Home/Room Tour: Interior Designer Erin Calihan


5 years ago

Hi everyone,

I’m so excited to get to introduce you to San Francisco based Interior Designer Erin Calihan. Erin’s work first caught my eye on Instagram after she tagged me in one of her posts. I was so impressed with her style that I reached out via DM and it turned out that wasn’t the only project she’d used my work in. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my work styled in others’ homes, so I was excited to learn about some of Erin’s other projects—including the design of her own home—and to share her story with all of you.

To start off, Erin, I’d love it if you could tell us a little bit about yourself.

I live in San Francisco with my husband, Pat and two children, Charlie (2 ½ years) and Evelyn (6 months). Pat and I have lived in San Francisco for 14 years enjoying all that the bay area offers from city life to the outdoors, Tahoe to wine country to coastline. Love to spend time with my family and friends, traveling, the arts, skiing in the winter, hiking, beach and boating in the summer.

You clearly have quite an eye for design, would you mind giving us an overview about what your business is all about?

I have my own residential interior design firm, Erin E. Calihan Design. Working on projects as large as a full home renovation or new build construction to bathroom or kitchen remodel. I work closely with my clients, architects, artists, highly skilled craftsman, and builders pulling together best use of space, finish selections, furniture layouts and design, window treatments, art and accessories.

That’s so amazing! When did you launch it?

I launched Erin E. Calihan Design in Spring of 2016. In 2007, I found my calling while managing sales at CONRAD Shades, falling in love with the world of interiors. I went back to school and furthered my career at UC Berkeley’s Extension Program for Interior Architecture and Design, graduating in 2013. I worked closely with Kathy of Kathy Best Design for several years, a San Francisco residential interior design firm learning from the best!

Could you tell us a little more about your style when it comes to decorating your home/dream space.

I love to create fresh livable spaces drawing from a classical aesthetic. I think my experiences of living and studying art history in New Orleans, living in San Francisco, traveling through Europe and South America – being exposed to history and beauty of previous cultures have made a great impression on me and the interiors I design. I love spaces that speak to the past but are current in the way people live in the space. In designing my dream space, I would include formal spaces for entertaining: entry, living room, dining room, powder room and more casual spaces for the everyday life: kitchen, breakfast nook, great room - both opening up to the outdoors. Living in California, I think the indoor/outdoor flow is essential!

Color and Brass! I love bold color, brass, details, layers and a story behind the finish, furniture, or accessory. Where it came from, what it means to the person that created it, why it is important to me.

It’s interesting to see how Interior Designers’ styles translate into their own homes. Do you approach styling your own home differently or similar to your clients?

Each client is very different from the next and I like to tailor my process and approach to their needs and their project’s needs. One thing that is consistent is the collaboration – between the client, myself, the architect, the contractors, the vendors, the artisan – each play such an important part of the process.

It’s always so exciting for me to see how other’s style my artwork in their own spaces. What inspired you to choose Gray Malin Photography? What about the Gray Malin lifestyle brand to you connect with?

Pat & I love Gray Malin photography. For us, not only do we enjoy his inviting and entertaining compositions with incredibly vivid colors, but most importantly our personal connection to the subject matter: Italy. Having had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Italy on several occasions, Italy holds a very special place for Pat & I.

On our first travels to Italy, we toured Rome, Tuscany and hiked the Cinque Terre. Several years later, we ventured south to the Amalfi Coast. After much research, Pat and I began our hiking adventure in the small town of Maiori, through Minori up to Ravello down to Amalfi. The next day we continued on to Praiano and ended on the beaches of Positano. Eating, drinking, and enjoying la dolce vita of the Italian way.

The photographs Positano and Cinque Terre originally hung in our living room – an 1890s San Francisco duplex which I fully renovated and designed. By continuing a wide plank French oak gray flooring throughout, with high ceilings and original detailing, I created an airy clean and modern space while keeping to the traditions of the house. The bright and vivid colors of interior furnishings and accessories draw from Gray Malin’s photography.

When designing our current home in Pacific Heights, I wanted to include Gray Malin’s photography in our eat-in kitchen. The colors and finish selections again draw upon the vivid colors from Gray Malin’s photography, but this time in whites, blues and brass. Whichever space Gray Malin’s photography is placed in, it sings!

Isn’t Erin’s home amazing? I just love all the surprising details she used to make the different spaces pop—like the floral wallpaper in her bathroom. Erin, thank you so much for sharing your story with all of us and giving us a little peek into your home. To learn more about Erin, or even work with her, check out her website here, or follow her on Instagram at @ecedesignor see more at



Photos: Kathryn Macdonald Photography

See more from

Property currently for sale - listed by Alexander Fromm Lurie at Compass in San Francisco, CA. Follow the agent on Instagram @theluriegroup and online

Architect:David Cumby Architecture

Engineer:Hom-Pisano Engineering

Interior Architect & Designer:Erin E.CalihanDesign

Contractor:Custom Construction

Photographer:Kathryn MacDonald