Anne's Bernal Heights Beauty

Anne's Bernal Heights Beauty

Janel Laban
Aug 26, 2011

Name: Anne
Location: Bernal Heights - San Francisco, California

Our house was built in 1926, in the first planned subdivision in San Francisco. People love these houses--my neighbor Sam, across the street, was born in his house the year it was constructed. This house has seen us through several job changes, our wedding, and the birth of two kids, and no matter what we've thrown at it, it has always managed to adapt admirably to whatever we needed it to be.

Our biggest challenge in the house has been getting out of our own way. Dave is one to buy a piece of furniture after years of careful consideration, and likes things sleek and streamlined. I like places that overflow with books and I'm miserable if a room doesn't seem cozy and finished instantly. Over the years we've learned to listen to the rooms, listen to each other, resolve conflicts and compromise (and if there's hope for us, there's hope for congress). I like to think of it as couple therapy played out on a 1200 square foot stage.

The architecture is Spanish-Med, and we love the huge windows and light is amazing. Every single wall in the house has some sort of architectural detail--a window or a bookshelf, a spare door--which is a blessing and a curse. Multiple focal points are the norm. It took us years to place the sofa in a way that makes the room seem harmonious, and we were able to do it only by breaking a huge design taboo--blocking the fireplace. It took more than six years to work that one out. But it works for us.

Our style is influenced by our friend's houses, wabi sabi, modernism, Ikea knock-off's of modernism (I come by it honestly, I'm half Swedish) and pop culture. All of this plays out against a period backdrop, which makes our house a bit of a mutt. But like most people with mutts, we love it.

Thanks, Anne!

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