A Japanese Inspired Apartment by Erin Roberts

  • Striking the balance between warmth and minimalism as a designer is no easy feat, so we applaud interior designer and stylist Erin Roberts for delivering an effortlessly explored and executed ‘Japanese-meets-Scandinavian’ harmony inside this San Francisco apartment.

    Located in a downtown high-rise block on San Francisco’s famous Market Street, this four bedroom apartment belonging to a Founder & CEO of a tech company, has been transformed by interior designer and stylist Erin Roberts. The original architecture of this luxurious home boasted high ceilings, herringbone floors and huge windows in every room overlooking downtown San Francisco. It’s the kind of canvas that dreams are made of. Rather than letting the grandeur of the space dominate the design aesthetic, Roberts instead turned to Japanese minimalism to craft a modern, warm and considered identity for this tech start up’s new home.

    A generous layout, comprised of a foyer, four bedrooms, kitchen, breakfast room, dining room, office, living room and four bathrooms, provided Roberts with ample opportunity to imbue the apartment with a sense of space, light and composure. However, the challenge lay in combining the owner’s love of entertaining with the need for a serene home – that is inevitably influenced by sweeping vistas over San Francisco.

    Responding to this, Roberts kept furniture low and timber tones light, creating a simple, clean framework that nods to a timeless, simple design. Inspired by the idea of making a chair based on the most simple and elegant shape of all; the Circle Chair by Hans Wegner sets the tone in the bedroom.

    “The challenge lay in combining the owner’s love of entertaining in all its forms with the need for a serene home that is inevitably dominated by sweeping vistas over one of the world’s most beautiful cities.”

    -Designer Erin Roberts

    The open living space also evokes a Japanese influence. Roberts customised a pair of loveseats by switching out their legs for a custom white oak platform base, adding matching side tables for a built-in look that was low to the ground and without traditional chairs. Mimicking the simplicity and practicality of a Japanese home, the result is a set of six separate pieces that allow for flexibility through re-arrangement and layout. Other minimalist pieces include the 524 Tabouret Berger Stool designed by Charlotte Perriand for Cassina and artist Bobby Clark’s print on the wall.

    Chandeliers were replaced with geometrically-shaped light fittings including a Japanese Noguchi Akari paper lantern in the foyer, and a Sarfatti Model No. 2065 Ceiling Light by Flos in the dining room. Custom upholstered seat cushions along window benches that hug the living room’s 180-degree views ensure guests take full advantage of the layout, while organic elements such as dried leaves and an olive tree are grounding reference points as well as textural highlights.

    Taking cues from Ikebana – the Japanese art form of flower arrangement – Roberts has used a curatorial approach in selecting design details, which diffuses the space with stillness and serenity. Artfully arranged, but unpretentious in its composition, this luxe home is proof of a mantra we hold dear: less is more.

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