Above Image: Una Malan. Photo by Douglas Friedman.
UK-born designer and entrepreneur Una Malan is known for founding directional San Francisco and LA showrooms that inform California style with a refined European sensibility. This year, Malan launched her latest venture, Una Casa Privada, an immersive showroom in a spectacular Hollywood Hills home where visitors can experience the collections she represents in a residential setting. As Malan shares, it is a space where she can fully express her own aesthetic, as we all as host fashion, music, and culinary events to explore other dimensions of design and culture. Here, she shares the journey to creating the space, as well as a preview of global new collections she is bringing to San Francisco.
Una Casa Privada
Please tell us about this beautiful home—it was built in the 1930s and is so evocative of that era in the city. What about it spoke to you, personally?
I’ve always loved the Hollywood Hills, and I gravitate toward interesting architecture, so this house really appealed to me. Its layers peel away as you explore the different spaces and I just fell madly in love its energy, layout, and flow. It feels like a sanctuary. And the natural light is incredible—it gives you a lightness in your soul.
The living room featuring collections represented by Una Malan.
The interiors are a celebration of the collections you represent, but how does it reflect your own aesthetic?
The design is deeply personal, I agonized over it! We redid the floors, bathrooms, and kitchen; we added moldings to enhance the historical architecture. Everything is intentional. And although I always love seeing how interior designers interpret our pieces, all the things here are very me. The art and furniture will evolve over time, of course, but it will always reflect who I am. And I feel so happy here! I literally say out loud, “I love you,” as I walk through the spaces. But doing this project also opened my eyes to areas we were missing at the showrooms, so that was exciting, too.
The stairway landing and primary bedroom featuring collections represented by Una Malan.
Would you share a few of your new introductions?
I’m thrilled to bring Belgian textile company Designs of the Time to San Francisco! The textures and hand are exquisite, and they do muted colors that coordinate so well. They have a die-hard following, much like English designer Rose Uniacke, who was new to San Francisco when we first opened. Also new is Belgian designer Tom Muyters. His debut capsule collection of seating, tables, and case pieces has a refined aesthetic. He uses lime plaster—or tadelakt, an ancient and more polished version of plaster—woods, and metals, and how they interact is so special, very new and clean. We’re the first to represent him in the U.S.
Are any lines exclusive to the San Francisco showroom?
Yes, British furniture designer Tom Faulkner. When I had my first small design job, I got the clients to go for his dining chairs. Now we represent him, so it’s really come full circle!
Is there a unique spirit to each showroom?
In San Francisco, we have white-painted brick walls and loft-like windows, so it’s in keeping with the city, and we’ve been able to add more color and pattern, and to bring pieces to life in different ways than in LA. William Morris is having a huge moment now and we have a designer using one of his printed velvets on our Greystone sofa—it will be so stunning and different! Our showrooms are contemporary, but I think San Francisco really reflects how our pieces, especially those from our own collection, can work with more traditional fabrics and interiors.
With the excitement over Una Casa Privada, might there one day be something similar in San Francisco?
I’ve always thought about it, and I did look at a property in Napa. Let’s just say it’s a twinkle in my eye.