Colin Kaepernick may be misunderstood. Even his interior designer, Kesha Franklin, admits to misjudging how the then-20-something-year-old football player's public persona would translate to the 5,000-square-foot San Jose home she was commissioned to design for him.
In the living room of a San Jose, California home, the bronze Kailash coffee table is by Chista, the sofa is by Christian Liaigre, the Stilt Coupe lounge chairs are by Holly Hunt, the custom cowhide carpet is by Kyle Bunting and the Navarro table lamp is by Arteriors.
“I’m looking at this young, successful man, who is a superstar football player. I thought: we’re definitely going to do an ultra man cave experience, with leather and dark moody colors — a sexy vibe," says Franklin. "But, during our first meeting, I quickly realized that he had a much more refined, sophisticated taste than what I thought he would be attracted to.”
Perhaps it was the community's profusion of transitional-style homes that informed Kaepernick's taste. But Franklin offers up another clue: “He expressed his fascination with modern hotels that he liked along his travels, which put my creative plan in place.” she says.
With life on the road as her singular, albeit ironic, source of inspiration, Franklin set out to create a home base for the young athlete (then signed with the San Francisco 49ers) where he could entertain family and friends.
A black leather tufted bar in the lounge features upholstery by Serra Design, Inc.; the spirits are compliments of Diageo.
Her first order of business: Transforming a sunroom off of the kitchen into a formal dining room. "He’s a young single guy, so he didn’t need all of the traditional elements you’d find in a family home," she says, describing how she turned the home's former dining room into a hangout space anchored by a pool table.
The Golden West Billiards table is custom; the painting that hangs above is by Zoe Bios Creative.
The tone-on-tone dining space, takes a decidedly neutral turn from the rest of the home, but the palette is balanced by a collection of angular accessories for an equal amount of edge.
"He would always say that he was a daredevil," Franklin says. "He’d be the guy to jump off of the building or do really extreme sports, so some of [the color] you see comes from that."
Thought dining chairs by Cliff Young, a dining table by Century Furniture, a Tantrum pendant light by Corbett Lighting and a credenza by Modshop outfit the dining room.
With a palette derived from Kaepernick's bold spirit and sophisticated taste, Franklin worked her way through the home's four bedrooms, living room and den, playing with texture and shapes along the way.
The entryway to the master bedroom is swathed in a wall covering by Elitis (top); in the bedroom, the Harlowe Bed is by Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams and the wall covering is by Phillip Jeffries.
The 7-month-long project would take Franklin out of her comfort zone both figuratively and geographically, making trips from New York to San Jose for stretches as long as one month at a time. But it would also represent a critical juncture in her career in interior design.
The office walls are painted in Benjamin Moore's Caliente, the desk is by Williams-Sonoma Home, the black velvet desk chair is by Armen Living and the custom window drapery is by Serra Design, Inc.
"My business is mainly referral based, which is great, but I can't say that every project was really fulfilling," she says. After completing Goldman Sach's 10,000 Small Businesses program, "I knew that I had to create a bit of a niche for myself."
Instead of catering to her client's whims, Franklin honed in on her passion for clean lines and organic flourishes, rebranding her firm, The Beautiful Experience, as just as the Kaepernick project came her way.
In a guest room, the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore's Satchel; the bed and nightstand are by ModLoft and the pillows are covered in a fabric by Romo.
"I’m seeing a trend happening in my work that I’m learning to appreciate and accept.” she says. "Before, it didn't matter what type of design aesthetic you wanted — traditional? I've got you; eclectic? I can do that, too — but where my strength is, is modern design."