House Tour: Leslie and Adam's Home for Two

San Francisco

Name: Leslie Bamburg, Adam Polakoff, and Alex Trebek the cat
Location: San Francisco, CA
Size: About 650 sq. ft.
Years lived in: 6 years, rented
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Leslie and Adam first became friends while attending UC Santa Cruz. After their college days ended they split ways, but eventually Leslie, an interior design consultant and Adam, an attorney, reunited in San Francisco and decided to share a home together. They, along with Leslie's handsome cat, Alex Trebek, have been in this Bernal Heights two-bedroom since 2002. And although Leslie can claim credit for most of their apartment’s overall look, Adam’s personal sense of design is noticeable, especially in his own bedroom and in the art works hung throughout the home that come from both of the friends' collections.

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Leslie is the brains behind LABEXPERIMENT. She started the medicinal-themed design company about two years ago, as a side business from her day job as an interior design consultant for high-end residential homes. Leslie's personal style is minimal, yet comfortable, with vibrant splashes of color that help tie things together. Adam’s style -- as we can see from his purple and brown-striped bedroom -- has a flare for more vintage and quirky sensibilities. While their styles differ, somehow their apartment has a feeling of continuity throughout, and while Leslie winces when their friends call their home “cozy,” this might actually be the most apt word to describe this comfy home for two close friends.

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An interesting fact -- the apartment is actually their landlord’s childhood home. He is not only the handyman who fixes any problems that arise in their building, but continues to add ornate exterior detailing to the outside of the house. Check out the first photo in the tour, to see what we mean.

The following survey was answered by Leslie.

AT Survey:

My/Our Style: I’m mostly interested in industrial steel, simple Asian design, and making clean look comfortable. Adam’s style is more 60’s mod mixed with Neoclassical patterns and details. We both have a great appreciation of bright colors and menswear fabrics.

Inspiration: I get inspired every time I go to someone’s house. I try to remember the little or big elements that I liked, or the feeling that I had there and recreate it at home in my own way. Adam’s room was inspired by the movie Umbrellas of Cherbourg and the restaurant Weird Fish. I’m also always on the lookout for new color combinations, mostly in clothing catalogs.

Favorite Element: My bed. I could stay in it all day, especially when Alex is feeling cuddly.

Biggest Challenge: Having too much stuff. I’ve lived here longer than in any other house, and I used to rely on frequent moving to force me to throw things away. Anytime something new comes into the house, there has to be some shuffling around and purging of old things, which can be exhausting.

What Friends Say: I get the word ‘cozy’ a lot, though I always think that is just a nice word for a really small place. I think people find it comfortable, and no one is rushing out the door.

Biggest Embarrassment: It’s a toss up. Either the gaudy ceiling fan in the living room that our landlord installed, and I haven’t been able to get rid of because we do find it useful; or the eyesore of a cat tree where Alex Trebek spends 80% of his time.

Proudest DIY: I don’t really do home projects that often, since I don’t want to have half-finished projects around after spending all day working on other people’s homes. But we just painted Adam’s room with a rather ambitious design, and that turned out well.

Biggest Indulgence: I’d have to say the vintage 1920’s steel dresser I bought at Past Perfect. It was a great price, though the drawers are hard to open and I’m probably being slowly poisoned by lead paint on my clothes. But I love it. Adam’s biggest indulgences are his artwork, in particular paintings by local artists Ivy Jacobsen and Freya Prowe.

Best Advice: When you find something special and you love it, get it. I’ve missed opportunities to get great things by being scared that they won’t coordinate or were too expensive. But the things I love most are the ones I found when I wasn’t planning, and just bit the bullet. They do seem to all look great together in the end, and if I have to stop going out to save the money, at least I will like being at home!

Dream Source: I love Past Perfect on Union St. Whenever I go in there I find something amazing. If I could afford it, I’d shop at De Sousa Hughes at the SF Design Center.

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Resources:

Furniture: Sofa from Crate & Barrel, coffee table from Cliff’s Variety, kitchen table from Therapy, chairs from Design Within Reach, bed from West Elm, dresser and bedside tables from Past Perfect, most everything else is either from IKEA or vintage/ hand-me-down.

Accessories: mostly from little stores in San Francisco, gifts, or picked up while traveling. Some items are from CB2 and IKEA.

Lighting: West Elm, CB2, vintage

Paint: Kelly Moore, but I can’t remember the original names. I’ve made up my own: cucumber mint, green tea ice cream, orange sherbet, and cocoa powder. As you can tell, I like food names.

Window Treatments: Target, Crate & Barrel shower curtains used as drapery

Beds: West Elm and Dwell bedding in Leslie’s room. The Company Store in Adam’s room.

Artwork: The majority of our artwork is by our printmaker friend, Nathalie Roland (www.headphonerecord.com). Adam’s artwork includes pieces by Ivy Jacobsen, Freya Prowe, Oswaldo Guayasamín, Vietnamese photographers and printmakers and three Toulouse-Lautrec prints his grandfather bought and framed at least fifty years ago.

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(Thanks, Leslie!)

Photos by Phillip Maisel