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gentry home

January 2013: A Study in BLUE & WHITE

Designer Emily Taylor crafts a crisp, modern residence in Pacific Heights for her own family.

“The marvelous design books of Mariette Himes Gomez served as my go-to sources while decorating this house,” says Emily Taylor, an award-winning designer known for her crisp designs and remarkable ability to mix bold and contemporary art with traditional pieces. For nearly 15 years, her home base was Hillsborough. “We raised our daughters there and then they went off to boarding school, so my husband and I were empty-nesters in a big old house.” That is until Taylor’s husband spotted a fixer-upper in Pacific Heights. “I saw pictures of it and didn’t want to bother seeing it in person. It was so awful,” she recalls. A friend convinced her that the location was wonderful and worth a look. If anyone could give it the makeover it so desperately needed, it was Taylor.

A woman of great vision, she decided to take the project on with her trademark efficiency. “Mariette’s books on New York apartments and townhouses convinced me that I could take risks and let go of traditional ideas, like the need for separate hallways. If you’re living in a house that’s as narrow as this one, your rooms need to act as hallways,” she stresses. Taylor started from scratch, gutting the entire house. “I wanted to keep lines of sight open, so that you see through spaces to the windows and garden beyond,” says Taylor. “It ultimately makes it feel bigger and gives the home a sense of grandeur that was lacking in the original floor plan.”

She designed custom pieces of furniture to fit with the home’s scale as well and used a sophisticated color scheme of blue and white with touches of gold and taupe. “I love blue. It’s my favorite color,” notes Taylor. “I really wanted a blue kitchen, but the only way to do it was to add a skylight.” To balance the deep blue lacquered kitchen cabinets, Taylor added a sense of whimsy with Lori Weitzner’s “Newsworthy” wallpaper made from recycled bits of newspapers. “My husband is the fourth generation of a newspaper publishing family. When I first saw this paper, I knew I had to use it somewhere!”

Personal touches like this elevate Taylor’s design and make this elegant house a home.

Read the entire Gentry Home article online here.