Alison Lufkin has be featured in the following articles or television shows.



7X7 Magazine "Up and Coming Trends"

This spring, designers are reviving the exotic look with block-printed batiks and Indian-inspired textiles. "It's really reminiscent of the South Seas—I've been using a lot of these fabrics in hues of sea blue and brown," says SF interior designer Alison Lufkin founder of Sullivan & Company. Lufkin's swatches of choice are John Robshaw's blue-and-brown Gomati and Maansi cotton-linen fabrics, and Raoul Textiles' Ananas in blue and white. "Depending on the style of the house, it's great for bedrooms or bathrooms," she says. "These materials are ideal for Roman shades, curtains and upholstery." For a polished look, Lufkin recommends trimming shades with colorful beads.



Getting Comfortable

Designer creates traditional family- and dog-friendly interiors

–– Angélica Pence, Designing Tomorrow

You'd be hard pressed to find any trace of sleek modern or minimalist tendencies in Alison Lufkin's work. Well-worn, comfortable elegance is more her mode.

"I'm definitely not into contemporary stark," says Lufkin, owner and principal designer at Sullivan & Company, a residential-design firm in San Francisco. "You'll see that in my home – lots of layers and lots of patterns."

Growing up in Connecticut, she often would rearrange her bedroom, mimicking her mother and grandmother, who both had a keen eye for classic decor and a penchant for antiques.

Most of my sense of style came to me at an early age by osmosis," she says.

In 1990, after graduating from college, Lufkin moved to San Francisco, where, for a time, she worked at Sue Fisher King, a home furnishings store. But it was the five years spent at the design firm of Tedrik & Bennett that toned her craft and business savvy. These days the designer splits her time between her 3 sons, her budding firm and her husband, James Faber, who is an owner of DeLessio Market and Bakery in San Francisco.

Her clientele, the designer allows, is largely young families in San Francisco and Marin County. And like Lufkin, most have pets.

"I like kid, dog-and kid-friendly interiors," says Lufkin, who named her business after Sullivan, her perky-eared corgi. (Needless to say, Lufkin, incorporates a good amount of Scotchgard into her designs.)

Lufkin doesn't "do houses from the ground up." Instead, she happily concentrates on "the quick fix," the aesthetic – furniture, window treatments, wall coverings and the like found at an exclusive list of Bay Area showrooms and out-of-way shops, including Tancredi & Morgen near Carmel and Belmar Upholstery in San Francisco.

"She lived with antiques and sells antiques," says Michael Tedrick, Lufkin's former boss and a 25-year-veteran in the field. 'She’s combed the great auction houses and antiques shops of the world. Even those with professional training don’t have that ‘in the trenches education,' if you will."

Lufkin counts New Yorkers Sister Parish and Bunny Williams (who decorated her grandmother’s house) as her mentors. To be sure, the legendary designer's timeless, witty influence is evident in Lufkin's home, a 1915 Cape Cod-style house overlooking San Francisco Bay.

Inside, Mother Nature is a full-time guest, and the ambience is unabashedly English country. Everything is cozy, relaxed and above all, functional – anything but ultra-modern.

Dogs are everywhere in the Pacific Heights house – in framed paintings, in sculptures and scampering about underfoot. Once, she made the mistake of "buying an antique needlepoint rug and corgi puppy at the same time," Lufkin recently told House Beautiful magazine, in which she was listed alongside 15 other designer as "The Next Wave" of talent.


Lufkin's favorite hue? Green, lots of green (think sage-toned toile), although straw yellow, robin's-egg blue and rich reds also swath her three-story house.


A rocking chair in her baby's room, for instance, is an early American antique covered in a Cowtan & Tout green strié fabric. Artist Carol Thosath painted the walls with yellow-hued scenes from Tasha Tudors' children's book "Corgiville Fair," and the sisal rug and curtains were derived from an antique Swedish Applique.


Family heirlooms, some of which were handed down from Lufkin's great-grandmother's early 1900s home in Old Westbury on Long Island, are carefully placed throughout the house.


"Alison grew up in houses where good design was honored and respected," Tedrick says. "There's something to be said for a certain life experience and (an) understanding of details, of running a proper household and knowing not only what a butler's pantry is but what it was designed for."


For Lufkin, it's a simple philosophy: "People underestimate the importance of tradition and having a house that's lived in," Lufkin says. "I try to live that way and design with that in mind."



The Next Wave (rising stars)

Alison Lufkin   Born: New York, NY, 1967; lives and works in San Francisco, CA

When did you realize you were a designer?

When I was little I began rearranging my bedroom weekly and moved from there to redecorating Barbieland.


What's your house like?

A Cape Cod-style white clapboard house on a hill overlooking San Francisco Bay. It's furnished with family heirlooms and English antiques.


What's your favorite local landmark?

The Golden Gate Bridge. I love how its vibrant orange color stands out against a beautiful blue sky.


What's your favorite color combination?

Straw yellow, robin's-egg blue, and sage green.


If you had only one material to work with what would it be?

Sage-green toile.


Who's your favorite decorator?

Sister Parish, for her timeless, classic style and sense of whimsy.


What's your favorite chair?

A basic desk chair from Office Depot. I upholstered it in a beautiful Brunschwig & Fils stripe.


If you could go back in time, where would you stop?

The early 1900s in Old Westbury, Long Island, to visit my great-grandmother and her beautiful house and gardens.


What's the worst decorating mistake you've made?

Buying an antique needlepoint rug and a corgi puppy at the same time.


What's your most unlikely source for great stuff?

Tancredi & Morgen near Carmel, California




Alison appeared in the August 29th 2004 HGTV episode of "HOMES ACROSS AMERICA"  which featured her own home in San Francisco