Advice From Levi Strauss Exec-Turned-Interior-Designer

Last month the San Francisco Chronicle's Ann-Minh Le interviewed interior designer Angela Free, who left her career as an executive with Levi Strauss & Co. to work with individual clients on their homes.

In the story, Free offered a "cheat sheet" of short tips on how to get the most out of an interior design project. One tip, for example, involved layering and contrast:

Rooms with depth and interest are often the result of a multitude of contrasting visual and textural layers - rough and soft, rustic and sophisticated, shiny and matte, dark and light," Free said. "Layering in a multitude of subtle details will create a far more visually interesting room than relying on any one dominant design element which one can tire of over time - quite often sooner rather than later."

She also talked about fabrics, particularly technological advances that have transformed the look and feel of traditional outdoor fabrics from raspy to soft and even sleek.

Recently I spoke with Free to seek out specific advice for those who rent their homes and are limited by what changes are allowed.