San Francisco Designer Goes Big with Color

August 17, 2020 3 min read

San Francisco Designer Goes Big with Color

Interior Designer Sabrina Alfin may be slight in stature, but she has big ideas about everything from color and texture to comfort and scale.

A wall mural photo of Cupid's Span by artists  Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Sabrina Alfin's Black and White interior design bedroom at Kelly-Moore PaintsSabrina Alfin,

On June 23 at 3pm we will be hosting a very special event for San Francisco Design Week (virtual of course!), an in depth interview with Sabrina Alfin called 'Go Big or Go Home: The Impact of Color'. 

More details to come, but here's a little conversation I had with Sabrina just this week about color, COVID-19, and staying creative.


Shannon Kaye: Let's start with your design aesthetic, how you describe your work?

Sabrina Alfin: If I had to choose, I’d say “eclectic”.  I like mixing things together.  But, I work from the client up, not from the designer down.  It’s whatever works for the client’s lifestyle, functional needs, and sense of place. My job is to make it come together beautifully.

SK: And, do you tend to work in a certain color palette?

SA: I do seem to gravitate toward blues and teals.  I find those colors so versatile and livable. I’m also a big fan of jewel tones. Eggplant purples, magenta reds, or emerald greens are stunning. They’re rich, dramatic, and provide bursts of saturated color that are so often missing from today’s interiors.

Sabrina Alfin Design light blue nautical beach living room with sea grass rug

SK: How did you get started in your business?

SA: For 20+ years, I worked in the advertising agency business until I was laid off in 2009, in the aftermath of the last financial crisis. I took this as a sign from the universe it was time for a change, so I went back to school for a degree in interior design.  Never looked back. When you move from one creative industry to another, your skills are transferable, particularly as it relates to client and project management. I find interior design so satisfying.  Working with beautiful things and having tangible results for your efforts is really special.

Sabrina Alfin design with off white walls salon style art arrangement and ethnic textile hanging

SK: I can relate to that- management skills definitely benefit creative businesses. So, how long have you been working/living in the Bay Area?

SA: We downsized to a condo in the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco four years ago after raising our kids on the Peninsula.  I work from home and my team works remotely.

SK: So, you're already in a 'work from home' rhythm! How has shelter-in-place effected your business?

SA: Well, some projects that were in production are delayed. And it’s been a challenge to obtain samples without being able to physically see colors and textures.  Online photos have their limits! Fortunately, our clients are understanding. They too are in the same boat, so it makes the delays easier to manage and set expectations.

A bathroom by Sabrina Alfin Interiors featured by Kelly-Moore Paints

 SK: I hear you, it's been stressful but people have been patient, accommodating, kind... So, what are you doing to keep your creative energy going?

SA: I try to get outside often to clear my head, get some exercise, and keep the cabin fever at bay.  My creative juices have certainly been flowing in the kitchen now that I have had more time to cook, and we’ve been reaping the rewards of some nice sit-down dinners, if I do say so myself!

 White kitchen with blue cabinets by interior designer Sabrina Alfin featured by Kelly-Moore Paints

SK: Yes! I'm lucky to have a window from my office to the backyard- I especially appreciate that now! So, is there anything you can't live without in your design process?

SA: Hm,  I’d say I couldn’t live without my custom textile sources for window treatments, throw pillows, and bedding. They are the proverbial icing on the cake. If you’ll allow me a second “can’t live without” it’s AutoCAD. I do a lot of my own drafting because it helps me think through the design when we’re doing remodels.


SK: So, what are you working on now? Anything surprising?

SA: I’m working on a man cave which is a first for me!  A combination media room, billiards room, bar, and bath is really a blast! We’re aiming to find the right balance between sophistication and fun.

 Teal and gold bedroom by Sabrina Alfin featured on Kelly-Moore Paints

SK: I have to ask, what is your favorite Kelly-Moore color?

SA: Lately, I’m into really dark, rich colors with a touch of gray.  And I’m a sucker for teal, so I'll say KM4868 Porch Swing for the right client!

SK: Thank you so much Sabrina! I'm looking forward to interviewing you at Design Week to talk about our 2020 Trend Colors collection and how you incorporate bold colors in your work. I hope to see you in person soon!

You can contact Sabrina about your next project here, and be sure to follow her on Instagram

Sabrina Alfin design White bathroom with gray tile floor and white texture tile shower feature by Kelly-Moore Paints

Shop the cover bedroom picture!

KM5057 Emu Egg


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