Friday, September 26, 2014

Making-Do and Thriving…

 …While continuing to rent, in a Seller’s Market.

For the readers that aren’t familiar with San Francisco’s housing situation, there is something unique about living in San Francisco – primarily the lack of space and it’s an older city, similar to New York. When you’re young and single, you think, “Oh, this place is AMAZING, I have a dishwasher, a garage and the building has a washer and dryer AND a glimmer of a view and it’s only $3k/month.” Yes, that’s what it takes to have an INCREDIBLE place in SF. It’s no secret either, what you pay per month – everyone asks. (Which is very odd for those of us raised to never discuss money.)

If you are one of the lucky ones with rent control and you’ve lived here 5-10 years, you’re in a pretty good spot right now vs. the rest of the newcomers to the City. (Like this adorable family.) With the current prices of real estate, today we are seeing some of the highest home sale prices EVER in San Francisco – it is truly a Seller’s market. $1.2k/Square Foot in this neighborhood is pretty common.

Where does that leave this couple that met, fell in love, were very comfortable in their one bedroom…decided to have not one but two children, always thinking the market would swing the other way? It’s time to get creative!

When I met with Kim for the first time, I felt an instant understanding. When you’re a mom and business owner, you feel a natural kindred spirit. Kim is the Co-owner along with Cristina Serafyn (also a mother) of “Fresh Baby Bites” and Christina introduced the two of us.  In addition, Ava (my daughter) was one of their testers a few years back and loved the food. The food is great and I highly recommend it for any Mothers out there that want to feed their children organic, healthy food but simply lack the time.

Kim and Brendan had already figured out the basic programming when I met with them the first time. Their 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son were already sharing one room – the converted dining room. The son was still in the Stokke crib (on wheels, of course!) and the daughter was in a queen-sized bed. 

The biggest challenge and most clear solution was providing more perceived space on the floor level by utilizing the vertical space provided by historic San Francisco architecture. The goal was clear from the get-go, they know the two children can’t share a room forever so they had a 3-5 year ‘sustainability’ goal.  ‘Get us through the next 3-5 years, so we can figure out what to do but not be in our current uncomfortable state.’


Entry space:

Living Room/ Converted Dining Room – take note – outdoor living space: Phase 2! Key reason not to move in SF. This is a RARE treat and something truly special.


The children’s bedroom in the old dining room, which is just off of the converted dining space in the living room:

Master Bedroom:


After the initial meeting, I shared with Lindsey their story, pictures and my initial reactions and cost-effective, simple solutions for their rental situation as well as overall, big picture furniture layout and what could be repurposed and what needed to go. Lindsey did all of the heavy-duty execution: research and communication with the Kim and assembling the design board, of which I reviewed and checked all items to confirm dimensions would work. Lindsey did a phenomenal job. Together we presented our solution to the couple. 

After the design presentation, Lindsey sent a follow-up email of the items selected during the meeting for Kim to purchase on her own. This list also included the details on paint and temporary wallpaper to be purchased and installed by our handyman. (He’s not really just ours but we love him so we call him ours.)

We timed our first installation for when the really big pieces were to arrive and coordinated painting and Tempaper and lighting installation at the same time. We also had the assistance of our lovely intern, Fiona Hayley, to help us out! (We miss her, but know she's doing great back in IL.) Once the rest of the other items had arrived we came back for the final fluff with accessories to style the space and to take pictures.


Re-imagined entry:

You might have seen this beautiful piece in the kids’ room, we repurposed it for the entry!

Living Room and converted dining space: 

Kids’ Bedroom:

Master Bedroom:

The best part of the whole project was seeing how happy Kim, Brendan and their family are with their refreshed space.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Congrats! You Bought Your FIRST Home, Now What?

In the Bay Area, purchasing your first home is a HUGE deal. Not to downplay the importance in other cities around the US but when you consider that it isn't uncommon for homes to go for $1K/SF, depending upon the zip need to be 100% that you're going to like your new neighborhood and home. You're SO EXCITED to have more than 800SF and the thought of having your own garage is oftentimes a luxury...and oh if there is a dishwasher/ washer & dryer, bonus! But there are certain aspects that you don't particularly love about the home. You may not notice these details in the honeymoon phase of homeownership but this is why you seek help. 

You've managed to come up with (magically and with a lot of hard work) that hefty downpayment and now you have furnishings for an 800SF apartment...but you STILL have to furnish this new home, which is substantially larger than your apartment. AND you don't want to mess up. 

One economical way to approach your first home is to phase your project. What I mean by that is, choose the spaces that are most important to you and focus on making those as 'right' as they can be for this current phase of your life.

For this adorable, young family, we had the pleasure of installing Part 1, of Phase 1 of their FIRST home. Since this project will take a while until we're completely finished, a blog post will quell my desire to get the photographer in there can wait.

Photos of the dining space, just off the entry.
Photos of the entry table, just off the side of the door of the library...really excited about the plans for that space!!! While the homeowners have a closet just around the corner, an entry table is essential for keys, mail, etc. Everyone needs a space to just 'drop' stuff. Unfortunately what you can't see yet is the great little bench that is opposite this table.
This home was built during that time period where people thought it was a good idea to plant things in their home...the 70's? I have a definite Bohemian side so I get it but for those that don't have a green thumb, it just doesn't work. Another thing that was challenging here was that the home has been remodeled no less than three times and each time they didn't try to marry the different parts of the home.

Here we focused on adding drama to those spaces that were quirky, architecturally, and making them meaningful...finding a way to make you pause as you move through the space. What was the planter, became a space for shoes, in the entry. Above, the AMAZING twig art was done by Paul Schick I had the pleasure of being introduced to his art by a previous colleague of mine and serendipitously received an email from him just as I was wondering what we would do for this space. It all clicked!
The Master progress...
I LOVE wallpaper...however, I DON'T love wallpaper from the 70's/80's/90's that looks like the before pic. Removing the WP and once we stain the bar in back, to match the deep stain on the stairs: beauty. The client decided to close-in the stairs for child safety reasons and it was a great call! The dark stain here looks gorgeous. Really excited for how the rest of the phases will progress!!!!
AND OF COURSE, I could not do any of this without my amazing team!! Lindsey Krystofiak, thank you and my secret weapon on my install crew who's name shall remain anonymous.