East Bay Interior Design Trends

Top interior design influencers seeing a move away from hyper minimalism toward dramatic, lush interiors full of moody colors and oversized patterns.


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Lane McNab likes "dry" paints for richer, harmonious color coordination throughout the interior palette.

Photo by David Duncan Livingston

If 2019 is the year you’re planning on refreshing your interiors, you picked a good one. We spoke to some of the East Bay’s top interior design influencers who are seeing a move away from hyper minimalism toward dramatic, lush interiors full of moody colors and oversized patterns. They shared their insights into this year’s au courant home design trends.

No More All-White Everything

Berkeley’s Lane McNab is renowned for her holistic approach to creating luxurious yet livable interiors and is sought by local architects and builders for her artistic re-interpretations of mid-century and craftsman-style home interiors.

“All-white everything is on the wane,” interior designer McNab said. “I’m also seeing a turn away from minimalism to a maxed-out approach with saturated colors and cleaner lines, along with darker wood tones like deep walnuts, dark oaks, and finished cherries, although not in red tones, with minimal grain.”

“For both light and dark walls, I’m specifying ‘dry paint,’” McNab said. “These are super-pigmented paints made by a few specialty manufacturers that provide better color matching throughout the palette. Dry paints contain more pigment of ‘all’ the colors that make up the shade. For example, if I’m using an off-white paint, all the accent pieces and furnishings containing that color are accentuated.

“It’s very subtle, but the difference is noticeable when compared to normally tinted paints. It adds another layer, and depth, to a room by creating harmony and a warmer, richer experience throughout the home,” McNab said. “I love working with it.”

Lane McNab Interiors, 740 Gilman St., Berkeley, 510-204-9363, LaneMcNab.com.

Photos by Lauren Edith Anderson

Bold, Not Busy, Is In

Emeryville’s Carolyn Rebuffel Flannery of Workroom C is highly regarded throughout the Bay Area for her bold, thoughtful — and, yes, kid-friendly — approach to interiors. Rebuffel’s work utilizes Workroom C’s own line of bespoke textiles and soft goods in many of her projects.

“You know something’s ‘on trend’ when none of your suppliers have it in stock,” said Rebuffel Flannery. “This year, it’s matte black finishes for plumbing fixtures, door hardware, and even appliances. It adds an edgy freshness and sublime contrast to white cabinets and bathrooms.

 “We’re also seeing a turn away from the neutral interiors of the mid-century movement,” Rebuffel Flannery said. “Gratefully, my clients are open to experimenting with paint since it’s easier to change a wall color than replace a tile wall.

 “I’m using moody, saturated colors, like indigo blue and deep, velvety grays to add depth and drama to my client’s homes. These rich, saturated colors add an unexpected pop,” Rebuffel Flannery said, “especially between two bright white rooms.”

Along with the liberal use of dark colors throughout the home, Rebuffel Flannery is using oversized floral wallpaper patterns — a la Dutch Masters — from textiles designer Ellie Cashman Design.

“With their intensely saturated colors and exaggerated prints, these wallpapers are truly dramatic, adding an almost abstract element to any room. I’m using them in unexpected places like ceilings to great effect.”

Workroom C by Carolyn Rebuffel Flannery, 4040C Harlan St., Emeryville, 415-235-0674, WorkroomC.com.

Photo of Carolyn Rebuffel Flannery by Lily Dong; wallpaper courtesy Ellie Cashman Designs; bathroom fixtures courtesy of HDR Remodeling

Victorian Ins and Outs 

Alameda can thank Lisa Cannelora of Cucina di Cannelora for preserving the Victorian ethos of many of the island’s fabled homes for over 20 years. Formerly a professional chef, Cannelora is famed for her purposeful kitchen design (borne from years of experience) and is in demand for her thoughtful re-interpretations of Alameda’s storied Victorians.

“When it comes to updating Victorian homes, I stay true to the architectural language and modernize with color, finishes, and texture,” Cannelora said.

“People are opening walls in their Vics to better integrate the kitchen and dining areas, traditionally separate rooms,” she said. “I unify these spaces by maintaining the period molding and trim then modernize with updated finishes and materials that complement the home.”

Always in search of period-perfect pieces,‚Äč Cannelora frequents the Alameda Point Antiques Faire and relies upon several local suppliers, including Berkeley’s Classic Illumination Studio and Ohmega Too to keep her supplied in reclaimed Victorian artifacts like vintage lighting, chandeliers, and surface mounted sconces that exemplify the epoch.

Unlike her East Bay counterparts, Cannelora is seeing a trend away from the traditional dark interiors and the “Painted Lady” past of Alameda’s Victorian homes toward lighter walls, neutral colors, and simplified patterns.

“My clients respect the architecture language of the period and appreciate the modernized context,” Cannelora said. “But dark walls and fussy wallpaper are out.”

Cucina di Cannelora, 1918 Broadway, Alameda, 510-523-3202, CucinadiCannelora.com.

Photos by Ramona d'Viola

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