A few weeks ago, I spent a long day with Susan Diana Harris, a San Francisco-based interior designer known for her bold use of color. Where anyone else might think ‘accent color’, Susie thinks ‘primary’. The colors become as important a factor in the space as the architecture itself. In this Noe Valley residence, she was involved in nearly every aspect of the house.
Needless to say, this was a fun and challenging project for me. Having shot my fair share of beige-on-beige interiors, I’m always glad to get some powerful material in front of my camera, and this place didn’t disappoint.
A blue runner leads all the way from the front door to the back door, providing a continuous thread past alternating, vibrant, blue and green rooms. Susie designed custom shelving for the living room (above) that extends beyond the crown molding; that’s echoed in the coffee table, also custom-designed, in the family room (see lead photo).
Even the art on the walls follows the plan – in addition to being color-correct, it’s really interesting stuff. The “painting” above, and the one above the sectional sofa in the family room, are not actually paintings at all, but photographs, done by my friend Klaus Lange. Klaus, in addition to being a photographer, is a chef aboard a San Francisco Pilot Boat. I met Klaus several years ago when I was stringing for local newspapers and was assigned a story about him. When he’s not cooking Jamaican Jerk Fish Tacos for the lucky crew, random harbor pilots, and Sea Marshalls that rotate through his boat, Klaus photographs the wonderfully complex sides of the freighters as they pull alongside for the crew transfer. His work is simply amazing!
The dining room features glass artwork by Sabine Zimmerhansl. Susie doubled down on the blue runner to maneuver through the offset door leading to the kitchen and rear door, which only helps accentuate the lines in this room.
Here in the kitchen, the transition to the outdoors begins. The hanging light fixture appears again, on the deck directly behind the camera position. But before we go out there, notice the custom cabinetry handles, which match the stove. Details!
We loved the way the daylight streaming in from upper right creates a comet tail for the angular pendant light! Notice how the color scheme extends even out here, and blends into the surrounding garden. I’m hoping to have more from Susan in the near future!