Designer Palmer Weiss of Palmer Weiss Interior Design in San Francisco doles out her best advice and lets us in on a few secrets.

By Stephanie Gibson
July 12, 2012
Photo: Jen Siska

"It's not an accident I've lived on the coast all my life. San Francisco is so cool; you can easily surf and ski in the same day."
—Palmer Weiss

How do you select artwork?
PW: I have a water obsession and tend to gravitate toward related images (swimmers, landscapes, abstract color fields). Bringing the outside in the house is nice if it's not too cliché—e.g., no Golden Gate Bridge images in a San Francisco living room!

What's your favorite source for coastal accessories?
PW: I am sort of having a love affair with eBay right now. It's a bit of extra work for my office (sorting through all of the stuff!), but well worth it in terms of the deals and finds. Search specific items: Chinese Chippendale, dhurrie rugs, and vintage swimming posters or bamboo trays.

You have $100 and one hour in a flea market. What do you come out with?
PW: Hopefully a gaggle of needlepoint pillows—nothing too stodgy, more along the lines of what Jonathan Adler is selling.

Tell us the No. 1 item on which to splurge? Save?
PW: Splurge: Great plumbing fixtures. I know that doesn't sound as exciting as fabulous art or furniture, but trust me, you will be happy you did. You can easily swap out rugs or bedding, but you are stuck with that faucet for a long time. Save: Opt for natural-fiber rugs in standard sizes from any of the big retailers. A jute one will make everything on it look good!

What is a great instant makeover trick in a beach house?
PW: Switching out lamp shades can be an unexpected way to freshen things up—try brightly colored lacquered paper shades or raffia-covered ones with brush fringe for totally different looks.