Name: Sherman Warren and Ron Metzger
Location: Upper Haight, San Francisco, CA
Size: 600 sq. ft.
Years lived in: 15 rented
Sherman, an artist, and Ron, a paralegal, have lived together in this 1903 Victorian apartment for 15 years with the exception of a two year interval — in 2005, a fire destroyed the roof their building. Textiles, upholstery and carpets were all lost to water damage, as were many of the period details, and the pair were forced to relocate while their unit was repaired and renovated. But instead of making the move permanent, Sherman and Ron returned in 2007 and claimed the opportunity to craft a space even more in keeping with their personalities and collections.
Says Sherman: "We also used this opportunity to add some new functional pieces of furniture, and to fully integrate our combined collections of art and objects, which were, thankfully, not destroyed in 2005." He adds: "The renovation of the apartment was adequate. What was lacking in construction quality and stripped out Victorian charm was made up for with an upgraded kitchen design, a working gas fireplace, and central heating." We say: way to look on the bright side! We can't help but admire Sherman and Ron's pragmatic and creative attitude.
Our Style: We knew we wanted to have a more contemporary look in the living room and to utilize some of Sherman's things that had been in storage. For the bedroom, Ron's collection of asian antiques and art was the guiding principle. The kitchen was all about function, and the tiny bathroom (only 25 square feet) was to become the inside of a jewelry box providing a luxurious sanctuary.
Inspiration: For design inspiration we examined our lifestyle and remaining furnishings. Admittedly, it's easier to come up with a detailed design when it's for yourself and your planning for spaces and objects you already know how to live with. It also helps that we, due to circumstances, had to buy a whole room of new furniture, and so had a blank slate to start from. It also doesn't hurt that Sherman is a good designer and exceptional builder and so can do most everything himself.
What Friends Say: Our friends, many of whom remember what the place looked like before, think that this new look represents our personalities better. Our cat likes it too (though she's most excited about the working fireplace).
Proudest DIY: Before we moved back in, Sherman completely repainted the place with quality paint, added several custom built-ins, such as living room and closet shelving, and made some modifications to the kitchen cabinets, like extra shelves and pull-outs.
Living Room The living room is all about edgy elegance and multipurpose use. Raw metals and chunky woods are counterbalanced by silk curtains and crystal accents. The painted striped walls create a traditional backdrop for contemporary paintings, clean furniture lines, and edgy objects like the coffin dolly. Both love seats have pull-out beds for guests, and the black cabinet hides computer equipment and the printer. Desk items are kept in the traditional tansu and army officer's box underneath the desk. The display cases, built into the bookcases, house a wide variety of precious and sentimental objects we've collected over the years, and efficiently keeps them dust free. The rug adds a final graphic element and helps to tie together the various colors.
- Love seats, large mirror, and crystal lamps are from Crate & Barrel
- Walnut and steel tables and black cabinet are from Room & Board
- Curtains are from Bed Bath & Beyond (which my friends and I call 'Bloodbath and Beyond' or just 'Bloodbath')
- Chandelier is from Lamps Plus
- Rug is from California Carpets
A couple of things worth noting about the living room: The bookcases have been fully integrated with the floorboards and picture moldings, and hide within them, extra wiring for alternate speaker configurations. The ceiling medallion was added to allow the new chandelier to be centered in the room (something the renovating electrician evidently didn't think would be noticeable).
Bedroom The bedroom is about stately luxury with a bit of kitsch. The japanese lacquer screen makes an ideal headboard and the surrounding tester and draperies gives the bed an over-the-top European 'chinoiserie' grandness. The subtle wall color (which is the same color as the living room stripes) creates a soft background for the bold red of the machine-embroidered draperies. The many enameled and porcelain pieces find homes on the dressing tables and armoire. The silk rug makes everything feel cozy while the whimsical lamps and beaded accents keep the room from taking itself too seriously.
- Dressing tables are from Bombay Company
- Bedding and draperies are from 'Bloodbath'
- Rug is from California Carpets
A couple of things worth noting about the bedroom: The closet (not shown) was outfitted to double the clothes hanging space and included added shelving for shoes, sweaters, etc. Some of the bedding was altered to include the fabric of the draperies.
Bathroom The bathroom is about function, luxury, and preciousness. When you have a bathroom this small, you have to be efficient with space. The custom mirror and medicine cabinet provide lots of visually expanded space, and lots of storage. Placing the cabinet over the toilet, and giving it double doors, means you can leave it open while grooming, and have your full mirror too. The double shower rod allows the towels to stay dry from the shower, but be easily accessible when needed to dry off. The fancy painted ceiling and door, reference other painted details in the apartment, and make the small space seem deluxe.
- Shower rods and other chrome hardware are from Fixture Universe
- Curtains and linens are from Restoration Hardware
- Floor mat is from Pop Delux
Of note in the bathroom: The toilet was installed crooked, and the sink was installed 2 inches off center; Sherman fixed those. The quarter round tile where the floor meets the tub, actually hides an extension cord that runs power from the outlet to the cabinet for electric razors, toothbrushes, etc.
Kitchen The kitchen is all about function. Though it seems like there's a lot of cabinet space, there's really not enough. Hanging pots and pans on a rack, with lids and bakeware underneath keeps things organized and accessible. Track lighting provides better light for when Sherman is cooking and baking (or canning). Additional shelves throughout keep dishes and ingredients better organized. A window box provides a place to grow herbs and the 'stained glass' window film provides privacy.
Hallway The hallway is a gallery. Paintings not meant for the living room or bedroom line the walls of the hallway. One long wall is painted off white while the other is painted the same color as the bedroom. The end wall reprises the stripes of the living room and has hooks for coats and umbrellas. The picture lights (like the rest throughout the apartment) have all been rewired with french braided cord.
Of note in the hallway: The closet (not shown) has been outfitted with sturdy and accessible shelving. The thermostat, intercom, and light switch, once placed in the centers of walls, were all moved to make space for paintings.