Case Study

February 28th, 2014

I’ve been obsessed with desks and case goods lately – imagining all the work I could do at a stylish piece of furniture, and all the things I need to store inside something. My thoughts have turned to commanding an office from my super sleek and sexy Baughman outpost, or just writing at a tailored teak option. Here are a few of my favorites – as usual, I’m all over the place with my envy.


And storage….



And, something to hold my trash… Fornasetti, of course!



New Year’s Resolve

January 6th, 2014

In need of a little R + R after the holidays? Like me, did the Grinch steal that holiday spirit? Well, I suggest you get away to my new fave – The Sparrows. Only 90 minutes from LA – the perfect retreat to treat yourself. No phones, no TV – Get out!

Salt water pool, bocci court, tennis – enough said. You can keep your ACE insanity – this is where the adults go to stay in Palm Springs.

Private Casitas



The understated lobby/reception.


The Bar


And please … do me a favor, leave the kids at home.

Left Bank Shopping

November 11th, 2013

What’s new at Roche Bobois, you ask? Lots – and I am channeling a new client to let me use it everywhere – what fun! The color, the shape and the nod to classicism – what a joyful combination! Give me a Louis chair in an updated print, and I’m all yours – I’m cheap that way.





I especially love this green table – the chinoiserie lamp and modern art are genious.

Editor In Chief – Pay It Forward

November 11th, 2013

I had the great opprtunity to meet and chat with Elle Decor Editor Michael Boodro at the San Francisco Design Center – what a pleasure! I seized the moment to bend his ear about getting published in his fab mag – he was so open and friendly – such a refreshing experience to make the acquaintance of someone willing to offer support and help. Thanks Michael!



Edge Of Night

June 19th, 2013


There’s something about dark walls that I love – alluring, mysterious….sexy. Dark walls envelope it’s inhabitants in an unexpected depth – an altogether transformative environment. I love the way lighter accents explode off a darkened wall. From powdery aubergine to a slick jet black – the darkness reads sensual.



I love black with brass, mohair upholstery, silk draperies and lacquer finishes. Think Diana Vreeland’s bakelite jewellery, or how deep seas run to indigo under the night sky miles from shore – almost forbidding.



It takes a confident hand to choose the dark side.

Floral Expressionism

May 3rd, 2013


I am constantly inspired by all things around me – never more than in nature. I keep my camera with me at all times. A simple trip to a favorite flower stand on Union Street carries me away – the color, the mix, the allure of shape. Coincidentally, I spotted this abstract just steps away, and couldn’t ignore the symbolism.




It’s as if the flowers were blended in a mixer into a fluid emulsion and poured onto the canvas. I want to paint like this.

Bathroom Remodeling 101

March 7th, 2013

Second only to kitchens, the bathroom is the most used, and the most valuable piece of
real estate in your home. Many think of it as a purely utilitarian space – a necessity of
life. Others, like myself, consider the bathroom a place to indulge and luxuriate.
Unfortunately, if I had a nickel for every time a client would wax poetic about a particular
bathroom he, or she longed for after staying at a posh hotel – all the while living with a
bathroom akin to a Por-To-Let – I would be a rich man. It seems most Americans believe
a beautiful bathroom is something to be admired, but is either too expensive, or not
worth the effort. Uttering the words “bath remodel” can reduce most men to tears – their
respective wallets clamping shut as they imagine hemorrhaging bank accounts and
endless construction. I’m here to tell you otherwise.
Depending on your tastes and expectations, rewarding yourself with an updated and
beautiful bathroom can be a relatively painless and satisfying project. Have I got your
attention? Whether you choose to work with a designer with a vision, or tackle it DIY
style, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. Making smart choices can lead you in
the right direction. Read on.


House proud. First, consider the architecture of your home.  We’ve talked about this
before – know the style of your home and work with existing architectural details. Is it
cottage or contemporary? Suburban ranch or Georgian Revival? It’s important to
respect the lines of your home when doing any updates to ensure both continuity and to
keep it from becoming the Winchester Mystery House. There was a good reason why
you chose the home you’re in, so look to those details when approaching your
renovation. Look for clues such as crown molding, ornate base molding, smooth or
textured walls, window mullions (the dividing wood trims between smaller panes of
glass within the window), original building materials such as brick and hardwoods, and
metal finishes throughout the home. Honoring the architecture will guide you through
the innumerable choices out there, and can inspire your design. Truly, If you live in a
California-style split level house and long for a French Rococo bathroom then I suggest
you call your real estate agent and start looking for something new – forcing period
architectural details into a home designed in a completely different style can be very
tricky to pull off, and most often ends up looking a bit kooky.
Go toward the light. Is your bathroom a dark cave with one exposed bulb guiding you
to the toilet? Is there any natural light? Is your only source of light coming from above?
Lighting a bathroom properly is essential – for most people their first glimpse of
themselves as they rise to greet the day is in the bathroom mirror. It should be a
soothing start not a frightening jolt. For example, I often remind clients that sconces
placed at eye level flanking the bathroom mirror is tremendously flattering as opposed
to the overhead florescent most subject themselves to, and a small investment worth
making. There’s a saying in the theater I refer to: light from above on stage equals
tragedy. More specifically, when light strikes your face from above it can leave you looking drawn and shadowy. No one wants that. Am I right? Instead, let lighting work with you to highlight both the best features of your space and your face. Additionally,
step away from the fluorescents and embrace halogen lighting or LED. Advancements
in lower energy LED lighting have made them a desirable choice for many of today’s
homeowners for their style and versatility. And, most importantly, put everything on a
dimmer – the most inexpensive, and effective decision you’ll ever make. Check out
Lutron systems for their function and design. You can thank me later.
Lay the ground rules. When considering the overall scope of a bathroom reno, the
easiest way to cut costs is to keep existing plumbing locations where they are. Moving
sinks, drains and shower plumbing is where the money begins to flow, and quickly. Most
bathrooms have a good layout – generally speaking. With only three major components
- the sink, toilet and shower/bath enclosure – there aren’t too many options for their
respective positions. Where limited space is a consideration, changing the location of
the plumbing may not yield any discernible gains, and the task at hand may be purely
functional and cosmetic. Creating the illusion of more space can be the key to making it
work. For example, removing a vanity and replacing it with a wash basin, or pedestal
sink can open up a bathroom tremendously. Most wash stands feature towel racks
below and integrated open shelving for additional storage. If closed storage is an issue,
look to narrower medicine cabinets made to install between wall studs, or add shelving
between studs – this trick is rarely utilized by contractors, but can offer great storage
solutions for a small space. In addition, newer, smaller profile toilets are now available
to improve space planning while complying with lower water usage restrictions. Toto and
Kohler are two manufacturers that are leading the charge toward more economical and
slimmer styles. Lastly, consider installing a frameless glass shower enclosure – a
dramatic way to improve the sight line in a bathroom freeing it from visual barriers and
creating a more open feel.
Tile me up, tile me down. If you’ve decided that tiling your bathroom is the way to go
for a new look, but you’re worried about the high cost of labor and materials, I have a
couple of ideas for you. First, labor costs begin to climb in line with more elaborate
patterns and materials. Keep it simple. As a purist, I prefer bathroom tile to err on the
cleaner and more elegant side. I recommend pure white marbles (avoid Carrera marble
with it’s muddy gray background), white ceramics or even white quartz materials are
great options for all of your major coverage. Keep the pattern and color choices
restricted to walls, window coverings, fixtures and accessories. I like to choose a classic
white marble subway tile, say Calacutta, for the shower walls. It always looks timeless,
and can go from trad to mod with ease. To save money on floor tile go with large scale -
fewer cuts means fewer dollars. Even in small spaces I prefer oversized floor tiles
grouted with a minimum seam for an overall larger-than-life effect. For economy in bath
and shower surrounds, pick up less expensive ceramic tiles from any “big box” store
and mix in a classic natural stone trim (or liner), set at 60″-65″ H (this height falls above
thermostatic controls and below the shower head.) You’ll get the look of a custom tile
installation at a fraction of the cost. Again, I recommend keeping grout width to a
minimum for both aesthetics and maintenance.


My general rule with any home improvement is to always buy the very best quality you
can afford and to hire the best help. Your bathroom is a place you spend a lot of
“quality” time in, and it should reflect your personal style, as well as function beautifully.
Keep in mind that designing a smart space isn’t about spending a lot of money, but
rather it’s about making good choices. Do your homework. Ask for help. Make good


True Colors

November 16th, 2012

There’s something inherently happy about color – it excites, it makes us feel. And, I love the way color applied to something otherwise basic, or common, can bring it to life. To make us look at it in a whole new way.

Take one piece with good lines and transform it. Muted or bold – color is emotional. Visceral. Sensual.



Try inserting just one bold piece into a space – it comes alive. It makes you smile.



Dining is just more fun on a red chair.




Green With Envy

August 20th, 2012

Whether cool as fresh cut grass, or rich as a malachite jewellery box, green never ceases to excite. Think chartreuse paired with chocolate brown for a mod mood, silver and grey mixed with Kelly to bring out it’s chic neutral calm, or leaf splashed against coral and aqua for a decidedly Palm Beach luxe – green transcends.

Jubilee Madness!

July 9th, 2012


Dear Elizabeth.


I love you.


Hello. My name is Brandon and I’m an Anglophile. Hello, Brandon!

Wimbledon, The Queen, Lady Di, Harvey Nicks, The King’s Speech, Beckham, Posh, Wilfred and this year’s Olympics – I LOVE the UK.

Aren’t we all ex-pats?


Well… If you love it so much why don’t you marry it?        Don’t mind if I do!



God save the Queen


Copyright © 2008 Brandon Neff Design