Travel has always been a big part of interior designer Kristen Peña’s life and it informs her design work as well. As a child, the Syracuse native longed for a colorful, creative life beyond the borders of her hometown. Study abroad schooled her in European elegance and proportions; her relocation to San Francisco encouraged her playful sense of color; and, trips to Southeast Asia, Morocco and Africa cultivated a love of pattern and texture. Continuing to find inspiration from markets and makers she discovers abroad, her projects also reflect her profound understanding of how people live. She listens to her client’s dreams for their future and imbues their homes with the joy that will support them on their journey.
Inspired to explore the world of interior design through the experience of renovating her first home, Kristen attended architecture and design school at UC Berkeley. Her natural talent for organization and project management, cultivated through her career permutations, first in advertising and then in children’s clothing design, combined with her love of storytelling, results in rooms that are more than just pretty. Sensual, supportive, and thoughtfully curated, they’re spaces that are as livable as they are compelling, where every item has personal meaning for the client.
Hearing her thought process on the young girl’s bedroom she created as part of the prestigious San Francisco Decorator showcase highlights how Kristen thinks. The room was designed for a thirteen year old. “It’s the age where you feel somewhere in between childhood and young adulthood,” Kristen muses, “There’s a push and pull going on, and I tried to re-create that sense in the room.” Playful pink-and-black hand-printed wallpaper and fluffy felted wool bedding speak to the innocence of childhood. A black accent wall, hanging macramé lights and leather strap chairs are geared to the stylistic senses of an emerging young adult. Like all of Kristen’s spaces, it’s a room in which to grow and to dream.