Kendall recently transformed the interiors of a San Francisco penthouse with 180-degree floor-to-ceiling views that stretch from the Bay Bridge to Mount Diablo. A mix of 1980s glam and midcentury design, a balance of positive and negative space and furnishings strategically placed to highlight the views all combine to create a sense of romance and luxury. The entrance to the living room and dining area is framed by panels of antique brass fretwork, with midcentury-style hammered brass sconces bracketing the artwork. Kendall changed the floors from light to dark wood, which accentuate the light, bright furnishings and rugs and balance the positive and negative space. At night, the floors disappear visually and create a floating sensation, 700 feet above street level. Two cloud-like Vladimir Kagan-inspired sofas are placed atop a curvy white rug with swirling bands in shades of blue. 1980s Brueton coffee and side tables continue the positive/negative design narrative.  Photo by Matthew Millman

California native with a timeless sensibility, Kendall Wilkinson creates bespoke residences with an emphasis on beauty and comfort, and projects ranging from Pacific Heights estates to coastal Mexican vacation getaways. Rooted in classical design, Kendall continues to evolve her style, “As designers, we are informed by artistic, cultural, and technological shifts,” explains Kendall of her fluidity. “Ultimately, it’s about bringing the vision of the client to life.” The designer’s portfolio, which includes both commercial and residential spaces demonstrates this philosophy throughout. Kendall’s initial introduction to the world of design was through her mother, an interior designer, art connoisseur and style setter who was instrumental in honing her daughter’s artistic eye. “I learned from my mother to appreciate the value of color, scale, and texture and continue to draw inspiration from the fashion world.”

After a career in film and a stint with a rock band, Kendall re-discovered her passion for design while in Paris. There she studied the city’s architecture, antiques, and decorative arts. After a year of travel, Kendall returned to the Bay Area and continued her education at the Academy of Art. She established her eponymous San Francisco firm in 1992 and today, Kendall Wilkinson Design crafts delightfully unexpected spaces breathing life into the old and blending it with the new. From elegant startup offices to artful private residences built from the ground up, the design firm combines a thorough understanding of space planning with the latest innovations in technology.

Kendall explored the offerings on Incollect, selecting her favorites pieces with current, future and dream schemes in mind. Her choices reveal a penchant for celestial chandeliers, including Carlyle Collective’s Lahti fixture with multi-tiered halos of shimmering light, and a large vintage 1970s Venini 6-light hand-blown Murano chandelier in milk white glass with translucent shades from D’lightUs.  Voluptuous sofas and sleek, handsome armchairs are the seating equivalent of yin and yang, and Kendall likes Adesso’s 1960s Italian Ico Parisi-style beauty in her favorite royal blue velvet, as well as a pair of streamlined T.H. Robsjohn Gibbings 1940s walnut armchairs offered by TFTM. Kendall’s clients rely on her discerning eye to source one-of-a-kind contemporary studio furniture. She chose a darkly monumental round dining table by Belgian Studio Arno Declercq made of scorched Iroko wood with a grey stone top offered by Galerie Philia, and Hervé Langlais’ polished brass and Paonazzo marble Architecture coffee table with a delicate polished brass inlay design from Galerie Negropontes. Kendall’s finishing touch — a layer of sparkle with fabulous mirrors — etched Venetian glass, brass and nickel framed, French carved and gilded wood, chrome, all selected and positioned perfectly to catch and bounce light throughout her spectacular rooms. 

Role model: Elsie de Wolfe
Elsie de Wolfe at age 80 in 1939, photo by François Kollar.
Necessary extravagance: Fabulous shoes
Secret vice: French white wines
Hidden talent totally unrelated to design: Singing
Go-to color scheme: Royal blues



Italian Velvet Sofa in the Style of Ico Parisi, 1960s



Silvershadow Lamp

Galerie Negropontes


Lahti | Chandelier

Twenty First Gallery


Pair of "Curved" Lounge Chairs by Joaquim Tenreiro


Tell us something about you that is not in your bio.  

Before I started my interior design career, I dabbled in the film industry. I worked in Los Angeles for a television production company and was even cast as an extra in the popular soap opera, The Young and the Restless. 

What excites you most about the design process?  

I love the beginning stages of a project where the scheming takes place; it’s the closest to pure design without limits as we get. I find great freedom in pulling fabrics and playing with patterns, textures, colors, and creating endless combinations contemplating endless possibilities. It is at these times that I feel the creative process takes over, and the pure bliss of designing hits me.

For a Silicon Valley repeat clients’ new home, Kendall Wilkinson worked in tandem with the architect and landscape architect to create a seamless indoor/outdoor flow and an organic connection to the rolling hills and peaceful vistas.  Split-faced gold-toned Minnesota limestone on the exterior is extended into the foyer; the full-height glass wall and doors are set within a slender framework of blackened steel, carrying the material and light of the exterior inside.  A massive woven wire sculpture by Suzanne Tick plays off the golden light and ocher tones of the surrounding landscape. Below it, a custom iron and glass roundel console by French artist Christophe Côme, topped with a pair of his sculptural yellow crystal lamps. Photo by Paul Dyer 



Halo Lamp

Galerie Negropontes


Sideboard By Erwan Boulloud

Galerie Glustin


Eric Gushee Emergence Mobius Series Wall Sculpture

Pavilion Antiques and 20thc


"Butterfly Dancer" by Bouraine and Argy-Rousseau

Macklowe Gallery, Ltd

The cover of House and Garden in May 1941 was Elsie de Wolfe’s sitting room at the St. Regis, New York where she lived during WWII. The curtains and armchair are in her signature fern-print chintz, a version of which remains popular today, available from Scalamandre.

Name an architect, artist or designer, living or dead, you’d love to collaborate with and why?   

Elsie de Wolfe has always inspired me as a designer and as a woman because she broke convention, and created an entirely new aesthetic movement that is still emulated today. She lived life by her own set of rules. Like the loss of any iconic artist, it is beautiful to daydream about what she would think of our times and what she would be designing now. 

How does a design project start for you? Is there a particular element that that inspires the whole project?  

Every project starts with a conversation where we develop a vocabulary with our clients to help them communicate their design goals. It is crucial to know how a client lives in their current home and how they envision themselves living in the new space. I also love to know about the one item piece that they absolutely have to reuse in the next home and the meaning behind it. Sometimes, we create an entire environment around that piece.

Kendall’s living room in her San Francisco home, where her favorite object, an abstract waterscape by her friend fine art photographer Barbara Vaughn is prominently displayed. A soothing palette of creamy tones and soft blues harmonizes with the delicate details of the antique marble mantel and original frieze and panel mouldings. Kendall loves to juxtapose traditional and modern elements, which she does here in artfully subtle ways: antique crystal candelabra sconces with a crystal sputnik chandelier, mid century tub chairs sporting a deep, rich wood grain with traditional damask upholstery in pale neutrals, a classic button-tufted sofa with a sleek minimalist chrome and lucite chair. Photo courtesy Kendall Wilkinson Design


Contemporary Sputnik Chandeliers Comprised of Gilt Metal Rods



Faux Bamboo in Lucite and Brass Console (Pair Available)

Interior Motives



Oeno Gallery



Carlyle Collective

What is your favorite object in your home, and how and when did you acquire it?   

My dear friend Barbara Vaughn captured an exquisite image of water reflections that she shot in Sausalito, it’s titled “Kyrtotis” and hangs prominently in my living room. This is my absolute favorite piece in my home.

What is your dream project? 

I have always dreamed of designing a grand Parisian apartment with panoramic views of the Seine. But then I may have to move there when the project is completed.

What is your favorite part of the install process? 

The client reveal! Seeing that first impression and how they respond to their new home is priceless and the perfect “closing” to the project.

Seen through a library’s glass doors are dream-like views of a Deborah Butterfield horse sculpture in a naturalistic landscape setting. The clients are avid collectors of art and design; shown here are some of their favorite pieces: a biomorphic patinated bronze Metamorphosis low table, ca. 1959 by Philip and Kelvin LaVerne, and Herve Van der Straeten’s 2011 design the Ellipse bronze pendant. A reading chair and footstool in distressed denim-colored leather is by Swiss designer Alfredo Häberli. Photo by Paul Dyer



Bronze Coffee Table with Reclining Female Figure, Signed



Steen Eiler Rasmussen Asymmetrical Leather Armchair,
Denmark 1936

Lost City Arts


Astrolab Chandelier

Liz O'Brien


Willy Rizzo burl, chrome and brass dining table 1970s

Maison Cédric

Do you have a signature element — something you always include when styling an interior?   

I always like to add some ‘sparkle’ to a room. Whether that be with a mid-century lighting fixture, an antique Venetian mirror or accessories sprinkled in for that last design layer.

Where have you been, or what have you seen recently that you know will influence your work?    

I studied in Paris and have continued to visit year after year because I fell in love with the city from my first sight. It has influenced my work over the years through my passion for antiques, sparkle from the lights, water reflections, or the simple sophistication and elegance the Parisian culture exudes. It has influenced many of my favorite fabrics in my forthcoming collection with Fabricut.

In the guest cottage living room of a Silicon Valley tech executive’s estate, a quartet of vintage Jacques Adnet leather and pony hide lounge chairs face across Dutch designer Joris Laarman’s digitally sculpted marble Cumulus tables. The antique Persian rug was chosen for its muted earth tones, to play off the palette of the surrounding landscape. Photo by Paul Dyer



Pair of Stitched leather armchairs by Jacques Adnet

Regis Royant Gallery


Coffee Table "Cloud Corsica" in lacquer by Jacques Jarrige

Valerie Goodman Gallery

Custom Tufted Charcoal Brown Velvet Sofa with Brass Base



American Post-War Design Wall Sculpture of "Sunspots"


If you weren’t a designer, what might you be?   

I would be the lead singer of an all-female rock and roll band. 

How do your clients push you to think outside of the box and challenge you?   

Many of our clients are creative thinkers. The synergy and exchange of ideas always brings something new to the table that often reveals solutions that are both surprising and unique.

 Tell us what you love about Incollect and what one can expect sourcing with us.   

We love the vast inventory that we can search through on Incollect and the ability to create project boards — its genius to have integrated this functionality. My design team and I think of it as a digital design laboratory.