Designer Melanie Coddington Gives a Castro Victorian a Fresh New Face

San Francisco design project by Melanie Coddington

Interior designer Melanie Coddington notes, “You don’t usually see a Chesterfield sofa upholstered in pink velvet,” about the tufted, rolled-arm piece that seems perfectly suited to its refurbished Victorian setting. But in a living room anchored by a period fireplace with original pale pink tiles, Coddington’s rosy palette—which also includes blush for the walls and a hue just this side of nude for the drapes—honors the early 1900s space while giving it quiet glamour. “Matching the paint with the window treatments created a soothing backdrop,” explains Coddington. “It also allowed us to add a rug and artwork that have lots of activity without it feeling chaotic.”

Chaos was exactly what the homeowner, who has a demanding career in the tech industry, hoped to avoid when she purchased the home in the Castro. “She thinks of her home as her sanctuary,” says Coddington, “but she’s also very stylish and has a young daughter, so all of those factors came into play.”

Style is never in question when working with Coddington, who is known for bringing a fashion-driven sensibility to her feminine but modern spaces. Once the soft color scheme was established in the living room, she drew it into the dining area by swathing it in dove gray. Against that backdrop, she set a curved oak buffet, a live-edge dining table, and a bench and chairs covered in a pewter fabric piped with pink. The finishing accessories? Bold, geometric jewels, including a chrome cluster chandelier, gilded oval mirror and a polished nickel bar cart.

In the family room, where French doors swing open to the backyard, Coddington followed nature’s lead in selecting the grassy green palette. A fresh chartreuse Romo wallpaper patterned with silvery palm leaf silhouettes wraps the room, and a pair of green-and-gray barrel-back chairs sits atop a chrysanthemum-motif rug. According to Coddington, her use of pattern and color suits her client. “She’s really quite fearless,” says the designer. “There’s a cozy, chill vibe here, and it’s definitely not too fussy.”

Coddington cultivated natural motifs in the master bedroom as well, where she created a focal point by covering one wall in a forest of trees. “Using wallpaper on just one wall enables it to act like art,” she notes. A Walk in the Park, a floral print from Osborne & Little, one of the designer’s favorite textile houses, extends the leafy motif to the drapes. To balance the graphic patterns, Coddington created places for the eye to rest by upholstering a custom headboard in a deep purple velvet and a curved vintage bench in a similar hue. She also topped a set of lacquered-wood side tables with purple, faux-hair-on-hide lamps. “They had this crazy texture, and we just had to have them!” she says.

Despite the presiding presence of floral motifs and hues, the designer and her client were mindful about not allowing the home to feel too feminine. Throughout the space, Coddington balanced ladylike elements with clean, modern silhouettes—juxtaposing the pink Chesterfield sofa, for example, with a sleek white coffee table, squaring the curvy headboard with boxy white side tables and keeping the lighting throughout strong and sculptural.

And when it came to the daughter’s room, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree: The kindergartner picked drapery fabric blooming with bright pink flowers. Coddington complemented her selection with a playful stripe for the upholstered bed and notes: “The bed is big enough so Mom can read to her in it. Like the rest of the house, the room is fun, livable and lovely.”

A version of this article appeared in the April/May 2015 issue of San Francisco & Gardens with the headline: First Blush.