Space of the Week: A Narrow Entryway Now Has as Much Personality as Its San Francisco Neighborhood

This neutral palette packs a punch.

The Duboce Triangle neighborhood in San Francisco seems to be at the center of it all. "It's easy to walk to such great parts of the city, like the Haight, the Castro, Hayes Valley, and the Mission," says designer Gina Gutierrez, founder and principal of Gina Rachelle Design. "There are a variety of restaurants, parks, and coffee shops all within walking distance, as well as an abundance of Edwardian and Victorian homes that line the streets."

But before Gutierrez came around to transform their house, the Gandy family's first steps in and out of the action were rather boring. "Their entryway was a blank, flat space," she remembers. "They did their best by hanging some hooks and setting up a bench and a small rug, but beyond that, it lacked energy."

Space of Week, Black and White Entryway
Design by Gina Gutierrez

The owners are a French-American couple with two young kids, and they chose to raise their family in the area for its history. "This is their first home, and they specifically chose it over something new because they find value in this type of San Francisco aesthetic. There is something magical about old houses that combine renovated and existing period details." Besides adding character to the long hallway, the Gandys also wanted more storage for when the family carried in items from the neighborhood. And when it came to their inspiration, Gutierrez was familiar with what they had in mind.

"Surprisingly, the inspiration behind this renovation was my home in San Francisco," she says. "Before I moved to Sebastopol, the Gandy family walked through my open house. Turns out, I lived just around the block from them! They loved how our Edwardian captured the historic details of the house but infused modern yet approachable designs."

Black and White Entryway Wainscoting
Design by Gina Gutierrez

Gutierrez crafted wainscoting to run along the full length of the hallway, and installed textured Anaglypta wallpaper on the bottom half. She painted the wallpaper and the trim in Benjamin Moore's Kendall Charcoal, and used the same brand's Simply White for the top half. "We also decided to remove the can lighting and added beautiful ceramic flush mounts to the ceiling that can be turned up to a bright light or dimmed for ambience," she says. "The repeated installation makes for a beautiful view from the front door and the dining room, too."

To stay within a preferred neutral palette, the finishing touches came in hues of black, cream, white, and brass. "We wanted to bring in texture and dimension through materials, like the patterned wool rugs and metal-and-marble console table," Guiterrez continues. "As for styling, we looked for function and beauty. For instance, the diamond-shaped mirror bounces light around but also allows for a 'last look' before leaving." Hooks and baskets stow belongings out of sight, and oversized frames make the hallway feel inviting.

With a few simple steps, this entryway now has plenty of interest on its own. "It has a wow factor that sets the tone for the rest of the home," Gutierrez says.

Get the Look:

01 of 05

High Contrast

Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal gray paint
Benjamin Moore

To set the wainscoting apart from the upper walls, the designer chose this rich charcoal hue. The dramatic effect proves that even if you prefer a neutral color palette, you can still create plenty of visual interest through contrast and texture.

02 of 05

Sneak in Storage

Black Metalwork Console Table with Drawers
West Elm

The clean lines of this elegant console table prevent a narrow entryway from feeling cluttered, yet the three drawers at the top provide a spot to stow keys, gloves, and mail. The shelf below can display decorative pieces, or opt for pretty woven baskets to eke out even more storage space.

03 of 05

Lay the Groundwork

The Citizenry Wool Runner, black and off white
The Citizenry

In keeping with the black-and-white color scheme, two striped wool runners lead the way to the front door. Made of durable sheep's wool, these rugs were designed to last for decades.

04 of 05

Play with Shapes

Hexagon Gold Mirror
West Elm

A hexagonal, gold-framed mirror adds unexpected geometry to the space. It provides a spot to get ready as you head out for the day, plus it helps reflect light from the front door.

05 of 05

A Nod to the Past

Patterned Classical Wallpaper

Embossed wallpaper not only adds a touch of texture to the entryway, but it honors the history of the older home.

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