clock menu more-arrow no yes

Clean Lines and Soft Finishes Update an Empty Nest

Airy blues, warm golds, bold furniture, and graphic accents turn a staid Mediterranean-style interior into a bright new home

A New Beginning

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Starting from scratch may be everyone's decorating fantasy, but most people have to work with what they've got. Take empty-nesters Trish and Tom Rump, who turned to designer Kelly Keiser to update the staid Mediterranean-style interior of their new San Francisco home. Graced with original arched windows, passageways, and niches, the place also came with hardwood floors, an elaborate fireplace, and a remodeled kitchen too new to redo.

Shown: San Francisco interior designer Kelly Keiser helped update this home with pale colors and modern accents.

Lightening Up

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

With their kids grown and on their own, Trish found herself drawn to white rugs and fragile porcelain collectibles. Jettisoning the existing dark finishes and iron sconces and working with some pieces the couple owned, Keiser introduced a pale palette and a smattering of contemporary items, like a chrome lamp and glass-top table, balancing them with soft draperies and cushy pillows. Periwinkle paint helps the pottery pop, and carpet bound into area rugs shows off the refinished oak floors. "The result honors the architectural uniqueness of the place," says Keiser, "while giving it a lighter, more modern feel." One part Mediterranean, you might say, and two parts well-furnished empty nest.

Shown: Dark upholstery piping and drapery trim help wood moldings blend into a lightened-up scheme.

Bold Bouquet

Photo by Alison Rosa

Bronze mums add rich color; plant some to snip yourself.

About $17.50; kingsmums.com

Curvy Legs

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

The Ginger Bowed Leg Table in American gumwood with walnut inlay has neoclassical lines.

About $748; danambrosehome.com

Shapely Vessels

Photo by Alison Rosa

From left: Medium Spiral, $75; jonathanadler com. Färm, $3; ikea.com. Pinch, $78, and Acapulco Diffuser, $68; jonathanadler com. Mini Ceramic Bowling Pin, $8; westelm.com

Light Reflector

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

This beaded mirror was inspired by an antique.

About $295; shadesoflight.com

Graphic Pillow Covers

Photo by Alison Rosa

The navy mandala pattern has yellow embroidery on one side.

About $100 each; kellykeisersplendidinteriors.com

Silver Lamp

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Kenroy Home's Keystone lamp echoes the chrome coffee table.

About $106; csnstores.com

DIY Drapes

Photo by Alison Rosa

Dress up simple curtains with trim.

Peyton Drape, $79 per panel; potterybarn.com. Ivory and black braid, $5.98 per yard; mjtrim.com

Neat and Neutral

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

The kitchen boasts ample workspace and generous cabinets; glass fronts and a wine rack echo the home's vintage windows.

Pop of Color

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Mustard, gold, and egg-yolk yellow accents enliven the miles of taupe.

Sunny Stoneware

Photo by Alison Rosa

Earthenware jars add a welcome dose of color and texture.

About $14 each; potterybarn.com

Smart Spray

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

The Fairbury chrome pull-down faucet makes cleanup a cinch.

About $108; homedepot.com

Stylish Storage

Photo by Alison Rosa

The lids on these porcelain canisters are ringed with rubber to keep dry goods extra fresh.

About $9-$13; crateandbarrel.com

Golden Whip

Photo by Alison Rosa

Parked on the countertop, this classic stand mixer delivers a round-the-clock dose of sunny color.

About $300; shopkitchenaid.com

Woven Mat

Photo by Alison Rosa

Soft shades on a patterned rug add warmth underfoot.

About $25; harvesthomestores.com

Fun Fabric

Photo by Alison Rosa

Gold and cream polka dots cheer up kitchen seating.

About $159 per yard; kravet.com

Elaborate Cabinetry

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Painted and glazed doors with detailed raised panels dress up the work zone.

Custom colored door, starting at about $125; plainfancy.com

Cooking Tools

Photo by Alison Rosa

Spatulas and pastry brushes double as color accents.

About $9-$14; surlatable.com

French Oven

Photo by Alison Rosa

A black knob and yellow enamel lend a classic look to Le Creuset cast iron.

About $270; cooking.com

Pop of Pattern

Photo by Alison Rosa

Gold-and-green towels make dish drying a little brighter.

About $18; williams-sonoma.com

Day Dreaming

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Rich golds, ethereal blues, and acres of white create a dreamy bedroom scene while a graphic black-iron bed keeps the bedroom grounded.

Light Diffuser

Photo by Alison Rosa

Embroidered linen gives these pale blue Olivia panels a pleasing drape.

About $304 each; bellanottelinens.com

Plush Pillows

Photo by Alison Rosa

Flax, gold, and dusty-blue cushion covers enliven the room with color and pattern. Bloom, Jute Braid, and Alessandra Floral, $29-$39 each; potterybarn.com

Looking Glass

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

The Chelsea Round Mirror echoes the room's trimwork.

About $149; pbteen.com

Luxe Coverlet

Photo by Alison Rosa

The textured polysilk Lexington Quilt picks up the palette's golden tones.

About $139; westlem.com

Sound Sleeper

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

The Cottage Iron Bed has a bow front and finial-topped posts.

About $599; llbean.com

Sage and Lavender Bath

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Sage-green tile and lavender-gray walls make for a soothing scheme in a streamlined bath.

Up Lighting

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

The Boston Square Sconce gives off a flattering glow.

About $210; circalighting.com

Arc Faucet

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Delta's Leland spout has an updated traditional look.

About $237; homedepot.com

Tub Tile

Photo by Alison Rosa

Laid in a brick pattern, rectangles of sage-green glass create a soothing surround.

About $45 per square foot; annsacks.com

Stowaway Zone

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

The Cartwright wall-hung medicine cabinet boosts bath storage.

About $229; restorationhardware.com

Classic Basin

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

American Standard's Town Square Pedestal sink has graceful lines and an airy look.

About $364; homedepot.com

Splash Guard

Photo by Alison Gutmaker

The Italian Hotel Satin Stitch Shower Curtain's tailored trim won't fade or bleed.

About $79; restorationhardware.com