphia and Tracy Banks and Associates. Heather's work has been featured in Architectural Digest, California Home and Design, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Diplomat, A/Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many online publications.

Heather began her art career at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute of Contemporary Art, followed by five years at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her projects have ranged in size from large country estates to pieds-a-terre in cities. Heather's talent for delivering fresh, modern and timeless designs has led to her selection twice as a designer for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase (2009 /2011) and for the 2010 Marin Designers Showcase. Heather takes a sincere and personable approach with each client. She helps each client achieve the best of their desired style. Heather earned her MFA in Interior Architecture and Design from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and her BA in Art History from La Salle University in Philadelphia. Heather studied European architecture and design by taking classes in London and Paris. In addition, she completed post-baccalaureate studies in art, architecture and design at Drexel University, Moore College of Art and Design, Stanford and UC Berkeley. She is an Associate Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), an ASID Allied Member, and an Associate member of the International Interior Design Association. Heather was a member of the Designer's Circle for the San Francisco Antiques Show, and for the SF20 Modernism show sponsored by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

About the 2011 San Francisco Decorator Showcase Home:

Elegant Pacific Heights Mansion Features
West Coast's Top Designers

The lovely brick Italian villa estate is located on one of the most coveted blocks in San Francisco near the Presidio with unmatched views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and beyond. The grand home was originally constructed in 1927 by Gottschalkand Rist, the noted architects of Villa Montalvo in Saratoga.