A Designer's Family-Friendly Home in San Francisco
Children's clothing designer Emily Meyer combines family, modernity, and creativity in a culturally rich Craftsman residence
If there are two things Emily Meyer knows, it’s kids and travel. The co-founder and chief creative officer of Tea Collection—a fashion-forward line of children’s clothing with a globally minded aesthetic—has spent decades combing the earth for the cultural equivalents of American onesies and jumpers, from Asian-style wrap shirts to Scandi-mod tunics. So it makes sense that the designer’s home in the suburbs of San Francisco would not only share her worldly—and kid-friendly—focus, but also expand upon it. Click here to see more images from Emily Meyer's Palo Alto home.
"I loved the bones of this house so much, and I knew the quickest way to put our stamp on it was to bring on the color," says Meyer, who moved into a 1908 California Craftsman in the spring of 2010, with her husband, Cisco Systems executive Hilton Romanski, and their two-year-old son, Clement. Just two weeks before their daughter was born, they bravely tackled the nursery first. To add a sophisticated yet girly element Georgia wouldn’t quickly outgrow, Meyer turned to a rainbow of graphic throw pillows, plus Nina Campbell's playful Perroquet wallpaper and a mint-green ceiling that pops against its painterly palette. "I love the stories that print and pattern tell in fashion," she says. “In designing a home, wallpaper fills that role."
Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in the master bedroom, where paper and fabric tell a story in keeping with the home's multicultural leanings. Here, Osborne & Little's Palais Chinois wallpaper is juxtaposed with a dark pink medallion coverlet from West Africa. Other textiles culled from Meyer's excursions abroad help blur boundaries throughout the rest of the house, from the Turkish ikat pillows in the living room to the Indian plaid Kantha quilt in Clement's bedroom, a perfect companion to a vintage pre-war world map.
The citron-hued sunroom reveals more of the artful treasures her kids have learned to admire: an antique Indian elephant saddle used as a coffee table, a sake barrel repurposed as a planter. "I've always collected tea pots and canisters everywhere I've gone," Meyer says of the eclectic objects that pepper the house. "Hilton's mother brings us many extraordinary things," she says, including the room's big Buddha statue. "He is a protector and watches over us, guarding the most used entrance in the house."
Noting the surplus of instruments, Meyer credits her husband for the musical and culinary elements of the household. “I’m very much the sous chef,” she laughs. But the interiors are entirely hers, the embodiment of every ounce of jubilance and inclusivity as the company she helps guide each day. "The brand is the culmination of my life experience fused with a desire to make the foreign familiar and bring beauty and creativity into the everyday world of children." Whether at home or in the workplace, that story rings true. With any luck, it's one she'll keep weaving for the next generation.
TIPS FROM THIS HOME TOUR
Emily Meyer shares her tips on maintaining a stylish home that's also comfortable for kids.
1. Pile on the pigments. "I've always been drawn to saturated colors, the drama that happens when bright light shines through dark rooms," Meyer says. She employs vivid hues to contrast that moody effect, as with the radiant yellow wall treatment in the sun room.
2. Relax your definition of art. Meyer and Romanski's kids create paper crafts that adorn windows and are encouraged to splash paint across the basement's blank wall. "Anyone who visits our home comments on the warmth right away," Meyer explains. "It's artful, but there's also an ease in how we treat everything."
3. Embrace the ephemeral. Meyer doesn't get too hung up on the idea of permanence. Her makeshift decor includes a branch adorned with tassels from New York-based Confetti System in her bedroom; in the dining room, an IKEA drum pendant is wrapped in a scan of her favorite scarf and a tablecloth is made of pleated paper.