Q&A: Caitlin Flemming

Q&A: Caitlin Flemming
(The designer (above left) and a layered bright white desk in a Jordan Park private residence in San Francisco. Photos by Bess Friday and Emily Johnston) 
Name: Caitlin Flemming
: Interior designer, stylist, and founder of lifestyle blog Sacramento Street
Resides in
: San Francisco
Best known for
: Reinventing the white-on-white-on-wood formula again and again for clean, bright interiors with a breath of fresh air about them, and winning over countless design-loving hearts and minds (including Gwyneth Paltrow's) with her addictive blog. 

1. Antique or modern?

I definitely favor a mix. There is nothing more lovely than a room with collected pieces that have stood the test of time next to more modern selections.  

2. City or country?
I love to escape to the country for a weekend, but I am definitely a city girl at heart.  Having been brought up in Mexico City, I enjoy cities that have neighborhoods that are almost like small villages. [I disagree] with those who say cities are anonymous. 
3. Which colors do you use the most?
Neutrals; blue, tan, white, gray.
4. Favorite materials or textures?
Since I favor neutral colors, it’s essential for me to have an abundance of texture in my design: Moroccan rugs, zinc counters, and seagrass rugs, along with natural elements such as flowers and branches from the garden and fiddle leaf trees.

Q&A: Caitlin Flemming
(A white-washed Baroque-inspired oversized mirror adds a romantic touch to a sitting room in a Jordan Park home in SF; a muted, neutrals-washed living room in a Bay Area studio apartment. Photos by Emily Johnston and Bess Friday)
5. What is your favorite interior design-related word?

6. Does your current home look like the one you grew up in?
There are definitely threads of similarity.  I learned the value of a collected home from my mother. I don’t like to choose everything for a room at once—it’s nice to have pieces from different times in your life. 

7. Does a room need a view?
It’s an added bonus to have a spectacular view but not everyone can be that fortunate.  More important to me is the amount of natural light in a room.
8. Favorite designer or architect?
Darryl Carter.  I like his clean lines, use of antiques as well as modern furniture, and neutral palette.
 Q&A: Caitlin Flemming
(White china and antique books add interest to a dark wood display shelving scheme. Photo by Emily Johnston)
9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
From the US I enjoy Elle Décor, The New York Times, and Domino. I also devour Australian and UK editions—especially Elle Décoration UK and Vogue Living Australia.

10. What qualities do you most admire in a room?
For me, the most important feature in a room is its overall bones and architectural details. I love high ceilings, plenty of natural light, beautiful moldings, and hardwood floors.

11. What is a forbidden word in your house?
I can’t repeat the word that will cost you a quarter in our house, so I will say accent wall—I prefer things that don't look too contrived.

12. Design rule you would love to break?
Symmetry.  While in many cases it’s a good thing, if you only do everything symmetrically, it becomes a dull and uninteresting home.

13. What is your most treasured possession?
The antique Oushak rug in my bedroom—it has the perfect faded blue floral pattern. What makes it such a treasure is that I bought it while I was still in college and I had to eat ramen noodles for months to afford it. Definitely worth the sacrifice.

Q&A: Caitlin Flemming
(Chinoiserie vases and geometric vessels bring a quiet corner to life. Photo by Michelle Drewes)
14. What do you wish you could do without?
My iPhone. Sometimes it would be nice to be disconnected from it all!

15. What is your favorite thing about the West Coast—design-related or otherwise?
In San Francisco, I love how close we are to a multitude of beautiful natural areas. I live only a mile from the ocean and have the redwoods within a short drive.  The natural world definitely informs my design perspective.

16. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be?
Pablo Picasso’s home in Mougins, France. Living there would provide enough inspiration for a lifetime.

17. On what movie set would you like to live?
Any of the scenes in I Am Love, the Italian film by director Luca Guadagnino. It has the most beautiful settings, clothing, and people.

18. To which city or country would you move for the design?
Istanbul, Turkey.  I love the food, the neighborhoods, and the design inspiration.  There is such a mix of cultures converging there and the visual stimulation is breathtaking. 

19. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be?
A comfortable chair covered in a Madeline Weinrib ikat. I would win the affection of anyone who sat in me.

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