Designer Friday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With Gioi Tran

Bold, inviting and dynamic are the three adjectives to describe Applegate Tran Interiors design aesthetic. One half of the duo, Gioi Tran, has been a partner since founding it in 1999 with Vernon Applegate. With over 2 decades of designing homes all over the country from Hawaii, New York, and the Alamo under their belt, Applegate Tran Interiors have left clients feeling heard and understood with their thoughtful design. Not only does Gioi bring his keen eye for design but he has also provided exquisite artwork in client’s homes. Applegate Tran Interiors has been featured in numerous publications such as Designers Today, Elle Decor and now aspire design and home. Introducing this week’s Designer Friday, Gioi Tran of Applegate Tran Interiors.

The focal point of this room is the gorgeous artwork by Gioi Tran. It captures the combination of modern and classical elements and perfectly suits the other metallic works found in this chic entryway.

The focal point of this room is the gorgeous artwork by Gioi Tran. It captures the combination of modern and classical elements and perfectly suits the other metallic works found in this chic entryway.

Andrew Joseph: If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Gioi Tran: I want to be able to fly like a bird. It saves time as I can just jump into the sky and get to where I need to be without any hassle, and I can see the world from a completely unique perspective!

Andrew: If you weren’t a designer, you’d be a?
Gioi: I would be a chef! Hands down, it is my greatest passion after design and painting!

Andrew: What was your first job?
Gioi: I have never been lazy in my entire life and have always had a job! Even at the early age of 9, I wanted to be productive and make my own money. Back then, I was a newspaper delivery boy starting at 5 am, then I would go around my neighborhood cutting grass and doing yard work in the summer, and shoveling snow in the winter, and lots and lots of babysitting. I am still hustling every day!

Sophisticated and modern pieces are perfectly placed in this living area designed by Applegate Tran Interiors. You can find architectural and beautiful furnishings from NIDO living, Arkeinsitu, and DZINE Gallery.

Sophisticated and modern pieces are perfectly placed in this living area designed by Applegate Tran Interiors. You can find architectural and beautiful furnishings from NIDO living, Arkeinsitu, and DZINE Gallery.

Andrew: Are you a good cook? If so, what’s your specialty?
Gioi: I love to cook! Vietnamese comfort food is my passion, but of course, other cuisines such as Italian are top of my list. During COVID, I explored the world virtually through expanding my culinary skills, branching into Korea, Cuba, Morocco, Austria, and more for recipes and inspiration. I think my partner Vernon enjoys this exploration as well.

Andrew: Are you a pet person? Why either way? Dogs or cats?
Gioi: Yes! Pets are the best companions; they love and adore you unconditionally in a very pure way, with or without lots of treats! They make you feel needed and desired. And I love animals, but I am team DOG. Our pup Luigi is a central part of our family!

Andrew: What are three binge-worthy TV shows/movies that you’ve been watching?
Gioi: I have been engrossed with three distinctively different genres binging Ozark, The Queens Gambit, and The Crown. In between painting which takes up most of my free time.

There is nothing that beats that view or that custom orange Kyle Bunting rug. The vibrant pairing of the hide rug with the glorious orange couch speaks volumes.

There is nothing that beats that view or that custom orange Kyle Bunting rug. The vibrant pairing of the hide rug with the glorious orange couch speaks volumes.

Andrew: What do you find yourself daydreaming about most these days?
Gioi: Gardening. I would till the soil, place the plants, nurture and water them and talk to the plants daily. I planted and how happy they are.

Andrew: What’s your go-to playlist for dancing alone in your living room?
Gioi: Back to the 70’s Disco! Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, Diana Ross – I blast while driving to our job sites, and it is especially important to blast some Donna while crossing the Bay Bridge!

Photography by Christopher Stark.


About The Designer | Applegate Tran Interiors is located in the Mission District of San Francisco and was established in 1999 by its principal designers Vernon Applegate and Gioi Tran. In addition to many years of creating bold, inviting, and dynamic spaces all over the world, our team has extensive experience in the fine, culinary, visual, and performing arts. All of this not only places us on the cutting edge of design trends, it grounds us with an understanding of timeless and beautiful design.

The services we offer range from fresh décor updates to ground up new construction projects. We specialize in architectural finishes, space planning, art curation, and custom furniture. Our clients appreciate the design process which is uniquely catered to them and their personalities and creates an elevated, more enjoyable, way for them to live or work in their space. We inspire our clients to reach outside the box and go further than they imagined by introducing creative and unique concepts.


Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for aspire design and home magazine. See more of his work here.

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