Homepolish designer Margo Nathanson updates a young couple’s stunning Spanish/Mediterranean-style home tucked away in the hills of Berkeley.
Photos by Sedona Turbeville
When a young married couple buys their first home, there is a sense of excitement for what the future holds. Excitement, and sometimes fear. But Anthony and Gillian Flum had no reason to fret, after calling in Homepolish designer Margo Nathanson. Her goal: to give this Cali couple a new home base in the hills.
“The home is in this beautiful setting and features gorgeous interior details like pitched, wood-clad and beamed ceilings,” Margo gushed. “It felt completely natural to make the colors and elements an extension of the home itself. Implementing bright oranges, pinks, and adding mixed metals worked well with the existing finishes and provided an air of excitement to the neutral foundation.”
The natural palette was a perfect fit for the couple. The relaxed pair embody the quintessential California spirit, and Margo wanted the home to reflect that warmth.
“Using more neutral colors in the foundational pieces; light gray, ivory, and the neutral warm tones of the leather and wood allowed for bolder pops with the rug pillows and art,” explains Margo.
Pairing those gorgeously earthy hues with the rich, tan woods amped up the inviting atmosphere—which works perfectly for the husband and wife who love to host.
For Margo, it was about striking a soft balance between bright, bohemian, and rustic. To help the couple’s pleasant personalities shine through in the design, she kept the foundation relatively straightforward.
“By using a minimal amount of furniture, the design stayed clean, highlighting each piece for its individual personality,” Margo explained. “Finishing it off with soft details helped create a linear foundation that was informed by the architecture.”
The minimal approach gave the couple’s accents space to shine. Both Gillian and her husband share a zest for life and travel–Gillian once travelled overseas to take place in the World Masters Water Polo tournament in Budapest, Hungary.
“It brings me so much pleasure to see the reaction when I rework and rearrange a client’s personal things,” Margo says. “For them to see their things styled in their home from someone else’s perspective refreshes the sentimental attachment. I get lots of joy remixing in the beloved trinkets and heirlooms into the final design; it’s what tells their personal story and makes each project unique.”
The design is clean, but that doesn’t mean that the process was cut-and-dry. A narrow bedroom necessitated some custom touches.
“Trying to find nightstands under one foot wide that could fit into the nook beside the king size bed was a challenge,” Margo explains. “I ended up designing those myself because there was nothing out there that we liked and I didn’t want to compromise the design.”
To give the bedroom the final touch of individuality that it needed, she opted for two much-beloved wedding shots. (We would too if our wedding photos also showcased stunning vistas in Costa Rica). But Margo made sure the photos were worthy of the place of honor.
“I helped Gillian choose two photos that expressed different moods; one that expresses their love of life, and one that represented a quiet moment with just the two of them,” she explained.
In the end, the home feels effortless and energetic, just like the couple itself. Even the finishing touches naturally fell into place, with Margo working to ensure everything was in its right place.
“She had a lot to style with already, so I looked to keep the space balanced, mixing ceramics with metal and wood, and not overdoing it,” Margo explains. “Some of the pieces she had around the house were literally gems waiting to be put onstage.”