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The Long View
Julie Chaiken and her son Ethan
 
Julie Chaiken emerges from her home office, baby in one hand and cell phone in the other. "I'm seriously multitasking today," she says. As the founder and president of Chaiken, a clothing line for fashion-forward professional women, and as the mother of 10-month-old Zach and 2-year-old Ethan, it's safe to say Julie is almost always doing several things at once.

Except, that is, when she drops into a soft white chair in her living room and stares out the windows—at a San Francisco Bay view so wide that it includes the Presidio, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Suddenly, everything is calm and washed in Pacific light.

And Julie, who spends nearly a quarter of her time in New York running a company that now has its clothes in more than 300 stores nationwide, is visibly relaxed. "I can have a crazy day and come home and immediately feel"—she sighs a deep sigh—"I'm home."
In Julie Chaiken's dining room
 
The four-level, 3,200-square-foot Russian Hill home that Julie and her husband, Scott Grigsby, purchased in 2001 is serene, cozy and—necessary for a couple with two young children, a cat and a dog—nearly indestructible. With its clean lines and sophisticated, neutral colors, the 1950s-era house has been remodeled to serve as a retreat for the family and as an inspiration for the fashion designer.

"Julie has very refined taste, and you can see it all through the house," says Greg Stewart, a principal at San Francisco's Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Design Associates, who worked with Julie and Scott as well as with the home's previous owners. "From her fashion background, she's developed a great sense of line, color, and texture."
In Julie Chaiken's master bedroom
 
The four-level, 3,200-square-foot Russian Hill home that Julie and her husband, Scott Grigsby, purchased in 2001 is serene, cozy and—necessary for a couple with two young children, a cat and a dog—nearly indestructible. With its clean lines and sophisticated, neutral colors, the 1950s-era house has been remodeled to serve as a retreat for the family and as an inspiration for the fashion designer.

"Julie has very refined taste, and you can see it all through the house," says Greg Stewart, a principal at San Francisco's Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Design Associates, who worked with Julie and Scott as well as with the home's previous owners. "From her fashion background, she's developed a great sense of line, color, and texture."
A Chinese jade vessel, a Sven Jonsson vase and Japanese iron
 
No piece in her house draws attention to itself. Instead, there's a sense of overall harmony. The palette is quiet—taupe, whites and sand, with touches of green and aqua in a planter, sofa pillows, and glass bowls. Like her clothing, which emphasizes the cut and quality of fabric—"I dress simply, no sequins, buckles, or bows," she explains—Julie's home is free of flounces and fussy arrangements.

For instance, here Julie and Scott have gathered a number of contemporary art pieces and crafts including a 1920s-era Chinese jade vessel, a Sven Jonsson striped vase and a Japanese iron piece.
Julie Chaiken's kitchen
 
With Stewart's help, the couple also made careful choices in textures and tones. "Scott likes things very modern, and Julie always wants things warmer," Stewart says. So instead of white paint in the kitchen, they picked off-white; rather than metal or glass tables in the living room, they went for wood; and for the TV room, they preferred round-edged chairs to those with hard angles. "It's like my clothes," Julie says, "made for women with curves!"

The couple didn't plan on remodeling their kitchen until a neighbor mistakenly crashed a car through one wall. After that "happy accident" they redid the entire room, adding a GE Monogram microwave and installing gold-toned granite counters and bleached sycamore cabinets to brighten the space.
Julie Chaiken's dining room
 
There's plenty of room to rub elbows with guests—at least for one night. "We like to entertain more than we like to have people over for extended stays," Julie says. She can seat up to ten guests at the 1940s-era Robsjohn-Gibbings table from Donzella. Julie placed two Japanese black lacquered vases on the console.

While Julie's house was strongly influenced by her fashion sensibility, designing her home has affected her clothing line, too. "In some ways, home design is way ahead of fashion," she explains. The shift to softer neutrals, she says, happened in home fabrics before clothing, and she's now taking those shades and textures back to her fashion studio.
Julie Chaiken's living room
 
Julie picked the furnishings for her home the way she hopes women buy her clothes—not just for one season, but for many seasons. "There's a definite practicality to how I design," she says. "I ask, 'Would a woman wear that fabric? How would it drape? Can she live in it?'"

The fabric and furniture choices for the house were made with similar questions in mind. "Each piece of furniture functions in real life," Julie says. "We want to have the kids in the living room, and our dog climbs the couch."

The branch-shaped, porcelain Rococo candlestick is by designer Ted Muehling.