Creating offices for big-name tech companies like Dropbox, Instagram, and Hightail, Lauren Geremia’s client roster is anything but ordinary. But it wasn’t just her power status as the Bay Area’s go-to designer that earned her a spot on Forbes’ 30 Under 30. The San Francisco-based creative’s most recent endeavor? Transforming the homes of the same industry executives she once encountered in the workplace. And, yes, they’re all as gorgeous as this.
By all accounts, you could call this California home a bachelor pad. Geremia’s client—a successful, single, 30-something man with a knack for entertaining—fits the description to a tee. The only problem? There’s not a stereotype in sight.
“It’s a lifestyle house,” suggests Geremia. “It’s a house he’ll probably live in until he gets married—it’s meant for this place and time. He wanted things to feel laid back and natural (he’s both of those things), but he’s also an advocate of good design.”
It was this shared connection to beautiful objects and spaces with meaning that ultimately guided the project, start to finish. Along the way, Geremia referenced her own artistic background, peppering every room with one-of-a-kind artwork and furniture. A far cry from a traditional man cave, the home is now a sophisticated lesson in mixing work and play.
Geremia’s first task at hand was to create a space that was equal parts beautiful and functional. “When I got to the space we really just needed to peel some of it back. It didn’t feel like a place where a single man would live,” recalls the designer.
The dark mixed woods and low ceilings that had previously haunted the home were stripped away to reveal sun-drenched nooks and space for brighter materials. “He wanted to spend money on something that would celebrate the success of his career and his friendships and his community,” she adds.
This was one of many reasons the pair made a conscious decision to stray from big box stores; opting for artisan-made furniture and locally-sourced antiques in the process. Filled only with soothing neutrals, treasured art, and storied objects, the home is now a calming respite.
Keep reading to learn more about the designer mastered this laid-back look.
I know that the concept of “urban restraint-meets-comfort” was key to your vision. Why did you decide to take such a relaxed approach?
There’s a lot of conversations right now that are working against interior design in some ways. There’s the minimalist vs. maximalist conversation. Then, there’s the Marie Kondo concept of tidying up. A lot of people who are buying houses around here are very young, and I think there’s a desire to spend more money on experiences than stuff. For a lot of tech people, things don’t represent what’s important to them—ideas do, concepts do, family does. He wanted the pieces for this home to be quality, but didn’t want the people hanging out with him to feel like things were delicate, or that they couldn’t sprawl out on the furniture and watch a movie or dance in the living room.
For a “bachelor pad,” the space doesn’t feel overly “masculine.” Did these cliches factor into how you thought about the design?
Just because he’s a bachelor doesn’t mean he wants a “pad.” For me, bachelor living is basically when you don’t have children running around the house; there’s no need to kid-proof everything. The work that I do, particularly in California, is about indoor/outdoor, embracing local materials, and embracing light. I try to find sturdy materials—pieces that, tactile wise, feel good in your hands—that reflect my clients’ lifestyles, which are usually about bicycling, camping, river rafting, etc. These are the kinds of things my clients are interested in doing. Connecting with them on that level of what they love about this place and time is what we try to do.
That partition in the dining room is super cool! Was this original to the home?
We knocked down a wall and that’s where I put up the wood slats between the dining room and the front room because I knew he wouldn’t use that dining room exclusively as its own place very often. He has a big wine collection, he loves bartending and entertaining. We wanted to create more of a parlor space that had a lot of light. He’s done a lot of really great work and I think he wanted a place where he can play.
I know that sticking with small stores and local designers was important to you. How were you able to incorporate some of these items?
“There’s a shelf [in the living room] where he keeps all the pieces he’s accumulated. That shelf was built by a local fabricator. We wanted that to be a place that showed some of his awards and pieces that mean something to him; there are books from the places he’s traveled for guests to thumb through. There’s also a light fixture over the dining table by a small company we were excited to support, paired with a dining table by an artisan we commissioned for the project.”
There are so many great pieces of art scattered throughout the home. Do you have a favorite?
The piece above the fireplace is made from fragments of buildings that fell down during the Mexico City earthquake. It’s a material thing—it’s really interesting. I was excited to buy that piece. We also had an art show during this project where we showcased these landscapes by a local photographer named Terry Lowenthal. There’s two really psychedelic looking landscapes in the home now. Then, there are two pictures by a Berlin artist hanging in the breakfast nook that we built out. The artists’ process is very analogue so they’re clippings and colleges cut out from books about subject matter that are important to my client.
What’s your stance on the “California Cool” movement? What does it mean to you?
California is where I live but I definitely love doing projects everywhere. I really like understanding environment: where the house sits and what’s in the house. I like to work with a lot of the materials that are available and a lot of materials that are local. That can change wherever I am. I like it when a house is a product of its environment. Out here, people spend a lot of money on real estate so they want the interiors of their house to be less permanent. I think people find comfort in flexibility—changing things out or adding more later. San Francisco is a very transient city in that way.
While this home might not look like any bachelor pad you’ve seen before, but that doesn’t mean the dreamy retreat isn’t still a celebration of freedom. Current and future bachelors: Take note.
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