Raised in Buenos Aires, schooled in Paris, and now living in San Francisco, designer Eche Martinez has merged a lifetime of aesthetic influences into a bold and sophisticated decorating style. A fearless devotee of color (he credits his Argentinian roots) and a sucker for gracefully-lined furniture and contemporary art pairings, Eche has become known for his elegant and modern-feeling rooms that veer towards irreverence. In addition to being selected to participate in the SF Decorator Showcase for the past two years, Eche has racked up accolades from Wallpaper, House Beautiful and more, making him one of the go-to designers for Bay Area movers and shakers. Ahead, get a look at the items Eche is currently coveting on Chairish, and discover his best tricks of the trade, including the global hotspots he always hits up for design inspiration!
What do you love about shopping on Chairish?
From day one, I’ve been a huge fan of Chairish. I love the brand’s quirky vibe and the fun of discovering vintage gems with tons of personality.
Is there any particular product category where Chairish is your go-to?I’m obsessed with seating that comes as a pair: it could be two lounge chairs, two side chairs, even a pair of benches. You can use these sets to complete any room. Use them in an entry hall, at the end of the bed, you name it. These dynamic duos are timeless and chic and the perfect way to create balance in a space.
Favorite thing about designing with vintage pieces:
Vintage pieces are key for making a space look interesting, inviting and layered. Rooms with all brand-new furniture can feel cold and uncultivated. Vintage pieces add soul to a space.
Favorite way to add drama to a room:
Paint can go a long way! I’m a big fan of using bold hues throughout a space. There’s something magical about creating an envelope of color and then filling it with your favorite pieces.
Favorite source for design inspiration:
I don’t even want to know how many hours a day I spend on Pinterest and Instagram. It’s a great way to explore the things that are inspiring other creatives in fashion, graphic design, textiles and, of course, interiors. For IRL inspiration, I’d say my favorite thing ever is to landing in a new city and to just start walking, taking in the architecture and little details.
Favorite paint color:
For neutrals nothing beats Benjamin Moore’s “Rodeo” (1534). It’s a great backdrop that’s just timeless and elegant. For bolder rooms (as an unrepentant blue addict), I have a special place in my heart for Farrow and Ball’s “Drawing Room Blue” (253).
Favorite pattern (and how you love to use it):
I like pattern when it’s small-scaled it almost visually reads a texture, like a mini herringbone that adds a subtle tailored elegance to upholstery, custom placemats or table linens.
Favorite design rule to break:
Don’t be afraid of painting a ceiling a dark color. It’s a great way to add depth and interest to a room that lacks architectural interest.
Favorite color combo:
Blue and green is fresh, timeless and works every time. More punchy greens and blues work well in kids bedrooms and family rooms. More subtle green and blue tones make for great guest bedrooms and breakfast areas.
Favorite way to mix high and low:
Follow your heart and splurge where your heart tells you to do so. In my case, it always comes down to the art. Of course no one has an unlimited budget so, if getting that fantastic piece means you’ll have to take sewing classes to DIY throw pillows or reupholster your dining chairs, I say, do it.
Favorite way to work a bit of vintage into a room:
To give a room depth and narrative, make sure you’re incorporating vintage pieces of different scales. It’s not just about the Marco Zanuso chair or the Gio Ponti coffee table but it’s also about the decorative objects that, together, tell the story of the room.
You live in San Francisco, are originally from Argentina, and have spent a good amount of time in Paris. How have these cities influenced your design style?
Having lived in San Francisco, Buenos Aires and Paris before turning 30 proved to be an enormous source of learning and endless inspiration. I love discovering their unique charms—the architecture, museums, galleries, cafes, plazas—the special and singular gems that make them world-class locations.
Favorite travel destination to relax:
Magical Provincetown in Cape Cod. Come summer, my husband and I never miss a chance to celebrate July 4th. For us (two expats), nothing is more Americana than that!
Favorite travel destination for design inspiration:
In the last couple of years I’ve had the chance to visit close friends in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Luckily for me they live in a super hip neighborhood filled with art galleries, vintage and custom furniture stores.
Favorite hotel to check in to:
Le Roch in Paris. It’s perfectly located on Rue Saint-Roch, a few blocks from the Louvre and the chic boutiques on Saint-Honoré. It has a sexy indoor pool and the bar scene is not to be missed (when you’re there, try their signature “Midnight Confession” cocktail).
Favorite morning beverage (and how you take it):
A cup of Earl Grey French Blue Tea by Mariage Frères, no milk, no sugar.
Favorite thank you/hostess gift:
My homemade biscotti. I’ve been perfecting my secret recipe for the last twenty years.
Favorite adult beverage:
Anything with bubbles.
God is in the details. Maybe God was an interior designer?
Favorite entertaining essential:
A cake stand, it (figuratively and literally) elevates any occasion instantly.
Italian-Argentinian artist Lucio Fontana, the founder of spatialism. His works combine intensity and subtlety like no other.
Favorite thing to collect:
Shoes, shoes and more shoes. My mom taught me: “Elegance and style are all about the shoes.”
Your City: San Francisco
Zuni Cafe. Shoestring fries for lunch on a rainy day. To me it doesn’t get more San Francisco than that.
Favorite hotel to recommend to visiting friends:
The recently-opened Proper Hotel, designed by Kelly Wearstler. Great vibe, great art and great cocktails.
Favorite local culture hub:
FOG Fair at Fort Mason has to be by far my favorite cultural event of the year.
Favorite local attraction:
Off-The-Grid at the Presidio!
Lead photo by Christopher Stark Photography