Jorge & David's House of Stories

House Tour

Name: Jorge & David + their canine posse: Bo, Emma, & Charlie (and Sophie-the-cat)
Location: Glen Park / Excelsior — San Francisco, California
Size: 1,300 square feet
Years lived in: 7 (with over 10,000 home-repair projects, and counting!)

Jorge and David's cozy Edwardian is the kind of home where every object tells a story. What’s this? Oh, that’s the framed antique watercolor Jorge lugged in his backpack for two weeks of hiking in Europe — it's the reason they know how to say "bubble wrap" in several languages. And that? That's the Napoleonic bronze box they discovered in Budapest. "Apparently," David laments, "when packed in a suitcase, it looks an awful lot like a bomb." You can guess where the story is headed from there!

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It comes as no surprise that at least one member of this couple is a professional collector — Jorge is the owner of JG Collection, a wholesale antique business specializing in European silver and silver plate. He is also visual-director-at-large for Draeger's Home stores. David works for a non-profit, and while he claims to leave all the aesthetics up to Jorge, he will gladly show you around the place and tell you all the stories behind the beloved objects— the care of this home is obviously a two-man job, and the warmth and personality of both men are evident in every room.

The house is a truly successful mix of high and low. Priceless antiques mingle happily with flea market finds chosen purely for comfort and fun. You can rest your legs on a DIY kilim-covered footstool, the innards of which consist of a bunch of glued-together coffee cans, while reading by the light of a rare nineteenth-century transferware lamp. Whimsical papier-mache skeletons made by a friend seem right at home in softly lit display cabinets, alongside bronze Asian figurines that might be centuries old.

Perhaps the most inviting aspect of this home, though, is the overwhelming sense that Jorge and David really enjoy it. A shaded cabana in the yard, framed by beaded curtains, contains a cute little pair of cushioned lounge chairs, perfect for Sunday morning paper-reading. Even the stairwell — a purely functional space — feels lovingly adorned; Jorge "striped" the walls with two different finishes of paint in the same calming shade of green.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Cuban-eclectic (Celia Cruz meets Oscar Wilde), classic and comfortable — fancy, but not stuffy. We love color, pattern-on-pattern, and old, beautiful things that show artistry and craftsmanship and tell a story. Mixing high-end and low-end.

Inspiration: Traveling!

Favorite Element: The house is small and intimate, but big enough for the two of us and our brood of pets.

Biggest Challenge: Making the best use of each room in our small house. For the first five years, we kept a fully made-up guest room…which sat empty 90% of the time (except for Bo, who enjoys looking out the window). We recently rethought the layout of the second floor and turned it into our multi-room master suite with areas for work and study, relaxing with a book, sleeping, and getting dressed.

What Friends Say: "Wow. Now that David has surrendered all creative control to Jorge, the house really looks great!"

Biggest Embarrassment: Our remaining list of things to do. With an old house it never ends.

Proudest DIY: The first eight weeks! When we bought our place in 2003, it was a wreck — like the city version of the farmhouse on Green Acres. The house was built in 1911, so it had been the victim of nearly 100 years of bad decisions. But the market was red hot, and it was our only way in. Jorge insisted the place had "good bones," so we went for it. We rolled up our sleeves, learned how to use some scary-looking tools, and sanded, scraped, patched, carpeted, and painted the place into shape.

Biggest Indulgence: All new soundproof windows, nice wool carpeting, and good kitchen appliances.

Best advice: Don't over-think it. Things don't have to match or be perfect to make a home beautiful. In fact, it's sometimes the imperfections or contrasts that give a place its soul, character, and charm.

Dream source: Yves Saint Laurent's apartment in Paris.

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Resources:

LIVING ROOM

    • sofa: Traditions in Menlo Park
    • wool throw: flea market in Paris
    • curtain panels: overstock.com
    • club chairs: from the old Brooks Brothers store on Union Square
    • ottoman and round mirror: San Francisco Design Center sample sale
    • pillows: Restoration Hardware and Pier One
    • chandelier: one of Jorge's sources in Europe
    • botanical art by Rolando Garcia (a good friend, long since passed)
    • oil paintings: Alemany flea market
    • Cambodian goddess figure: from our trip to Cambodia!

DINING ROOM

    • estate silver on dining table: JG Collection
    • table: consignment store in Miami
    • chairs: Pier One
    • chandelier: one of Jorge's sources in Europe
    • red lamp shades: Lowe's
    • sideboard: antique auction in Miami
    • Biedermeier chest: museum loan from a friend
    • oil painting: Alemany flea market
    • blue foo-dog lamps: fabulous estate sale in San Francisco (we wish we'd had more money that day!)
    • all Asian art and collectibles: flea markets and travels
    • convex black and gold mirror over oil painting: Manuela Canestrelli in Venice
    • papier-mache figures by Jorge de Rojas of HoHoHalloween

    KITCHEN

      • all countertop appliances and kitchenware: Draeger’s Home in San Mateo
      • all appliances: Sears
      • white dishes: Pottery Barn
      • granite tile for floor: an over-order from a local building…we got it on the cheap and it was installed by David and Jorge & David’s stepfather (thanks, Jerry!)
      • bowls on counter: Vivas, a San Francisco company that makes beautiful kitchen and tableware from recycled aluminum.

    UPSTAIRS FRONT ROOM

      • sofa and chair: San Francisco Design Center sample sale
      • curtain panels: overstock.com
      • chest-of-drawers: Alameda flea market
      • artwork and bric-a-brac: flea markets and travels

    BEDROOM

      • 1890s French walnut bed: wonderful old antique store in SF, now closed
      • bedside tables and chest-of-drawers: San Francisco Design Center sample sale
      • mirror: antique store in Miami Beach
      • all paintings: flea markets
      • curtain panels: overstock.com

    Thanks, Jorge & David!

    Images: Susie Nadler

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