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Publication Date: 2013-06-13

Product Picks

Shopping with Marysia Rybock & Kristen Rowell from San Francisco's Scavullo Design

“I never met a color I didn’t like,” says Barbara Scavullo, founder of San Francisco-based interior design firm ScavulloDesign, which primarily designs custom residential homes in the Bay area. Currently in its fourth decade, the firm still maintains its appreciation of color in their work even as Scavullo herself has segued into the management and strategy aspects of the business while senior designers Marysia Rybock and Kristen Rowell manage the hands-on creative work.

While Rybock and Rowell use color differently, both remain loyal to the firm’s three-pronged philosophy that, first and foremost, prescribes listening closely to and accommodating the wishes of each client. Creativity that resonates with the distinct qualities of each client family or individual is another essential component of the firm’s ethos. The company also prides itself on a “green” outlook, says Scavullo, encouraging clients to purchase high-quality furnishings that will endure for many years. It is these larger principles that guide the firm with each designer’s penchants and strengths dovetailing with the varied aesthetics of their clients—many of whom have used their services repeatedly.

For Rybock, interior design is akin to painting on a canvas until the composition feels just right. She considers herself to be an instinctual designer who is energized by the collaboration between all members of a project team. In spite of her preference for a “Northwest light palette,” or neutral tone on tone, Rybock is highly adept with using color and decorative elements in her designs, as reflected in one of her favorite projects, a house in Menlo Park. This was a redesign of an existing townhouse with a dated interior. The young client had a strong interest in music and art, so Rybock painted the gallery-style walls white to create a clean backdrop for her painting collection and selected a vibrant rug and other design elements whose patterns evoke musical rhythms.

While Rowell has successfully worked with clients who have many different aesthetics, her instincts lean toward a spare and uncluttered environment that is often monochrome or white. Such clean, restrained designs enable her to focus on well-executed details—finishes, veneers and paint. It is not surprising that, with a background in art history, Rowell also loves to create spaces that can host wonderful pieces of modern art. “I want to create a palette that is accepting of art, where art will be the final touch that pulls everything together.” When asked about an unexpected source of inspiration, she spoke of a design project where a homeless person lived under a bridge nearby, with a grocery cart full of clothes. “He had a collection of clothes with interesting colors and fabrics. Every day he had a different outfit on and he would wrap bits of fabric around his body and head. He had a way about him; it was inspiring. I would think, what an interesting color combination. Who would have thought?”

Rybock and Rowell shopped Dering Hall, showcasing the pieces that they were drawn to and revealing their personal tastes.

-Written by Janet Boltax


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