How Interior Design Firm Taylor Yang Transformed a Vanilla Home in Tiburon, California

When architect and interior design firm Taylor Yang signed on to redesign a five-bedroom home in Tiburon, Calif., the existing interiors were what they called “vanilla.” In other words, they were the perfect starting point for designers to create a transformation. Their work touched on virtually every interior surface of the contemporary “coastal cool” home, which is clad in shingles and clapboard on the exterior.

While the windows and doors remained, they made architectural interventions, such as exposing the ceiling beams and opening up a narrow corner between the living room and the office to create space for an open bar. (Hetherington Building was their contractor for these and other elements.) They also updated furniture, window treatments, fabric finishes, wallpaper, lighting, and audio/video systems.

“Almost everything in the house is fully customized for the clients and their home,” Taylor notes. This includes a custom headboard in the master bedroom by Taylor Yang covered in Sandra Jordan alpaca fabric. Says Yang: “It was important for the house to flow from room to room, stylistically.”

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Q&A with the creators

How would you describe the aesthetic of your design?

Karine Taylor: Taylor Yang’s design aesthetic is durable and multi-layered. We design a lot using perspective sketches so our clients can instantly and easily feel what the space will look like.

Helene Yang Fung: Our customers have added a level of exuberance in their preference for color and vivid patterns. We all had a lot of fun selecting textiles and finishes, but we always maintained a focus on sustainable quality and aesthetics.

How does the space represent their personality versus yours?

yang: It would be difficult to dissociate the personality of our clients and our professional sense.

taylor: It is always essential that we understand the aesthetics and motivations of our clients. This way we are able to create a home that is truly unique to them, of the highest quality and design integrity for the budget.

How did you come up with the layout plans for the rooms?

yang: Our process is iterative, and we like to build pieces on top of each other, so to speak. A big consideration is natural light and how each space will be used throughout the day. This house was flooded with sunlight, so we were able to incorporate richer eggplant and deep teal tones.

taylor: Incorporating lots of natural materials from the start was important to our customers.

What were your customers’ absolute must-haves?

taylor: Our customers didn’t want to compromise on quality and style endurance, which was fine with us.

Did you encounter any hiccups or surprises during the renovation?

yang: The customers wanted to keep the existing wooden floors, but when the coachbuilder studied the project, it turned out that the floor was too thin in some places to be refinished. So we removed the existing floors and leveled the sub-floors.

taylor: Customers were happy to have an excuse to buy new hardwood floors!

How did you make the pre-existing pieces feel fresh and work with the new design direction?

taylor: Customers have enabled us to raise the level of design and quality of the parts with which they had already surrounded themselves. Each piece has been carefully selected to reflect who they are as a couple, with the aim of having heirloom pieces, rather than just reflecting fashionable trends.

yang: A few of their existing pieces that they thought might end up in the final design ultimately didn’t make it, in their eyes as they happily realized the transformation that was happening under our vision.

Talk about the style of each piece.

yang: We felt that using the same materials in each space would not reflect the more eclectic design trends of clients. For example, the master bedroom is a serene compilation of wood paneling and painted furniture, draperies and carpeting that can be felt to be tone-on-tone. Although it contrasts with the office’s deep blue tinted woodwork and upholstered ceiling in a block print on the opposite side of the wing, it’s all tied together.

Visit the entire residence below.

Living room

Bench: Barbara Barry, covered in sheepskin. Swivel chair: Patricia Urqueola. Kagan chair: covered with Edelman leather.

Dining room

Chairs: Kimberly Denman. Dinner table and sofa: Joseph Jeup. Pendants: Hector Finch.

master bedroom

“The master bedroom is a serene compilation of wood paneling and painted furniture, draperies and carpeting that can be felt to be tone-on-tone,” says Yang. “Although it contrasts with the deep blue tinted woodwork of the office and the upholstered ceiling in a block print on the opposite side of the wing, it all ties together.”

before the blows

Taylor Yang

Living room


Here, the owners wanted to have the possibility of transforming this room into a guest bedroom in the future, “so we left the credenza between the shelves, made it removable and designed discreet sliding shelves to serve as side tables. bedside should this transformation take place,” Taylor reveals.


The powder room sink boasts a carved limestone block on a custom stained wood pedestal.

Game room

For this space, the designers used bleached and stained white oak “to provide the perfect backdrop for layering the colors and textures of the furniture’s rugs and textiles,” says Taylor.

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Betty K. Park