Soledad Alzaga has always had a passion for “moving furniture around, knocking down walls and redesigning spaces.” What started as an interest soon turned into a full-fledged career, and she quickly became one of the most sought-after designers in San Francisco. In addition to her keen ability to connect with her clients, offering them exactly what they’ve dreamt of, she’s able to do so quite quickly. In our latest issue (#RueSummerKickOff), we tour a gorgeous bachelor pad in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood – a space Soledad only had one month to design. We were floored by the quick timeline, yet before we knew it – Soledad shared yet another project with the same 4-week guideline.
This home, also a rental, belongs to a book-lover who wanted a place to feel comfortable and inviting. Even though there were a few “landlord limitations,” Soledad found a way to create the client’s dream home while following polite rental protocol. We wanted to know more about the beautiful textiles (and that golden bedroom!!), so Soledad gave us the low down:
We’d love to know more about this space!
[It's a] 1200 square foot rental apartment in Pacific Heights. I had a month to put it together so most things had to be purchased off the floor or readily available. It was a crazy month! A project like this usually takes months… but sometimes I enjoy working under pressure and seeing the results of an installation so fast.
You have proven time and time again that you can work swiftly. Who was the client this time?
My client is a successful scholar and journalist whom I have worked for before in another project. Her previous space was modern and minimalistic, but for this space she wanted something relaxing, warm and inviting. I wanted to use deep seating and plush rugs, lots of texture. She wanted a place to display and be able to see all her books and photos so we had a bookcase custom built for the space that could later be removed when she moves out.
We love that – custom work in a rental is genius! Any other requirements when beginning the project?
My client needed to move, and I helped her look at some apartments. She fell in love with the amazing view and feel of this place. It has so much light and there are views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay. But then we needed to move fast! It was vacant so she got it right away and I had a month to get it furnished before she moved in. Some pieces like the custom bed and the chairs from Chairish that were being sent from Florida took a couple weeks longer.
What condition was the apartment in at the start?
It was completely empty. Only windows, great views and hardwood floors which are always a good place to start.
We agree. So where did you pull the original inspiration from? Did that change at all during the process?
The inspiration was to create a space that embraced you, that invited you in and that you would want to stay. We thought Moroccan and Indian textiles. Layers of neutral colors. My client wanted to surround herself with her things and books and be able to see them all. It is a very personal space to her and I think we achieved what she wanted.
Did you face any challenges in the design process?
The challenge was that I had to consider this was a rental property and we couldn’t do anything structural or permanent. We needed a bookcase to house all of my client’s books and I like the look of a built in, so we had the carpenter build one on site that could easily be removed without leaving marks on the walls after.
We had to also consider that my client is now renting, but this will possibly not be her permanent residence, so any purchases we made she had to be able to use again and take with her. We removed some of the existing lights and put them in a storage closet so we can put them back when she moves out, and we hang lights that we liked better for the space, like the Arteriors chandelier in the dining room. Of course we needed permission from the landlord to do this.
The bedroom really stands out from the rest of the home. How did you choose the color palette?
My client likes mustard and gold colors. I have known her for a while and after working with her in our last project, I knew she always liked adding that color in accents. So this time I offered to go all out and embrace the color completely. Luckily, Restoration Hardware has those silk gold curtains readily available, and I found the mustard color velvet in stock so we went ahead and had the bed made and she loves it. It’s warm, rich and inviting.
Do you have a favorite feature in the finished home?
The rug and sofa in the living room are so cozy, makes you want to be bare foot, hugging a cup of coffee enjoying the view, the fireplace and a good book.
Finally, we can’t help but swoon over the textiles, which play a big part in the home. What are your top tips for our readers when it comes to layering pillows, rugs, etc…
I like to use pillows, throws and layers when making cozy inviting spaces. The best tip for layering is that they all have to tie in with one another. It can be the color, the texture or feel of the textile that ties them together. In this case it was the ethnic feel and colors, the pillows are some Moroccan inspired, some are Indian, but they all feel like they belong together on top of some neutral ones.
Thanks, Soledad! To see her other tips for turning a rental into your dream home, check out our latest issue here.
To learn more about Soledad Alzaga, click here.