San Diego Designers’ Favorite Objects

The go-to accessories that designers love for filling space and adding a personal touch

Eight local designers share their favorite objects, tell us how they use them to fill space—chicly!—and let us in on where they get them.

Oscar Bravo, Oscar Bravo Home

A vase filled with branches pairs nicely with two small bowls.

Oscar Bravo, Oscar Bravo Home

What: “I love the simplicity and versatility of a decorative bowl paired with an elegant arrangement of flowers. They are my go-to items to instantly make a space look polished. Having flowers in a room is a way to show self-love and really changes the mood of a person and home. Bowls are so versatile. You can put anything you want in them and then switch it out depending on the season.”

Styling: “Most of the time, I’m pairing these items on a mantel or a coffee table. Need to style a table? Grab a couple of bowls from your cabinet—I’ve used cereal bowls on a mantel before and they looked amazing—and some flowers or branches from your yard and you can create a beautiful vignette with little effort.”

Where: “I love finding unique vintage bowls. I usually get lucky when I’m shopping at the antique stores on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach. Or—for a fast find—the kitchen section in IKEA has an awesome selection of bowls in a variety of sizes.”



She utilized one of her go-to accessories—African Juju hats—to add soft texture and dimension in her own home.

Hope Clark, Olive + Oak Interiors

What: “I think your home should be a curation of your most treasured memories and brightest hopes, so I love styling with things that are either aspirational or nostalgic, like old wooden bowls, African Juju hats and repurposed furniture.”

Styling: “Juju hats are a unique way to add soft texture and dimension to a blank wall, and styling them by creating groupings of multiples adds visual movement. Vessels for everyday items don’t have to be bland—vintage wooden bowls have lovely texture and subtle warmth from their natural wood.”

Where: “A great way to find pieces with history is to rummage through estate sales, flea markets and antique stores. Or, search Etsy for some unexpected finds.”

Kitchy Crouse, KC Interior Design

Kitchy Crouse chose a table with “feet” to add whimsy here. | Photography by Martin Mann

Kitchy Crouse, KC Interior Design

What: “I adore figural art, especially hand and feet objects. They are a way of communicating—almost like a form of sign language—of saying something without being there and humanizing spaces in a fun way.”

Styling: “I like using small figural objects as decorative pieces on a bookshelf or coffee table. They come in so many different forms that I can always find one that fits the personality of the home I’m working on.”

Where: “You used to only be able to find them at antique places and flea markets, but now they are much more popular and you can find them at mainstream shops like Noir, One Kings Lane and Kelly Wearstler.”


Karyn Frazier & Jessica Nicolls, Bungalow 56

The Bungalow 56 designers filled empty space atop a large hutch with a cluster of monochromatic vessels and a greenery-filled vase for height. | Photography by Samantha Goh

Karyn Frazier & Jessica Nicolls, Bungalow 56

What: “Our favorite pieces to incorporate into decorating a home are beads, a really good live or fake plant or branch for a pop of green and a great container to house it in. A vessel with a branch is great for adding height to one side of a piece of furniture and a cluster of containers can fill a large space without feeling too busy. Glass or wooden beads are a perfect way to add texture.”

Styling: “Glass vessels with branches are a perfect addition to a kitchen island, dining table or dresser. In our own homes we both have a vase with branches on our kitchen table. Creating a cluster of containers with different textures, but in the same color-way, is one of our favorite ways to style any shelf, dresser or long surface. Beads are a perfect way to layer any bowl, bottle or tray. Just drape the beads and let them fall organically.”

Where: “Our shop in Coronado, also called Bungalow 56, often carries a great selection of these items.”


Erika Gervin, South Harlow Interiors

“Books are an essential styling element, and I often use a variety of coffee table books in a color palette.” | Photography by Chad Mellon

Erika Gervin, South Harlow Interiors

What: “Books are an essential styling element, and I often use a variety of coffee table books in a color palette that aligns with the overall style of a room. Also, ceramic vases—utilizing various shapes, heights and colors to add texture and function—and anything vintage. Vintage pieces provide character and depth. My favorites are wooden bowls and beads.”

Styling: “I tend to use these objects on bookshelves and coffee tables. Books make a great display piece for other objects to rest on, can soften a space or be stacked to add height. Vintage wooden bowls and ceramic vases are perfect for displaying flowers and beads and add variety and texture to a space when mixed.”

Where: “Travel is always a great way to collect one-of-a-kind pieces. However, if you are looking for a quick buy, I am loving the neutral-toned, handmade ceramic vases from Farmhouse Pottery right now.”


Rachel Moriarty, Rachel Moriarty Interiors

Rachel Moriarty’s home gallery was inspired by “When Art Rocked: San Francisco Music Posters 1966 to 1971,” an exhibit at the San Francisco International Airport.

Rachel Moriarty, Rachel Moriarty Interiors

What: “I collect retro psychedelic rock art from the ’60s. My husband and I have followed the Grateful Dead for many years. Visually, I’m a color lover and their posters incorporate a lot of color. Everything on my walls has a memory attached to it and means something special to me. I bring this mentality to my work as well. Most projects I have done are based around an object that is special to my clients.”

Styling: “When dealing with a colorful art collection, you have to create a good juxtaposition and balance by making a neutral pallet and then layering on the pretty stuff. I like to mix in texture, photography and fiber art to give the eyes a place to rest between all of the posters.”

Where: “We get our posters from the concerts we attend, Amoeba Records in San Francisco, or sometimes we find them on eBay.”

Hope Pinc curated a mix of elements on this open shelving. | Photography by Mindy Nicole

Hope Pinc, Hope Pinc Design

What: “I’ve been a sucker lately for woven wall baskets! There are so many different textures and patterns to choose from and they are perfect in clusters of several or as one stunning piece on its own. I even added a few air plants to one of my clusters for extra interest.”

Styling: “They are a wonderful way to take up a large area of wall while creating depth, texture, pattern and as much color as you would like to incorporate. I did a great mixed wall display in my home with a combination of vintage and new baskets and flat-woven placemats. Stacking them on wall shelves is also a fun way to add additional height to vignettes.”

Where: “I’ve gotten some of my favorite baskets from second hand stores, but you can get them from pretty much any home specialty store, like West Elm, Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters home.”



Julie Smith, Jula Cole Design

She used multisize African hand-woven baskets as artwork. | Photography by Love Like Harry Photography

Julie Smith, Jula Cole Design

What:“Vintage vases and succulent-filled terra-cotta or handmade pottery are always go-to objects for me. I can never tire of African hand-woven baskets. I love their texture, patterns and the fact that they are fair trade which helps families in developing countries. And wooden objects big and small, from a stool to a bowl, add so much warmth to a space.”

Styling:“They can go anywhere, from shelves in the living room and fireplace mantels to kitchen counters. The baskets are a great way to create many different silhouettes on the wall depending on how you hang them and the amount and sizes you use.”

Where:“I found some great wooden African mini stools at the Rosebowl in Pasadena and also on the streets on NYC the last time I was home. Great pottery can always be found by sourcing from Fair, a local artisan showroom in NYC.”

Categories: design inspiration, Home Design