Arthur McLaughlin grew up surrounded by style, the son of a San Fernando Valley decorator mother and a contractor father. Summers were spent renovating houses with his father; free time was spent absorbing the grandeur and glamour of nearby Hollywood. His career began with James Northcutt Associates in Los Angeles, where he worked directly with Northcutt on “public and large scale projects,” like the Bel Air Hotel and The Mansion on Turtle Creek, in Dallas, Texas. The experience, McLaughlin says, put him “years ahead of the education process” for an interior designer, a process also accelerated by his access to Southern California’s vibrant design community. It was during this time that McLaughlin worked designing sets for Paramount Pictures, which McLaughlin cites in teaching him “how spaces can change.” That, plus knowledge gleaned while helping with his father’s remodeling projects, gives him a unique approach to interior design. “Some people walk into a space and see one thing; I walk in and see walls gone, furniture in different places,” he explains. “Immediately, my mind is asking how we can make this place function best. I know what a load-bearing wall is and what isn’t, how to change an environment and increase value.” “There’s an old saying,” McLaughlin adds. “Form follows function. That’s so true.” In 1982, McLaughlin, by now running his own design firm, moved north to San Francisco. Upon his arrival he “fell into” something new: staging properties for sale. Almost immediately, he became an important pioneer in the burgeoning field, staging high-end properties for boldface San Francisco names like Getty, Newsom and Swig. “It was a wonderful time for me,” he recalls. “I did so many homes on Outer Broadway, I could count four houses I’d done on almost every block.” Though most well-known as a stager, McLaughlin has concurrently spent the past three decades designing permanent interiors for some of the Bay Area’s most significant homes, working with a client list that includes, most recently, important figures in the tech industry. “Permanent interiors are a different animal,” McLaughlin notes. “It’s really personalized. We interview clients and ask what they like. Hearing what people are saying, really listening to them, that determines what they need, and what we design for them...You have to take the style you’ve chosen and make sure it functions within a client’s needs; if you don’t, they’ll come back and change it later. That’s a crime.” Whatever the project, Arthur McLaughlin approaches it with an eye toward function, value and a client’s personal style.