sneak peek: vanessa dina


when i was out in san francisco last month i had the pleasure of stopping by chronicle books and seeing where all the magic happens. while i was there i met vanessa dina, one of the design directors, who kindly sent along pictures of her lovely home for our second sneak peek of the day. read on, and click here for more full-sized images. as always, you can find all of the sneak peeks here. [thanks, vanessa!] -anne

[Above: Bedroom: Danish cerdenza with white lacquered top from the 60’s. Linens from Antropologie with a circle embossed pillow from Ikea. Paper mobile for 99 cents! Who doesn’t love a bargain? And a Cinni fan to keep me cool when the fog disappears for a week!]

Kitchen: I continue to collect plates for my wall. So far I have transferware, 60’s prints (Autumn collection) and modern plastic ware (couldn’t resist the pink bird). The salmony-pink vinyl chairs I found on the street and the cream ones were from a thrift store. Always fresh flowers on the table (peonies) and of course my cookbook on hand: The Meat Club Cookbook, For Gals Who Love Their Meat. Co-authored and designed by yours truly.

v3.jpgMy living room. Thankfully it gets fantastic light during the day. When I moved in the walls were painted burgundy with faux wood-colored trim. I repainted everything a neutral cream color and covered the fireplace with black matte paint. Chairs are a mix of old and new: Eames and Ikea. Curtains: Ikea fabric and vintage barkcloth from a flea market. Hanging lamp: I made using extension wire and a spot light lampshade from Cole Hardware. Coffee table on rollers has spaces beneath that perfectly hide colored cushions from Urban Outfitters. Sofa folds out to a bed–great for sleepovers.

Mantel: Old pics of my mom and I and one of my grandmother, tealight holder from the 60’s, vintage labels I found from scouring flea markets, a pack of Mexican cigarettes from the Mission (such charming packaging) and letters that spell out one of my weakness: “meat.”

An easy way to brighten up a space: Decorate with edibles and flowers. I tend to group items by their color. Here are some kumquats surrounded by vintage pics of my family and a poster from a Callum Innes exhibit at Kew Gardens.

My collection of SF MUNI passes. The colors each month are such a welcomed surprise I hate to throw them away.

Here’s a still life of some of my favorite things–books, flowers, and dishware. Jonathan Adler vase with a yellow transferware teacup and saucer that I found at a local street fair for $2! Penguin came out with a series of short stories by various writers. I bought them all. A great read and they look beautiful spine-out. Inside the teacup is an air plant that flowered last week. Print is from sugarloop.

Another collection of goodies: mini Rex ray print, Ikea vase, and handmade vase by a local SF artist (can’t remember her name?!) Birds on branch were bought from Radish and Rose.

Pamela Day-Lewis

So Fab! Great use of color and amazing eye for mixing old and new. And love the meat book. Lucky for me, I already have it!…


What a beautiful home!!! I’m so inspired by the color choices. Such a happy charming place to live!

erin lang norris

Gorgeous! What a great I you have. Your home seems so personal and very welcoming. I love the coffee table, I’m actually making one very similar in a couple weeks!


Wow, I love all the color combinations in this home, especially how beautifully the black fireplace pops in the living room!

melissa lewis

Wow, I paint a lot of things and see a lot of painted things… I must say I have never seen black painted brick. But it really works. I love it!

Meredith @ Studio Debris

From the light, airy feel of this abode, I’d never know vanessa was a “meat” addict! LOL. I love the Anthropololgie linens and the plate collection. Also the collection of MUNI passes – I used to look forward to the colors on my monthly MBTA passes, which were decidedly more “east coast” in pallete.

I’m on a couch mission – is it alright to ask where the sleek sleeper sofa is from?


I LOVE that black fireplace, and the yellow transferware teacup is so cute! Great find for 2 bucks!!!


how refreshing! great mix of modern and comfy – i also love the colors of the muni passes too, i never would have thought of that!

meat girl

the coffee table is from Ikea! I bought it years ago. The sleeper sofa is from a shop called Therapy in SF. I think it’s Danish. Forgot the maker’s name.

holly hatam

What a beautiful and cozy home…I am especially loving the black fireplace…what a great way to make a statement!


You have an amazing eye for creating fun, colorful moments all over your place! Also, I own your Meat Club book and cook from it ALL the time. So many fantastic recipes. And, such great sass. Thanks for sharing!

erin lang norris

Ha, I must have been distracted by your lovely photos…I obviously meant “eye” rather than “I” in my previous comment! *shakes head at herself*


The color of the wood floor in the bedroom pics is so yummy… like honey! I also love the muni passes. What a great idea. In NY we only have the metro cards and they are definitely not that displayable.


I had the pleasure of working with Vanessa at Chronicle last summer and am not at all surprised to see that her home is as lovely and cheerful as she is! Beautiful!

jessica ann

i love the credenza and the black fireplace. love the vintage touches with the lovely crisp and modern aspects as well.

Condo Blues

Your muni passes just go to show that properly displaying anything unique (I love the colors too!) in multiples leads to good disign. Love that!


you made muni passes look good.
great now I can’t throw mine away.

mrs. french

Such a wonderful peek! I never thought I would be into a black fireplace…I have been converted!


love the black fireplace. Never would have tried the black (painted mine white). Got to have the meat lovers cookbook.

Elizabeth W

1) i go coo-coo for credenzas and i’m in LUV with yours 2) the colors used in your living room and that of my fantasy living room (in my fantasy midcentury ranch), 3) i love how the floral paper and picture frame look against the black brick on your mantle 4) the binder clips are a cute idea for displaying photos! overall yours is one of the mist delightful sneak peeks EVER!

Harry C

Vanessa’s home puts a smile on my face and inspires me to think differently about the use color in my own home!
Not to mention … I feel blessed to be her friend! (girl … that color theory class paid off)


Hi–awesome light in the living room. Can you give us east coasters more info on how you made it? I’d love to order the shade from Cole Hardware if you remember the name/number. Thanks!


Wait a minute; how’d you get a senior fast pass?

meat girl

sorry i don’t have the model number but the lights are called clamp lights. i removed the metal clamp, bought a light socket, and heater cord that was sold by the foot. any hardware store should have all the fixin’s. it was pretty easy.

as for the senior muni pass… that month i was mugged and my MUNI pass was in my purse. oddly enough the next day I found a Senior pass on the floor of the train station and added that one to my collection!


Unbelievably beautiful! I loved evey single thing in your apartment!!! The colors are spectacular! Looks like something out of a magazine : )


PLEASE!!! I love the red curtains in the living room, are they from IKEA? I looked and looked and cannot find any mention of them anywhere!

meat girl

The orange fabric is from IKEA -about 5 years ago. They were selling the fabric by the yard. I stitched them to hang as curtains.

margarita surenyan

enjoyed viewing design sponge..please tell me how you came up with it…and if I shall be so bold..please tell me a liitle about you.,thank you so much


I wish I could keep my collection of muni passes but I have to submite them each month for reimbursement. This month is a pretty purple scheme.

Andy Dufresne

I know it’s been a while since this was posted, but I just stumbled upon it and had to ask about the teacup and saucer. Who are they made by? Thanks!!

Jenn Staz

I googled Vanessa Dina because I just found the book “Whoopie Pies” book by Chronicle Books and had to know who the graphic designer was. I’m so glad I found your post. I adore her apartment and appreciate you sharing.
You have a new follower!!