interior design

caitlin moran

by Grace Bonney

[credit: katherine macDonald]

is it possible, i wonder, to become so mesmerized by an image that a slight obsession begins to transpire? take, for example, this richly bedecked foyer in san francisco interior designer caitlin moran’s cow hollow apartment. the metallic osborne & little wallpaper is practically hypnotic and the menagerie of framed glamour shots of her and her new husband’s friends and family—not to mention the original Lichtenstein (thrown in for good measure, bien sur)—is clearly a ploy to stir one’s inner voyeur: who are those people? where are they now? (or, my own insecure twist: do i know enough people to make such a wall equally as captivating?)

while the color palette of teal and chocolate and rose is sumptuous (caitlin is a fearless color theorist) and the patterns on the rug and the wallpaper are spellbinding and the family photos inspire that warm, fuzzy feeling otherwise known as nostalgia, to me, the most intriguing element of this moroccan-inspired setting is the pairing of the gleaming gold screen—traditionally used, as we all know, to ensure modesty—with an un-pedigreed painting of a mysterious, shoulder-baring woman in the corner, a vision of coyness in her own right. “it hung in my grandmother’s hallway forever,” caitlin explains. “it’s very dark and a little creepy. i love it.”

[credit: aya brackett]

caitlin custom designed her headboard as a tribute to another venerable piece of furniture—the wingback chair. “flattened like a pancake,” she explains. in keeping with the palette, the board is upholstered in rose tweed with chocolate piping. while i also appreciate its unusual shape—which, in its own way, is vaguely moorish—i really admire its humble size, a refreshing foil to the ostentatious headboard she could have designed, given the room’s moroccan theme and dramatically high ceilings (typical for turn-of-the-century san francisco edwardians). –leilani labong*

*leilani is joining us as a guest writer on the main site this week

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  • I am always impressed when a person can use pink and rose on their walls without it looking like a 4 year olds pepto room in suburbia. Pink is romantic, elegant, and great for reflecting on the the skin… I sighed an audible happy sigh when I saw this space…

  • I am in love with the headboard. It’s very unique. Those colors have so much depth and really create a romantic/vintage feel for the room.

  • One of the reasons I tune in here frequently is for Grace’s refreshing writing: simple, direct and completely lacking in pretense.

    Although I enjoyed the photos in this post, I found the writing affected and contrived. It doesn’t follow the style and tone of D*S and seem completely out of place.

    Note: A foil is something that serves as a contrast to another thing. The headboard in the photo above can’t possibly be a “foil” to something that doesn’t exist (the “ostentatious headboard she could have designed”). In order to act as a foil, it must foil *something.*

    D*S consistent style and tone (and professionalism) really set the site apart from all the other stuff on the web. It’s the closest thing to a national consumer print magazine that I’ve found on the web. I just hope it stays that way.

    The guest blog is a great place to showcase other voices and writing styles.

    • clf

      sorry you feel that way. leilani is a great writer, and we definitely do have different writing styles. that said, i don’t think her work feels contrived.

      i’m always testing out new writers and new columns to see what clicks, so if we do bring anyone new on staff we’ll definitely make sure that we feel the style, pictures and text, jive with everything else.


  • I really love the voyeuristic view point of this. It’s a little spooky and very beautiful. That effect has as much to do with the pictures as it does with the writing. I would enjoy seeing different writers showcased on the main blog. Great idea, GRace.

  • Wow is right! Only in my dreams would I be daring enough to put these colors and patterns together. Caitlin has a great eye. And I have to agree with Grace and FernJayson on the writer. I found the words to be very evocative of the place.

  • Is CLF serious? Geez.

    By the way, MUST. HAVE. THAT. HEADBOARD. I’m daydreaming of it in toile upholstery. Think the designer would be willing to reproduce it for me?

  • What a beautiful mixture of colors and textures. Caitlin seems to create the kind of place you would like to visit – and not leave! Like a luxurious hotel.

  • beautiful space AND beautiful story! Looking forward to seeing more from both these gals.

    grace, you’re not related to Hannah Bonney from Denver, are you?

  • wow, i am totally floored at all the nice things people have to say. thank you grace and leilani for the coverage and i am so flattered that you folks like our little apartment.
    btw-gwynnie, that headboard would be fantastic in toile!

  • i wish I was this confident with color. Currently trying to find the right white for my walls. Man, I am boring!

    By the way that rug is my dream/unaffordable nightmare.

  • @lizbeth–My sentiments exactly. Gorgeous post all around, from the design right down to the fab descriptions.

    I’m buying a lottery ticket tonight and if I win, Caitlin, I’m hiring you to recreate this mood in my house! ;)

  • Just ordered this wallpaper last week. Now I’m SUPER excited. This space is sexy, grown up and gorgeous. I’m always doing painted (and now, papered) ceilings so it’s good to see elsewhere!

    I’m sorta with CLF. Contrivance is ok, but endless run-ons and poor usage are distractions.

  • Absolutely breathtaking space, Caitlin. Particularly the combo of the teal trim with the wallpaper in the hallway. I like Leilani’s words, “sumptuous,” “hypnotic,” “nostaligic.” That’s exactly what it is.

    Nice work, both of you.

  • I love wearing teal, chocolate and rose colors. It’s great to see them in this gorgeous home!

    The writing seems a bit sober, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s nice to hear a variety of writers’ voices.

  • Rich dark colors. They’re no longer common in home decorating so I appreciate this blog by Ms. Labong.

    And I enjoyed her writing too. Full of knowledgeable references, full of wonder, yet casual and smart. I like that in critical writing: the ability to convey appreciation.

  • I think the writing is evocative and lively….and thanks to Leilani for pointing out the clever juxtaposition of the portrait of the shoulder-baring woman next to the screen–would have not noticed it otherwise!

  • These inviting rooms, sophisticated, yet approachable, reflect the designer’s very original point of view. I think Leilani has just the voice to describe Caitlin Moran’s saavy sensibility, would love to read a longer interview between the two.