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Welcome to my blog, a place I casually share my thoughts and ramblings about architecture, design, and life.

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Winter White

Posted by Lisa Furtado on December 8, 2016 at 9:25 PM

I love living vicariously through my clients. We all know this could never happen in my house of chocolate faces, pomogranite stained fingers and indoor football. But, I had so much fun creating this crisp but cozy living room for my clients to entertain or curl up with a good book by the fire. The transformation is pretty dramatic. In their defence, this was a room in transition waiting for a little love (hence the myriad of lamps and things in the before photo). They wanted a contemporary look with a neutral palette so we layered plenty of texture, various sheens, and a range of warm greys to create an elegant but dreamy feel. Their Christmas tree found a happy home in the corner by the windows making this room officially a winter wonderland.



Color Crush: Mint

Posted by Lisa Furtado on September 13, 2016 at 9:00 PM

Mint is a color I have loved since childhood...although my associations of the color may have changed from mint-chip to mojitos. It's a color that is feels clean and refreshing yet claming and serene. It has been trending in the world of interiors for a couple years but showed up on the catwalk not long before that. Is your home ready to be in mint condition?

Open and Airy Great Room

Posted by Lisa Furtado on July 12, 2016 at 11:20 PM
This open-concept living space was transformed into a family friendly great-room with ample seating to entertain and plenty of comfort to lounge. My clients wanted to add color while incorporating their amazing collection of Mayan artifacts. We added wall-to-wall builtin storage that ties in the kitchen cabinetry, a conversation style leather sectional, swivel rocking chairs (not your grandfather's rocker) and a few stools to kick up your feet or be used as an extra seat. The large, durable rug anchors the furniture so that it doesn't feel like it's floating in space. Their beautiful coffered ceilings and sliding French doors were the perfect backdrop for this open and airy design. 



Before photos

Girls Just Wanna...

Posted by Lisa Furtado on January 15, 2016 at 2:00 AM


With the new year came a new study/lounge space for these lucky sisters. I have to admit, I'm a little obsessed with this room. Sure, I designed it. But, my 10 year-old self is insanely jealous. I mean, I would have given my oldest brother for a room like this (OK, maybe that wouldn't have been much of a safcrifice so let's just say a kidney). 

I didn't have a television of my own growing up and besides, we only got Channels 8 and 11 (and sometimes 2 when my dad would hold the antenna just right). And we lived much too far out in the country for my girlfriends to just pop over for an episode of Different Strokes or Silver Spoons. So, yes, at 10, I would have freaked over having "the cool place to hang".

The girls outgrew their carpeted playroom that housed their old blocks, games and toys. It was time for an upgrade to a functional, age appropriate space that was youthful yet feminine and had enough sophistication to last them the next several years. The family needed this space to function as a study area and a loungy tween (and soon teen) hangout.

The main design challenge of the room was its shape. The family dubbed it the "bowling alley" for its long, narrow configuration. There are sliding doors and windows across the entire length of one wall and doorways on two others. That left one unobstructed wall to work with and it needed to serve multiple functions. We decided on a large built-in piece with desks and a media cabinet. We wanted to give each girl her own study space equiped with plenty of storage for books, laptops, and whatever gadgets and gizmos that may come their way in their high-tech futures. Since this was going to be such a large piece, I designed it to be lifted off the floor on legs like a piece of furniture rather than a traditional built-in that sits flush to the ground. I added a decorative cutout profile that gives maximum visual space through the room. These two features help to lighten what might have been a heavy, overbearing piece. 

The inspiration for the color palate was the beautifully vibrant Madeline Weinrib rug. I used a combination of custom and store-bought pillows that married the fuscia and persimmon (well, doesn't that sound so much more refined than orange?) in the rug.  Then, we added a few splashes of pale blue and yellow in the mix. The colors really popped against the navy sofa.

Unanimously the favorite piece in the room is the hanging ratan chair. It's the perfect reading nook to cuddle up and day dream. If only there were room for two. New rule: the one who finishes her homework first gets the chair. So, study hard girls. Then, put your feet up. And please, keep the boys out (your dad made me say that).








Pretty Plum Job

Posted by Lisa Furtado on November 3, 2015 at 11:40 PM

I love to look back to where my projects began. It's true, I'm a sucker for a dramatic "before and after". I promise, I don't stage the "before" photos to look dark or cluttered. It's just how I see them when I arrive at my clients' homes for the first time (fair warning!). And yes, I've been given permission to publish the "before" pictures. Of course, the "after" photos are taken by professionals and the beds are made and fussed over by me (not thrown together at 7 a.m. like most of us do before running out the door). And if you are anything like me, it's a rare day that the beds even get that modest treatment. In any case, the before/after shots are often very impactful and tell the story of the design journey.

This particular bedroom was a lot of fun to work on. My client complained that it was dark and dreary and the walls were caving in. Without moving any walls or raising the ceiling, we were able to achieve quite a change in the visual size of the room. We lightened the room up with paint and changed the vertical beam from the wall color to the ceiling color so that your eye is not drawn to it. We took down the dark blinds and added custom silk blackout roman shades mounted over solar roller shades. The solar shades work to control the bright sun and achieve the necessary privacy, while taking advantage of the great natural light. 

We replaced the dark, large scale furniture adding a custom, tufted headboard, contemporary walnut nightstands, and built-in cabinetry. The built-in unit includes custom "his and hers" dressers with beautiful walnut tops and a comfy window seat. Ceiling mounted chandeliers were added above each of the dresser vanities. The gorgeous plum in the bedding and custom pillows were placed throughout the space to add warmth and a nice, bright splash of color, which contrasts well with the soothing blue/grey tones. There are hints of metallic in the rug and a few pillows that give the room a little kick. 

The objectives of this room were met. We raised the roof (without actually raising the roof) and created a serene and restful retreat for my clients. They can now sleep peacefully....on those coveted nights that their kids and dog don't end up in their bed.





ASID Design Excellence Awards

Posted by Lisa Furtado on October 16, 2015 at 4:45 PM

I am honored to have been recognized as a first place winner at the ASID North Design Excellent Awards Gala last night with. It was a fun night with a lot of well-dressed and talented people and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee as the guest speaker!

Pirate Pink

Posted by Lisa Furtado on September 16, 2015 at 6:35 PM

I don't go all out for every birthday. Especially condsidering our "birthday season" includes my husband and three kids' birthdays within 45 days. But, when your soon to be 4 year old asks for a pink tea party with (cue the influence of two older brothers) pirates, swords and skeletons, I'm all over it. With a little help from Etsy (dress by Prima Fashions), an instructional YouTube video to make balloon swords, a couple trips to Michaels, and halloween decorations from the garage, we rocked a Pink Pirate Party "like a boss" (as my 9 year old son would say).




Welcome Home

Posted by Lisa Furtado on August 24, 2015 at 12:00 AM

Photo Credit: Emily Henderson Design/ Photography by Melisa Ohlendt

Have you ever walked into a home and suddenly felt at ease? It’s as if the fog has cleared and you are gracefully greeted with a certain comfort, a feeling of calm and a sense of order. You can’t quite pinpoint why the home is so welcoming.

You are unable to identify that one thing that makes this home feel right because there are many factors that contribute. It may seem effortless but a home that provokes these feelings is anything but. A thoughtfully designed home is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your family but it isn’t always simple and it doesn’t happen overnight.

A home can be stylish and homey regardless of the design style. Whether it is traditional, modern, or something in between, homes that exude that certain welcoming factor all have a few things in common.

1. No harsh transitions. Whether we are talking about flooring or walls, if the material is not consistent throughout the home, the transitions should be as seamless as possible to create a nice flow from room to room.


2. Proper space planning. The ability to navigate a room at ease is key in creating a comfortable, functional and beautiful space.


3. Negative space. Spaces that are the most aesthetically soothing tend not to be filled from wall to wall. Those open areas between furnishings and artwork are just as important as the décor itself. When executed correctly, the empty space brings a sense of calmness and prevents a home from feeling cluttered or overwhelming.


4. Layered texture. Regardless of the color palette of your home, layering texture provides depth and dimension and often makes a space feel bigger and more inviting.


5. Personal. A home should be a reflection of the people that live there, not their designer. Good design keeps the homeowners lifestyle and personalities in mind. A personal touch that tells your family’s story is part of making a house a home.


6. Well Lit. Good lighting immediately makes a home feel more comforting. Having soft lighting at various heights makes it feel warm and cozy (regardless of the temperature).


7. Collected. Finding harmony in both vintage and new pieces creates a fresh, timeless space that is interesting and engaging and makes you want to stay a while. Vintage furnishings and decor, especially if they are passed down, give your home roots that create character and intrigue.

Homes that feel instantly warm and inviting don’t typically happen by chance. But, the most important factor to making your house a home is to spend time in it with the people you love. Laugh, cry, and make memories in it. Because, chances are, you won’t look back and remember your home because of the excellent lighting or the proper use of negative space. But, you will remember the first time you brought your baby home, and the day the puppy destroyed the carpet, and all the little moments that stick out in your mind when you think home.

This sofa will always remind me of the first days we gathered on it as a family of 5.


Boy oh Boy

Posted by Lisa Furtado on July 20, 2015 at 1:40 PM

I may know a thing or two about little boys. Aside from having a couple of my own, I grew up amongst brothers and a small army of male cousins. So when I'm asked to design boys rooms, I feel right at home. Here are a few of my tips for designing boys spaces that work hard and play hard.

1. Skip the theme. I get it. Your little one l-o-v-e-s Thomas the Train. Trust me, this too shall pass. If he is in to trains, find a great graphic print of one or a vintage train crossing sign. Even when Thomas is but a distant memory, he will appreciate the nod to the classic locomotive without having his 10 year old buddies humming the Thomas tune in jest.

2. Play with pattern. Some people make the mistake of assuming all pattern is feminine. Truth is, there are plenty of prints that can add visual interest to bedding and window coverings while keeping a boyish or gender neutral aesthetic.

​3. Add a little life.​ Encourage your child to care for a low maintenance plant such as a succulent in his room. They add a healthy dose of oxygen while teaching a bit of responsibility (less commitment than a fish!).



My Little Kitchen Aid

Posted by Lisa Furtado on June 22, 2015 at 8:00 PM

I was honored to have the beautiful and talented photographer of Tenley Clark Photography to my home last week. She was here to take a few shots of my kitchen. But let's be honest, kitchens are much more interesting with cute 3 year olds in them. So, we did what Delaney likes to do best in the kitchen....made cupcakes! She ate more batter than cake as usual but isn't that half the fun? It turned out to be a fun shoot with a lot of  laughs and some yummy cupcakes.


The Lost Art of Hand Rendering

Posted by Lisa Furtado on May 10, 2015 at 12:10 AM

There was a time when designers and architects communicated design ideas exclusevely by hand. Technology has become so impressive that even the most artistic proffesionals have leaned heavily on computers and many have given up pen and paper. There is no doubt that programs such as Auto CAD have revolutionized the design world and made it possible to communicate design concepts in a fraction of the time as hand drawings, and typically more precisely. 

But, there is definitely something to be said for hand sketching a design. Although I don't hand render every design concept, I do occasionally sit down to "color", as my kids call it. The process doesn't always flow naturally but the end result is usually more personal and rewarding than those that come out of my printer. Here are a few of my recent sketches.