The Ultimate San Francisco Travel Guide for the Color Obsessed
What I remember about a city is its color. Paris lives on in my mind as a light gray and soft pink city, while Portland, Oregon is made up of an array of greens and cloudy whites. While all sorts of qualities make up a city’s character, the lasting inspiration often lies in the unique color stories we see. So why not create a travel guide based on experiencing these magnificent palettes? With the help of the Sherwin-Williams® ColorSnap® Visualizer app, we’re bringing you a series of travel guides for cities by way of their seriously dreamy color palettes.
Up first: Brit + Co’s home base, San Francisco. This travel guide was created with two ideas in mind: What places should you go to see brilliant color stories that will *also* give you a good grasp of what the City by the Bay is all about? Luckily, SF is chock-full of beautiful vistas, vibrant cityscapes, and crazy beautiful architecture, so there’s no shortage of places to find inspiration.
Thanks to ColorSnap Visualizer app, we have a tool to bring these incredible color palettes off of our cameras and into our home. ColorSnap Visualizer app samples colors from your photos and creates a customizable palette using Sherwin-Williams paint colors. With the help of ColorSnap Visualizer app, we created the following color palettes from our travels. We even applied one to an office space renovation, which you can peek at the end of this post.
First stop: Twin Peaks. We’ll start at the southern end of the city. Twin Peaks offers sweeping views of San Francisco, the San Francisco Bay, and even the East Bay across the water. The constant fog keeps Northern California’s infamous rolling hills a vibrant, lustrous green, and we ain’t mad about it. Twin Peaks is one of the best places to see these colorful hills up close. The greens and yellows nicely juxtapose with the hazy blues and whites of the cityscape beyond, don’t you think?
Witness the famous Painted Ladies. Talk about colorful! San Francisco is known for its charming Victorian houses found throughout the city, but most famously along Alamo Square in NoPa. We locals are pretty proud of the picturesque silhouettes, pastel colors, and ornate faces of these historical homes. And here’s a fun fact: These houses used to be painted Battleship gray due to surplus paint from WWI And WWII, but were updated in the ‘60s to their colorful state. Swing by Alamo Square to experience this magical architecture IRL, then walk down to NoPa for great boutique shopping and even greater food.
Hop on a cable car in the Financial District. The cable cars that run through downtown (until 1am!) are an iconic San Francisco sight that we try *so* hard not to take for granted. What other city uses life-sized toy cars as effective public transportation? What’s more, they’re a total photo-op: The golden trolleys pair perfectly with the sea-green reflections in the high rises they pass between.
Head to bustling Chinatown. With its vivid colors, buzzing streets, and strings of celebratory lanterns up all year round, Chinatown is a must for color inspo. There are tons of hues to be inspired by here, but we were particularly taken by the reds, pinks, and cream tones found throughout the architecture and store decor. We strongly suggest you pick up a steamed pork bun and a freshly made fortune cookie while you’re in the hood.
Walk over to North Beach. The first stop in this celebrated neighborhood? Check out the Sentinel Building, San Francisco’s tiny version of New York’s Flatiron. Found on the cusp of Chinatown and North Beach and just a block away from the famed Transamerica Pyramid, this awe-inspiring emerald building is rumored to house the office spaces of famous filmmakers! But you didn’t hear it from us ;) Personally, we love it for its unique architecture and how it juxtaposes against the white and blue high rises flocked behind it.
Check out the view on Telegraph Hill. You’ve probably realized by now that there’s no shortage of steep hills in this little city, which is arguably why the real estate is so sought after. There are spectacular views every place you go — of the city, the bay, the bay’s islands, the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, even the mountains in neighboring counties. This is especially true on Telegraph Hill, just east of North Beach. Take a stroll through this area to see some wonderfully colorful homes, lush garden stairs, and — you guessed it — incredible views.
Hike up to Coit Tower. At the tippy top of Telegraph Hill stands Coit Tower, which offers a rad 360 view of Downtown SF, the bay, North Beach, Russian Hill, and beyond. As far as color stories go, this stop will offer dozens — it just depends on what direction you’re facing! The view above depicts the tree-lined streets of Telegraph Hill, funky, bright and whitewashed North Beach homes and the skyscrapers that fill the Financial District. We’re loving the ombre effect from green, to white, to blue, with pops of sunny yellow.
Picnic at Crissy Field. On the north coast of San Francisco lies Crissy Field, a span of green fields and beaches lining the bay. Translation: This is the ultimate picnic spot. While you’re nomming on some sandos, make sure to check out the beautiful historic buildings that dot the former US Army airfield. We’re about to nerd out for a sec, but we have *mad* crushes on the coral/ivory combo of these buildings. They’re so Instagram-able! Whatever army general decided on that color scheme had great taste :)
Ogle at the Golden Gate Bridge: Duh! This giant needs no introduction. Be sure to witness our proudest asset during your stay. This baby is beautiful from ALL directions, but we’re partial to the view just north of the bridge at Battery Spencer. The best part of the bridge is its chameleon tendency: The colors of the bridge, the water below, and the city beyond change with the time of day. If you visit on a foggy morning, you’re sure to see a lovely sight like the one above — with the bridge offering a punch of red on an otherwise misty scene. If you visit at dusk on a clear evening, the bridge’s traffic lights light up like electric wires beneath a sunset sky. It’s stunning.
See the sunset at Rodeo Beach. It wouldn’t be a complete trip without a visit to one of the Bay Area’s cold and beautiful beaches. We’re partial to the lesser-known Rodeo Beach, a Pacific Ocean beach just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Why? You’re sure to beat the crowds, and the drive is just as beautiful as the destination. Stop by in the evening to enjoy a pastel sunset that the Northern California coast is known for, complete with peaches, creams, and gray-blue hues. Just be sure to bring a jacket!
LET SAN FRANCISCO INSPIRE YOUR HOME DECOR
Wanna see *just* how easy it is to use the ColorSnap Visualizer app to redecorate? We’ll show you! We renovated an office space with the photo of the Golden Gate Bridge as our inspiration.
First, we extracted colors from the photo. Those bubbles you see can be moved around, so you can create your own customized color palette from any image.
Then we got painting! We painted the office’s walls in three tones — Grape Mist SW 6548, Lite Lavender SW 6554, and Pure White SW 7005 — to mimic the silhouettes of the hills and cityscape in the background of the photo. Then we painted our desk Raucous Orange SW 6883 and the chair Fireweed SW 6328 because they’re the focal point of the room, just like the bridge is the focal point of the photo :) We further decorated with classically San Francisco vibes: a nod to mid-century decor, layered textures, and lots and lots of plants.
See? It’s *that* easy to have a vacation directly inspire your home decor :)
There you have it: a San Francisco travel guide with color as your compass, and a demo of *just* how simple it is to apply these Bay Area color palettes to your home decor. Stay tuned for more travel guides of our favorite destinations!
Putting this travel guide to use on your next trip to San Francisco? We want to see! Share photos on Instagram and tag #britstagram so we can take a peek!
Color Palettes: Maddie Bachelder + Karen Pham
Photography: Brittany Griffin + Adam Naples
This Jewelry Designer Infuses ‘90s Hip Hop, Caribbean Spice + Vibrant Hues into Everything She Makes
This Jewelry Designer Infuses '90s Hip Hop, Caribbean Spice + Vibrant Hues into Everything She Makes
Vibrant hues, '90s-era boldness, and raw artisanal beauty — these are just a few of the characteristics that make the work of today's creative crush truly swoonworthy. Named for a potent Caribbean pepper, Tracey-Renee Hubbard's Scotchbonnet is a gorgeous line of earrings and accessories made by hand with love, thoughtfulness and a resolute passion for the art of making.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and super fan of Scotchbonnet! Like so many creative connections these days, I first connected with designer Tracey-Renee when she DM'ed the @britandco IG account and we featured her work in a story roundup of BIPOC makers. A few weeks later, she applied and won a scholarship to our first session of the Selfmade program where Brit and I both had the privilege of mentoring and working with Tracey-Renee on her brand, her business plan, and her mission. Since then she's been awarded a minority creative grant from JOANN Fabrics, and seriously upleveled her production process thanks to a collaboration with Glowforge. (PS: B+C readers can get 20% off their own Glowforge Pro by clicking here!)
Now I am thrilled to be able to share more about this brilliant maker's journey, inspiration and creative process in this edition of Creative Crushin'.
Anjelika Temple: Before we get into learning all about your creative inspiration, tell us a little about your background.
Tracey-Renee Hubbard: I was born and raised in Wisconsin. Yep, lots of cheese and cows. Growing up in Wisconsin right outside of Milwaukee provided me with a surprisingly diverse and eclectic foundation. My parents stressed the importance of academics, but they didn't believe that excelling at school needed to come at the expense of creativity or other hobbies. Art, music, books and softball were a big chunk of my childhood. Crafting and creating have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
One of my favorite shows to watch when I was growing up was "A Different World." It was about the college experience at a fictitious HBCU (Historically Black College/University) called Hillman College. Watching that show inspired me to go to Florida A&M University (an HBCU) where I received a BS in Business Management and an MBA.
The world changes quickly and I love learning new things! After completing my MBA program, I studied graphic design, multimedia art and completed the Merchandise Product Development program at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in San Francisco. My academic and professional experiences have given me the opportunity to live and work in lots of interesting places; but for now I am based in the San Francisco Bay area.
Anj: Did you always know that you wanted to be a professional artist/creative?
Tracey-Renee: Yep, but for a long time I was afraid to do it because of the "starving artist" stigma (all lies, btw). I tried to compartmentalize my creative practices as just a "hobby", but when something is truly in your spirit the desire never really goes away…and so now here I am!
Anj: What do you love about making things? What keeps the spark going for you?
Tracey-Renee: I've been inspired to create for as long as I can remember! I've always been fascinated by color, texture, travel and cultural connection. I grew up watching my grandmother quilt, sew and mend garments, I saw my Mom create beautiful home décor and heirloom holiday decorations and spent time in my Dad's workshop. Being surrounded by unique handmade items that hold special stories has fueled my passion for being a designer and maker.
Anj: Like so many artists, you've got a day job in addition to your creative hustle. Tell us about your career path.
Tracey-Renee: My first "real job" was in pharmaceutical sales and marketing. I loved the left brain/right brain mix of processing all the data and scientific information and then finding creative ways to relay that information to doctors and health care providers. That role really opened my eyes to the power of messaging and visual communication tools which ultimately led to me returning to school to study digital design and multimedia arts. I've had fun using my marketing and digital design skills in several different industries. I currently work as the Director of Marketing and Creative Strategy for a candy company. I spend a lot of time working in the digital realm – I think most of us do- and that makes me really appreciate the time I spend making handmade jewelry for Scotchbonnet.
Anj: Tell me more about your brand Scotchbonnet! How would you describe your brand's mission?
Tracey-Renee: I want to make pieces that are cherished - special but not so "precious" that they sit in a box stored away for special occasions that are far and few between. My accessories are known for their bold shapes, bright colors and eye-catching patterns. Each piece is handmade with love (I hope my customers can feel it when they wear their Scotchbonnet accessories)!
Scotchbonnet jewelry has been described as "conversation starters" and I love the fact that they connect people and get them to start conversing. I am excited about elevating those conversations by creating capsule collections connected to social causes; that way the chat can go beyond just "cute earrings, where'd you get them?"
Anj: At Brit + Co, we are enamored with bright colors, patterns and geometric shapes -- and clearly, you are too! How did you hone in on your aesthetic?
Tracey-Renee: I chose the name Scotchbonnet for my jewelry brand because scotch bonnet peppers add a distinctively potent spice to Caribbean food and I feel that my jewelry has the same vibe. My accessories are known for vibrant hues, bold shapes and eye-catching patterns. I am inspired by the flashiness of 90s hip-hop, the simplicity of modern luxury, and the raw beauty of artisan goods from the African Diaspora. My aesthetic continues to evolve based on the things I love, the places I've been and the community I want to serve.
Anj: We LOVED mentoring you + helping your business grow during our first Selfmade session. What were your main takeaways from the program and experience?
Tracey-Renee: Selfmade helped me understand the importance of having a clear vision and trusting my intuition. It can be inspirational watching other entrepreneurs "hustling and winning" on their social media feeds, but without clarity about my vision that "inspiration" can be overwhelming and make things confusing. It's easy to confuse movement with progress – Selfmade helped me craft an action plan that ensures each step builds momentum and accelerates me toward my goals. Selfmade also provided me with a vibrant, uplifting community of founders, entrepreneurs and go-getters.
Anj: When you get creatively blocked or burnt out, how do you reset? Do you have tips you can share?
Tracey-Renee: I take a break. We're inundated with "hustle culture" that can make us feel guilty for taking a break, but at the end of the day we're of no value to anyone when we're burnt out. When I have a creative block I usually log off for a while… there's this duality with the internet where on the surface it seems to be an endless pool of inspiration, but in reality everything that's on the internet has already been filtered or curated by someone else. Sometimes it's helpful to see things through a new lens and find inspiration in ("real" physical) books, at a museum or out in nature. Seeing things in a new light from a different angle can be a really refreshing creative jolt.
Anj: What does your workspace look like? What tools do you use and how has it changed over the years?
Tracey-Renee: I'd describe it as "choreographed chaos". It's organized enough so that I can be efficient with the administrative parts of my business like: inventory management, packing and shipping. It's creative enough so that it still feels inspiring, and it's tidy enough that it doesn't feel overwhelming to sit down and start working. It smells like coconut or tropical fruit (thanks to my candles) and it sounds like hip-hop, dance hall, soca or afrobeats.
The primary mediums I work with are wood, paint, glass beads and recently brass. With that being said my paint brushes, needle & thread and jeweler's saw are always within close reach. The most recent addition to my studio is my Glowforge Pro 3D laser printer; it is a game changer! It shrunk my product development cycle time infinitely. Prior to the Glowforge the process was time consuming and costly; now, I can literally "print" a new design within minutes of sketching out an idea. It's also been awesome when it comes to inventory management and sustainability. I no longer have to worry about over-producing or wasting materials; I can make exactly what I need right when I need it without any waste. The Glowforge can make millions of things and I'm excited about trying new design ideas in the future. I have a ton of sketches and inspo photos on my magnet board and in my notebooks waiting to be explored. (ICYMI: B+C readers can get 20% off their own Glowforge Pro by clicking here!)
Anj: What advice do you have for emerging artists and designers just getting started? What advice do you have for creatives struggling to find their unique voice?
Tracey-Renee: Start with your "why" and not your "what". Your "why" will be the secret weapon that competitors will never be able to touch. Once you have that part figured out; dive in! I think that now is a really exciting time for creatives. The rise of entrepreneurship powered by social media has removed a lot of barriers that used to make creative careers seem out of reach. Protect your work, but don't be afraid to put yourself (and your stuff!) out there. Connect with other artists and build a community, it's so important to have a sounding board for difficult times and a crew with whom you can celebrate your successes.
Anj: What's next for your brand?
Tracey-Renee: Scaling and growing in a way that feels authentic. I have new colors and new products coming soon and I am super excited about that! My upcoming premium capsule collections are close to my heart; designing jewelry inspired by social causes and having a "give back" component means the world to me. I want to keep having fun with my brand, sharing joy with fun colors and patterns and infusing love into each handmade piece.