Inside An Artful Laurel Heights Home Crafted By Feldman Architecture
by Lauren Brocato
Kelly Finley, Founder and Principal Designer at Joy Street Design, started her design career on an unusual path – in the court room. After 6 years as a practicing attorney in a corporate law firm, she began to realize that law wasn’t for her and enrolled in night classes through UC Berkeley extension, while still excelling at her law practice. In 2011, Finley started her own interior design practice – Joy Street Design, named after her first San Francisco home on Joy Street in Bernal Heights.
Today, Joy Street Design, headquartered in Oakland, is recognized as one of the top interior design firms in the East Bay, with 6 employees doing both residential and commercial interior design. Finley has a strong design vision, finding “joy in color,” firmly abiding by the rule “no white kitchens” – avoiding cliché muted color palettes. The use of color in her work is exciting and warm, integrating unexpected patterns and bright tones into home renovations and office designs (her work was even showcased on Property Brothers).
Finley found inspiration in her grandmother’s Chicago home where she grew up – “every wall was a different color and I felt like was being enveloped in a hug of nonsense” she told FA staff during our latest Third Thursday presentation. Despite some controversial color selections, her childhood home showed her how color can be used as an expression of life and joy.
As a part of the Joy Street Design family – Finley founded the nonprofit, Joy Street Initiative (JSI), in 2018 which donates time, money and design services to women’s shelters in the Bay Area. Not only does Finley use her own time on pro bono projects for organizations like Oakland Elizabeth House, but 10% of profits from Joy Street Design fund JSI projects. The JSI renovations are done with dignity and at a high level –without relying on hand-me-downs or second-hand furnishings and paying their contractors in full. Since the pandemic, Finley and the Joy Street Design team hosted a bedroom renovation giveaway to a COVID frontline worker – a nurse in the D.C. area, named Memuna, won the contest.
Throughout her career at Joy Street, Finley has thoughtfully cultivated a community of black designers and creatives in a predominately white space. From a longstanding relationship with her cabinet maker, to serving as an active member of the Black Artists and Designers Guild, Finley described how she hires employees and maintains collaborative relationships and networks among underrepresented groups in the design space.
We are looking forward to working with Kelly Finley and the Joy Street Design team in the future and are proud supporters of JSI. Donate to the Joy Street Initiative here.
This spring, despite facing challenges to our business, our projects, and our workflow- we have found joy in our collaboration with Gaile Guevara Studio on Pan‘Orama House – an airy California retreat that contrasts thoughtful industrial details with warm, expansive views. For the past few months, Gaile and her dedicated team have been sheltering in place in Pan‘Orama House, directing and coordinating shipments, unpacking and installing, organizing, and fully stocking the home with her impressive library of sustainable lifestyle products.
Gaile and her team bring deep knowledge in sourcing healthy, reusable, and compostable goods of all shapes, sizes, and uses for each of their clients – going above and beyond the typical interior design scope. Her library of products, brands, and suppliers is remarkable – and she shared some of her favorites with us.
“When we source a product, we want to be able to truly believe in not only the product we are providing our clients but also the company itself. We focus on three things- the impact on the earth, the quality of the product, and the quality of the people.”
The Stasher Bag by Kat Nouri perfectly exemplifies all of the above – a sustainable replacement for single-use plastic bags developed and designed in the Bay Area. And as an added bonus – a portion of every Stasher sold goes straight to high-impact nonprofits like Surfrider and 5Gyres – organizations dedicated to preserving and rehabilitating our oceans.
Lindsey Theobald, our Director of Interiors, and I were lucky enough to catch up with Gaile last week as she walked us through some of the processes and products she is incorporating into the installation process at Pan‘Orama House. With more time (and a delayed delivery schedule) Gaile has had the opportunity to give this project the finishing touches and extra love that it deserves – a treatment she is rarely able to provide with busy schedules and fast-paced deadlines.
“We’ve been pretty lucky to let our inner OCD love for food come out with testing all the products. With being limited to not having cleaners or movers, having the opportunity to audit and unpack the Client’s inventory while also organizing has allowed us to really dive into how we can help reduce over shopping and reducing food waste. Setting up a zero-waste program is our biggest challenge – figuring out how to help families’ transition to sustainable products.”
Gaile was able to give us an in-depth Zoom tour of the master bath, fit with sustainable products of all shapes and sizes; essential oils and plastic-less floss from Public Goods, compostable Band-Aids from Nutricare, as well as other favorites from companies like, well kept, by Humankind, Skagerak, and Texidors.
We are excited to continue working with Gaile on more projects, – including Floating Bar House in Los Altos Hills, which is currently under construction. “We love working with FA because we can be involved from the very beginning of the project- we can work as a unified team to deliver on the client’s vision.” Gaile and her team are already deeply involved in the spatial planning and interior architecture at Floating Bar House – we can’t wait to show you how it turns out!
As Shelter in Place Policies are lifted, Gaile Guevara Studio wants to help support all those who have been of service as front liners to ensure our communities are safe and healthy. Before everyone returns to their regular routines and consuming, they’d like to provide some simple solutions to help pave the way forward to more sustainable consumption. In efforts to show their appreciation for the suppliers who are leading the way with helping educate around sustainable alternatives, Gaile Guevara Studio is offering remote consultations – providing new clients access to their suppliers, resources & special discounting. Proceeds from the design consultations will be put towards custom care packages to front liners in The Nursing Ward at Manhattan Hospital and Westcoast Care in BC Canada. Get in touch for a consultation at email@example.com!