Sea Cliff Preppy Contemporary

Though her work in real estate had brought her to countless Bay Area homes, our client knew something was different when she toured this 1920s fixer-upper in San Francisco’s Sea Cliff neighborhood.

Drawn to the elegant curve of the entry staircase and the traditional moldings throughout the ground floor, she saw a space that was brimming with potential.

She and her husband purchased the house and embarked on a full-scale renovation, seeking to blend her preppy aesthetic and his love of modern design.

Through the process, RBD helped them find a cohesive balance between their style preferences, creating a sophisticated, contemporary residence for their family of four.

RBD Team & Collaborators

Amy McKenzie

Senior Designer

Robert Stiles Architecture


Jeff Fitzsimmons



In the living room, we took a tone-on-tone approach, painting one accent wall and all of its traditional trim in a single color: a dramatic, deep, navy blue. We reupholstered the room’s existing vintage sofa in a dark blue fabric to continue the monochrome effect. To infuse this classic room with a modern edge, we refreshed two Lady armchairs by Marco Zanuso in a vivid red-orange fabric from Hermès.

Selected Press

Luxe Magazine

June 2019

Playful Shades

 In the family room, we updated an existing Wink chair with new upholstery in a playful shade of yellow. Paired with a plush, bright blue rug, it brings the space an upbeat, modern feel that perfectly balances the classic crown moldings and linen sectional.

In the details

Heirlooms and antique furnishings were placed throughout the home alongside more contemporary design choices that keeps these spaces feeling fresh and bright. Just off the entry, a glass-front armoire stands in an airy corner, filled with porcelain pieces and surrounded by a gallery of family portraits. We gave this piece a modern twist by replacing its existing felt lining with a more lush and unexpected black velvet.

In the entry, a neoclassical pedestal table makes a dramatic impression in a light-filled alcove to the right of the staircase. The lighter wood finishes, white walls, and minimal styling throughout the rest of the space bring a perfect balance of old and new.

Suzanna Scott Photography