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Combining Décor and Exotic Destinations

Interior designer Grant K. Gibson expands beyond San Francisco with a travel series called Travels With Grant

For more than 14 years, San Francisco–based interior designer Grant K. Gibson has been busy creating fresh and timeless spaces, ranging from private residences in the Bay Area and New York to tasting rooms for wineries in Healdsburg and St. Helena. His latest project is a salon for hairstylist Todd Reyes in San Francisco’s Union Square. “Think classic blue-and-white pottery and chinoiserie,” says Gibson, whose inaugural design tome, The Curated Home: A Fresh Take on Tradition, will debut this fall. “It’s a boutique salon with a feeling that you have walked into someone’s apartment, maybe in Paris.”

Raised in Los Angeles, Gibson frequently traveled to far-flung countries and visited art galleries, flea markets and antique auctions with his parents, yet his initial career trajectory wasn’t interiors. “I started off thinking that I wanted to be a psychologist and went down that path for a few years,” says Gibson, now one of the country’s most acclaimed designers. “I had just moved to New York and wasn’t really sure what I was doing with my life. A friend suggested that I talk with an interior designer friend that was looking for an assistant. I was hired on the spot with no experience and learned the ins and outs of the business. Growing up, I never thought it was something that one could make into a career.”

In 2004, Gibson officially ventured out on his own with his sophisticated black-and-white Gentleman’s Retreat at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase. “I have clients that are maximalists and want layers and patterns, and others that want simple, more edited homes,” says Gibson. “I love putting on the different hats for each project and collaborating to create a tailored interior that is correct for its inhabitants.”

His latest project, a boutique design travel series entitled Travels With Grant, combines two of his passions. “A lightbulb went off while I was sitting in a hotel in India,” says Gibson, whose first guided five-person trip, Journey to Jaipur, slated for this December, sold out within 24 hours. “I didn’t want to open a shop or launch a fabric line, and wanted to do something different, but I didn’t expect this to be so successful,” he says. “I don’t think of it as a group tour, but rather a private, individual experience with like-minded, design-oriented travelers—I won’t be wearing a headset on a tour bus.”

Photography by: Kathryn McDonald