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"Small Spaces. Big Ideas."

Head downstairs during the Festival Opening Night Party and join us for this intimate conversation with leading design innovators taking place during the Opening Night Party!

Small-space living has become a cultural phenomenon. The swing-back to urban living in San Francisco is marked by the arrival of all manner of small-space dwellings from micro-apartments to high-end condominium developments, chock full of luxury amenities. For some, a tiny home is a conscious design decision. For others, it’s a practical necessity in our increasingly expensive city. At every level, reducing your square footage presents challenges, and design opportunities for homeowners.


Leading design innovators will explore what space-space living means to creative interiors experts, discussing dynamic and inventive solutions. The lively discussion is accompanied by a slide show contributed to by the panelists. The panel is moderated by San Francisco magazine Style & Design Editor Erin Feher.


  • Karen Curtiss, AIA, Principal, Red Dot Studio

  • Eche Martinez, Founder, ECHE

  • Erin Hiemstra, Blogger / Founder, Apartment 34

  • Nancy Obedin, Design Associate, Room & Board

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Karen Curtiss, AIA, Principal, Red Dot Studio

Born and raised on the East Coast, Karen Curtiss studied in Scotland and lived in Hungary when the iron curtain fell, while training in the sport of fencing, before settling in San Francisco in 1995. Her time overseas gave her an appreciation for old and new architecture rubbing shoulders with each other and informed her respect for cultural context, and improving the human experience.

Karen holds an MA in Philosophy from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, a MA in Interior Architecture and obtained her architecture license through apprenticeship while an Associate at EHDD Architecture. Karen absorbed the Bay Area Tradition, taking every opportunity to tour Esherick houses and through working on complex institutional projects, developed excellent project management skills. With a profound respect for the skill of a good construction crew and client relations, Karen sees her role on a project as both the generator and the keeper of good ideas no matter who proposes them.

Eche Martinez, Founder, ECHE

Featured in Wallpaper, House Beautiful and Luxe as one of the nation’s top emerging design talents, Eche Martinez is the founder of San Francisco based interior design firm ECHE.

The virtuosity of the firm’s work is influenced by Eche’s background in architecture and luxury branding. His work draws on these experiences as well as a broad range of cultural references to create spaces that feel at once timeless and exciting. His thoughtful use of contemporary art, antiques and custom elements have become distinctive of the firm’s award-winning work. Never limited by the doctrines of any particular style or ephemeral trend, Eche creates environments that feel both timeless and current. Eche believes design should be led by a sense of refinement that is unexpected and approachable.

A native of Buenos Aires, Eche established his design practice in San Francisco after completing studies in Paris. His cosmopolitan eye has landed him a key role in San Francisco’s design community where he caters to a diverse client portfolio. Eche has completed projects for private and public use that include historic, large-scale restorations to cabins on-board the exclusive MS The World, the largest privately owned residential yacht.

Erin Hiemstra, Blogger / Founder, Apartment 34

Erin Hiemstra is the founder of the lifestyle site Apartment, offering inspiring tips and ideas for an intentional approach to modern living. Created in 2008, for the past decade Erin has chronicled life's joys; design, style, travel and entertaining, creating a resource for the style savvy around the globe. Erin’s interior styling projects have been featured in Architectural Digest, Sunset Magazine, San Francisco Magazine, Rue Magazine, MyDomaine, Lonny, HGTV, Design*Sponge, Refinery 29, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy & many more. Her latest project has been restoring a historic Victorian in Bayview. 


Nancy Obedin, Design Associate, Room & Board

"Design Associate Nancy Obedin, has worked at the Room & Board in San Francisco for over 11 years. During that time she has designed a range of projects from small San Francisco apartments, homes for empty nesters downsizing, to one very unique studio suite and condo on the World Residences at Sea. In addition, she has collaborated on a ski home for a musician, a group home for young women with autism, a number of vacation homes and countless other beautiful spaces for her customers."

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