Barn Doors are Out, Plank Floors are In. Q&A with SF Designer Jennifer Cuddeford

San Francisco Designer Jennifer Cuddeford

I love connecting with working moms in the industry, especially ones with design skills. Meet Jennifer Cuddeford, the 34 year-old Design Manager, at Steven Volpe Design in San Francisco, and new mom. I sat down with Jennifer to talk shop and get the skinny on life at one of the city's most prestigious design firms, along with her favorite trends and tips for the season.  


EB: What's your personal design style? 

JC: Eclectic and comfortable. I like mixing modern and vintage elements while creating a space that respects the original architecture of the building/environment.

EB: How do you advise clients to prioritize spending? 

JC: For a remodel, I focus spending on elements that will give value to the home and will be easier to accomplish before they move in like remodeling the kitchen, baths or replacing flooring or moving walls. When it comes to furnishings, focus on the areas you will use most first. For example, if you are a family with kids and use your dining table often, you might want to put some money into a great dining table and chairs that will hold up to daily (ab)use. Then you might want to save and get an inexpensive flat weave or sisal rug that you can replace easily if your little ones have one too many spills. 

EB: What are your tips for making the most out of a small space?

JC: Go vertical. Baskets and storage furniture are your friend. Make sure to have enough closed storage to avoid making the space feel cluttered.

EB: What three trends are you loving/not loving right now? 

JC: I tend to steer clear of anything that is too trendy or else I'll just get sick of it after a few months. I personally like to go for a more timeless, modern look.

  • I’m over the barn/sliding door. If you really don’t have space for a door do a pocket door. Barn doors only work in a barn or a farmhouse not a Victorian remodel.
  • Edison bulbs. I hate / love them on occasion. The industrial look is overdone.
  • I do love oil/wax finished wide plank flooring. It’s beautiful and feels like wood. It requires a little more regular up keep but it worth if for a nice matte wood floor. There are also some affordable engineered versions out there with 3mm veneer.

EB: Are you incorporating tech elements into your design? 

JC: Tech home elements tend to fall into the trendy category for me. Technology is great for things like Nest or other air conditioning or AV systems. However, I tend to shy away from doing an integrated iPad system or building a niche for a wall mounted TV etc. It feels too forced to me. If you watch TV just put it on a console or credenza. It’s a fact of life. If you build a specific niche or cabinet for it, you’ll have to replace it in a couple years when the next generation comes out. Remember the old TV armoires?

EB: What are your favorite shops in the city?

JC: I love to browse Left Overs. It always gets me in the mood to do a refresh. I’m a Container Store addict. I have a basket problem.

EB: What advice would you give to a first time home buyer on furnishing their home? 

JC: Shop around and shop in person. Pieces can look great online but if you’re making a big purchase you should go see it, sit in it and make sure you really like it. You can’t tell the quality until you see it in person. Measure your space. Make sure you purchase furniture that fits the space. If it’s a small room don’t buy the largest lounge chair in the showroom - buy smaller furniture.

EB: What are some of your favorite products right now? 

JC: I'm loving this console right now - it's interesting, modern and playful. 

This is perfect if you work from home or just want to hide a few things, from West Elm


This may not be practical but it is super cool, from March