A Coastal Organic Living Room

How do you design an understated room that entices?

Anchor the space with captivating, sculptural shapes. Layer in calming, neutral tones and natural textures, and pepper with shots of color. That’s how San Francisco Designer Will Wick crafted this living room for a Presidio Heights family.

Presidio Heights Living Room Fireplace with Teak Splay

Presidio Heights- Living Room Across Fireplace

“The first couple of pieces…purchased to start the design were Wassily chairs and Chista lamp,” said Wick. “Both of these were strong pieces and so we wanted everything surrounding them to be toned down.”

Presidio Heights Living Room Pulled Back

“The color palette was inspired by the desire for a natural and organic space,” said Wick. The city’s proximity to the Pacific played a part. “We also wanted to use subtle, soft colors to hint a coastal beach feel.”

Neutral textiles were paired with glass, metal and wood. “We mixed wood materials and tones with contemporary elements,” said Wick. “For example, the wood pieces were in a ceruse finish giving it a contemporary feel.”

Presidio Heights- Living Room Close In

Wick pumped up the space with orange and bright green accents. He employed these “pops of color in the art and accessories to make the room exciting and interesting.”

Presidio Heights TV Lft

What’s Wick’s advice for homeowners to successfully decorate a room with a neutral color palette?

“Go more neutral than you would think,” said Wick. “Don’t be afraid to layer white on white or off-white on off-white. Also, don’t be afraid to NOT incorporate color, it’s not always necessary.”

How could someone create a similar effect on a tight budget? “Shop at flea markets, find objects that are spectacular and make a statement; start designing your space around that piece,” said Wick.

An example of spectacular? The tree-trunk slice as art. It’s a carry-over from Wick’s previous design for the space that seduced with woods and cream tones.

Presidio Heights Living Room Design 1Wick’s previous design for the living room.

Will WickThe homeowners hesitated at first. “I saw this teak splay at Ironies and tried to convince the client to use it for a long time,” said Wick. “They originally wanted a painting to go over the mantel. We tried it out one day and they were immediately convinced and loved it.”

Will Wick is designer and principal of Wick Design Group, based in San Francisco and with a national clientele.


If any of your rooms are done in primarily neutral colors, how did you make the rooms interesting?

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4 Comments for “A Coastal Organic Living Room”

There’s so much I like about this room, I don’t know where to begin! The organic wood pieces, the Wassily chairs (in that cognac color!)the shades of cream contrasted with those leafy green drapes. Even though it’s neutral, it avoids being dull. Just great! Thanks for posting!

Hey Leona!

I know what you mean about this room. I was taken immediately by the teak splay over the fireplace. Art can really be any beautiful object, don’t you think? And what is more beautiful than something from nature?

The scale of the Chista lamp is brilliant.

And I didn’t even mention the charming model boat.

When can we move in? 😉
— Kathy

Looks like more “purchased items” than a collection from an interesting life. Too bad the rich have no personal taste and opt for the catalogue look.

Hey shorebreak,

You think there’s a generalization in your comment??? In my experience, taste varies depending on the individual, not one’s financial state. And what one person sees as interesting, another person may not. I think this room is unique and striking.


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