The Allure of San Francisco’s Design with Warren Sheets Design


The paint was priced at $2.50 per gallon, nearly half of what it cost at Dunn Edwards or Pratt and Lambert. However, there was a catch: you had to mix your own colors.

At first, it wasn’t easy. Finally, after several buckets ended up in the trash, I began to figure it out. Since there was no color chart, I was forced to learn to recognize and manipulate color, determining how to make a hue appear more golden or how to infuse off-white into a cast of winter blue. I have been using these skills in my design career ever since.

 At Warren Sheets Design, we completely document the project from the very beginning with a full set of plans of interior elevations and details.

I began in the industry at a young age, designing scenery for theater productions while still in school, eventually going on to study theater design at UCLA. I was lead scenic designer for elaborate musicals and stage productions, and then later for film. It wasn’t long before I realized that I wanted to create more of a lasting legacy; the beautiful sets I designed were quickly demolished after wrap to make room for the next production. I wanted the art works that I toiled over to be enjoyed for more than six to eight weeks. Thus, I made the decision to become an interior designer.

At the time, I didn’t know the interior design business, but I did have a great eye for color, proportion, and design. I started out working in a high-end furniture store that offered interior design services. I requested to be assigned to the interior design department, but the owner told me there were no openings. He did allow me to design the store display windows and arrange the furniture settings on the floor. In just a few weeks, customers began asking if I could come to their homes and consult on their interiors.

Concurrent with my new career, I went back to school and obtained a degree in interior design from The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. It has been 25 years since I founded Warren Sheets Design, Inc., a high-end interior design and architectural firm that has grown to international acclaim, with completed projects in Europe, Great Britain, Asia, and in 15 states in the U.S.

I have a staff of 10, including my partner, Sharon Regan, who is a well-recognized interior designer with an extensive hospitality background. She has designed such hotels as The Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, in Beverly Hills, and the Waldorf Astoria, in New York, as well as many other resorts and hotels around the country. Our team also includes a licensed architect, a director of interior design, a director of interior architecture, an art director, two project managers, and other support staff.

Originally our firm was located in Los Angeles on Melrose Avenue across from The Pacific Design Center. One hot afternoon nearly 15 years ago, I asked Sharon if she would like to accompany me on a buying trip to San Francisco. (I love to travel around the country to find just the right lamp or a pair of fabulous urns for many of our projects.) We had been to San Francisco on many occasions, but this trip was different. When we got to the city, the weather was cool and the light was magical. Moreover, I had come to the realization that there was something my life was missing…and that something was in San Francisco.

The city’s architecture, rich history, and eclectic mix of historic Victorian, Edwardian, and Beaux-Arts styles beckoned me. I looked at Sharon, and she looked at me. I said, “Do you think we could…” Knowing very well what I was asking, she replied, “Of course we can.” “Do you think they would?” I asked. “Of course they will!” she answered.

It was at that moment that I knew the move was a done deal.

I can’t recall how much we bought on that trip; we both were interested more in getting back to L.A. to ask our staff if they would relocate to San Francisco. Unanimously, they agreed. It wasn’t three months later that we all moved to the city that Sharon and I had fallen in love with. Now, 15 years later we say with great pride to the clients that come to our design studio, “Welcome to our Great City!”

Interior architecture is an extremely important aspect of interior design. When designing a space, we give great emphasis to what happens to the backgrounds of any given room-the floors, the walls, and the ceilings-paying attention to whether the design intent is traditional, transitional, contemporary, or modern.

Our renovations sadly often involve going in and removing expensive, trendy, or unsightly additions from previous homeowners who could have enhanced the space from an historical perspective but chose to do otherwise. Working with the richly historic homes in San Francisco, we are careful to incorporate and emphasize the moldings, create well thought-out ceilings, and incorporate niches, arches, and other decorative details where possible. These details are an important aspect of a room’s strength and character; we don’t want to hide them.

At Warren Sheets Design, we completely document the project from the very beginning with a full set of plans of interior elevations and details, including a ceiling plan, flooring plan, and, most importantly, a furniture plan. These incorporate all of the finishes and physical items that will be part of the final space, which enable our clients and the contractors to visualize each room in its entirety. I find this effort also helps avoid costly mistakes. Additionally, by looking at all aspects of the interior architecture, we are able to give a great deal of respect to the historical elements as they relate to detail and scale. I like that.
In the upcoming issues, I will expound on what to be aware of when doing a renovation or remodel, and some of the “beware-of” experiences. Until then, don’t lift a hammer!


Warren Sheets Design
1661 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94114