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Finding Peace & Quiet in California’s Noe Valley

by Garrett Fleming

Designer and founder of Neon Gold Interiors Samira Gagné Ludwin and her software-CEO husband, Adam, first met at a conference in Arizona when they were teenagers. Intent on catching her eye, Adam did a little magic trick. Lo and behold, Samira was charmed and the two became fast friends. It wasn’t until they reconnected 10 years later, however, that the two realized they were meant for each other. Since then, they have gotten married, moved in together, and their jobs and ambitions have taken them far and wide. Their latest stop is San Francisco’s Noe Valley, where they call this 1,200-square-foot rental “home.”

I recently vacationed in San Francisco and instantly fell in love with the city’s eclectic shops, people and sunny weather. For Samira and Adam, the serenity and sense of calm that permeates throughout the coastal city couldn’t be ignored. Their LA studio was simply too loud and wasn’t creating the sense of zen that the pair longed for after a tiring day. While they now have this relaxing spot all to themselves, the process of snagging it didn’t exactly embody tranquility. While Samira was away on business overseas, Adam had to scour Craigslist looking for listings, keeping in mind Samira’s one request: a bedroom with a door! No more studios for this couple. To ensure his family would be able to rent the apartment, Adam showed up to this listing’s first showing with all necessary paperwork already filled out and beat 12 other renters to the punch. That’s San Francisco real estate for you!

Once they got the keys, the 100-year-old building got an unintentional, rosy paint job. There was a bit of a mix-up between swatches and installation, but the shade actually pleased Adam and Samira so much, they ended up keeping it. A few furniture upgrades — courtesy of Samira’s growing chair collection — also decorate each room. (She owns 17 at the moment and doesn’t see any sign of slowing down.) Overall, the two took a nod from nature when designing their calming oasis, mixing organic colors and elements with geometric shapes. Since this is the couple’s first home together, the prospect of building a space from scratch truly motivated the team to make their home especially “them.” A year after moving in, the Samira and Adam are loving their home – where they comfortably relax, entertain, and (occasionally) get some work done. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Ashley Batz

Finding Peace & Quiet in California's Noe Valley, Design*Sponge
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Samira and Adam got married last April in Los Angeles. Garlands like this one draped the event space. "The quilt on top of our bed is an African Dogon fabric that we picked up at the [Alameda Point Antiques Faire.] The decorative pillows were also purchased at the [faire] in Oakland."
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"We really wanted to keep our bedroom simple and cozy. You have to walk through our bedroom to get to the the main part of the house, which in turn forces us to make the bed every day and keep it tidy in case guests stop by." The navy, tufted headboard from Target and cozy bedding make this spot perfect for cozying up and unwinding.
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Samira Gagné Ludwin is a designer and the founder of Neon Gold Interiors and Makers Hardware. Adam Ludwin is the co-founder and CEO of a San Francisco-based database company called Chain. He's also an investor and has backed startups such as Vine and Paperless Post.
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"The layout of the apartment is a little strange in that it goes in reverse. That is, the front door opens to a room off the bedroom, then you walk through the bedroom to get to the main part of the house," the couple explains.
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The open kitchen features a Viking stovetop and Miele dishwasher.
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This IKEA island is one of the pair's favorite aspects of their home because it not only provides an abundance of counter space, but it "serves as a nice divider between the kitchen and the living room."
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Lemons from the family's backyard, a whittled spoon by Samira and styling by Adam's sister Ashley Ludwin Birdondo bring a customized touch to this handwritten note.
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The San Francisco home's floor plan.
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The kitchen flows right into the dining area, so simultaneously entertaining and prepping is a breeze.
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The dining room was once an outdoor space, but these renters' landlords enclosed the space to tack on some square footage to the apartment. The marble dining table and Marcel Breuer Cesca chairs were Craigslist finds.
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The dining room also doubles as Samira's workspace. Her desk is perfect for concealing the mess made when she's creating. "Ironically, we've never had a dinner party where we [haven't shown] off the fun tools and treasures inside the work bench!"
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Wax carving and metal work for Makers Hardware keep Samira busy when she's not designing interiors.
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The Noe Valley part of San Francisco, where their home is located, is perfect for Samira. The area gets an abundance of light, so as she works from home she's kept company by the sun's rays. Working isn't the only pastime that the living room facilitates. "We decided not to put a TV in our living room because we wanted it to be a place for us to regroup, read, relax and entertain in," Samira says.
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"The Eames lounge chair was a gift from Adam's parents. The bookshelf is filled with some of our favorite books and trinkets from our travels."
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"I love the vintage look of that Marshall speaker; it looks like an old amp," Samira says. The floor lamp was found while picking at a vintage shop in Palm Springs, CA.
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Samira and Adam fell out of touch after meeting at a conference in Arizona. As fate would have it, 10 years later, they reconnected in NYC. It was during this time that Adam purchased his molded Eames chair. Samira calls this spot the best seat in the house "because it's right next to the bookshelf and because it's got the best view of the living room and kitchen." Lavender is one of the family's favorite colors and scents, so fresh cuts of the flower often decorate the living room. This batch sits in a housewarming gift from a dear friend.
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A Craigslist coffee table holds a terrarium, a bronze hand and a nail sculpture – all made by Samira.
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Samira has wanted a Percival Lafer sofa for as long as she could remember. Luckily for her, one popped up on Craigslist and she snagged it right away. She crafted the hanging artwork that accompanies it herself. The pink shade that covers the walls was an accident. Adam took Samira's "antique white" swatch to the hardware store, but a little mistake was made and the paint turned out more pink than yellowed. Both actually liked the shade so much, they didn't correct the serendipitous mistake.
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19/23
Some people collect shoes, but Samira collects chairs. This black, Michael Thonet seater is one of her favorites. "The door leads to a linen closet and because it was right in the middle of our living room and we really liked the raw look, we decided to decorate it with some of our favorite equestrian-inspired objects. I know the horseshoe is upside down, and some people tend to get a little upset over that, but I really like the way it looks that way."
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20/23
Samira's company Neon Gold Interiors recently overhauled the offices of Los Angeles-based SoulPancake. The young company is focused on creating positive content, so their homebase needed to reflect the "colorful, fun, (and) vibrant" energy of the team. Photography by Samira Gagné Ludwin.
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"The high ceilings, exposed rafters, and polished concrete floors make for a really cool, industrial space, but we wanted to make sure that we kept the place feeling warm and cozy and not too cold and industrial. The dark paint, pops of color, wood accents and warm textiles really made the place feel warm and welcoming," Samira explains. Photography by Samira Gagné Ludwin.
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Benjamin Moore "Soot" offers a great amount of contrast to the brilliant hues of SoulPancake's accessories. The space's furniture is a mixture of IKEA, CB2, Blu Dot and custom-made pieces. Photography by Samira Gagné Ludwin.
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"All the furniture is completely movable and modular in order to keep the space flexible and ever evolving as they grow." Photography by Samira Gagné Ludwin.

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