Kyle's Cottage in the City

House Tour

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Name: Kyle Ewing
Location: San Francisco, California
Size: 1,330 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned

We caught a sneak peak of Kyle’s apartment in her Before and After Kitchen Remodel, and now we’re back for the full tour! Entering this light-filled oasis in the middle of San Francisco, you’re transported from bustling city life to a soothing environment that’s warm, welcoming and feels more like a quaint country cottage than a city apartment. The sound of birds chirping and lawn mowers mowing makes it hard to believe that Kyle's place is just a couple short blocks from the happening city life of Castro Street.

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Since purchasing her home, Kyle has made some serious upgrades to the kitchen and bath to better fit her needs and aesthetic. Lucky for Kyle, her super handy dad has been there throughout the entire process, helping make her design ideas a reality.

Her style is the sum of flea market finds and pieces collected over time. She’s all about displaying meaningful items that tell stories of places she's traveled and people she loves. Comfort and tidiness are crucial for Kyle — in fact, she’s a bit of a neat freak. She’s made a place for everything she owns and makes a point not to accumulate junk.

Kyle loves to entertain and has created a great environment for hosting friends and family. Her space is perfect for lounging on the back deck or sipping wine at the kitchen island. The kitchen remodel was integral to creating a more open floor plan for entertaining, and the collection of champagne caps gathered in a bowl in the dining room are a testament to its success.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I am drawn to things that have a story and prefer pieces that evoke a sense of history yet are grounded in modern design. I would say that my current style is understated elegance with a touch of whimsy.

Inspiration: Living in an 1890’s home in San Francisco, I can’t help but be inspired by the traditional bones of this building. I feel that this house has truly inspired my current design aesthetic. Monthly Alameda Flea market adventures and countless “Cottage Style” magazines later, I feel that I have arrived at a style that honors this home yet allows me to creatively express who I am.

Open, airy rooms with neutral palettes allow my treasured finds to pop in this space. I am drawn to distressed wooden pieces that look like they spent their better years in Provence. My most recent inspirational piece is a vintage French botanical print that was salvaged from a 1960’s schoolhouse. Beyond the sheer beauty of the artwork, I’m inspired to think of a time and a place where school children actually had to master the anatomy of a flower. Simple, unassuming, and beautiful — this print just makes me happy.

Favorite Element: My deck is my sanctuary. It is quiet and serene and forces me to stop and relax. While “gardening” last weekend, I heard a lawnmower from a neighbor's yard and it stopped me in my tracks — such an unexpected treat in a place typically known for its hustle and bustle.

Biggest Challenge: The tiny bathrooms were nearly impossible to make functional. I had to get really creative with things like a clawfoot shower and an unconventional sliding bathroom door. If I’m being honest, every remodeling project was a challenge thanks to this house’s lovely old bones. From uneven flooring to bowed walls, my contractor (my dad) had his work cut out for him.

What Friends Say: How do we reserve a room? Seriously though, I’m always flattered when friends never want to leave. I love to host, and the biggest compliment I can receive is when a close friend or family member feels a sense of serenity as they walk out the front door that would typically come from a vacation or a trip to the spa.

Biggest Embarrassment: Let’s just say it involves a Toyota 4Runner, a sunroof, way too many decorative chairs, no bungee cords and a blizzardy Bay Bridge Sunday. Flea market rookies :)

Proudest DIY: I am immensely proud (and grateful) for the hand my family has played in turning my house into a home. This has been an absolute labor of love from the built in that my father and sister made in the living room to the complete bathroom and kitchen remodels that my dad poured his blood, sweat and tears into. Throw in an army of aunts, cousins and close friends, and every corner of this house has the stamp of someone I love on it.

Biggest Indulgence: The calacatta marble in the kitchen. It is totally impractical (stains, chips, scratches, not resistant to heat, etc.) and I absolutely love it.

Best Advice: Only buy what you love. I try to avoid buying “stuff” and instead buy pieces that inspire me. Surround yourself with what you love and always trust your gut. You will always find a place for that chipped green door you had to have at the flea market.

Dream Sources: Alameda Flea Market, Genevieve Gorder, Elements of Style, Dreamy Whites, Apartment Therapy and farmhouses in France.

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Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

  • Kitchen, Dining Room: Valspar, Cream in my Coffee

ENTRY

  • Entry Table: When Modern Was
  • Mirror: When Modern Was
  • Chandelier: Gilt (Crystorama)

LIVING ROOM

  • Couch, Chair and Ottoman: Pottery Barn
  • Coffee Table: Alameda Flea Market
  • Fireplace Mantle: Alameda Flea Market (The D & L Smith Collection)
  • Mirror above fireplace: Alameda Flea Market
  • Gray chair and side table: Alameda Flea Market (The Art of Salvage)
  • Antler pillow: etsy
  • Taupe and cream chairs: Alameda Flea Market
  • Built in entertainment center: custom made by my Dad
  • Floor pillows: Alameda flea market
  • Rug: rugsusa.com
  • Gray throw: Home Goods
  • Couch PIllows: One Kings Lane
  • Chair Pillow: Purchased on a business trip to India
  • Lamps: Z Gallerie
  • Flower painting: Alameda Flea Market
  • Chandelier: Original (came with home)
  • Clock above couch: When Modern Was
  • Canvas Grandfather Clock: The Urban Nest
  • Window treatments: Handmade by my aunts

DINING ROOM

  • Table and Chairs: Alameda Flea Market
  • Buffet: Alameda Flea Market
  • Table Lamps: Home Goods
  • Gray Hutch: 3 Speckled Hens Antique Show (Paso Robles)
  • Mirror: When Modern Was
  • Wall art: 3 Speckled Hens Antique Show (Paso Robles)
  • White chairs: Alameda Flea Market
  • Chandelier: Original (came with home)

KITCHEN

  • Cabinets: Home Depot
  • Cabinet Pulls: Floorcraft Kitchen & Bath Appliance Center
  • Range: Viking
  • Refrigerator: Fisher & Paykel
  • Dishwasher: Bosch
  • Sink: Shaws Original Farmhouse
  • Faucet: Floorcraft Kitchen & Bath Appliance Center
  • Wine Fridge: Home Depot (Vinotemp)
  • Floors and Tile: Home Depot
  • Countertops: GGI Granite, San Francisco
  • Pendant Light Fixtures: Peer Light, San Francisco
  • Pantry Doors: Designed by Kyle and custom made with love by her dad
  • Bar stools: Ballard Design

BEDROOM

  • Nightstands: When Modern Was
  • Headboard: Pottery Barn
  • Dresser: Alameda Flea Market
  • Chair: Alameda Flea Market
  • Mirror: Alameda Flea Market
  • Closet: Closets by Design
  • Wall Art: Alameda Flea Market
  • Chandelier: Original (came with home)
  • Rug: rugsusa.com
  • Quilt and shams: Ballard Design
  • Round Pillow: One Kings lane
  • Small pillow: Purchased on a business trip to India
  • Bedding: Bed Bath & Beyond

GUEST BEDROOM

  • Nightstand: Alameda Flea Market
  • Mirror: Alameda Flea Market
  • Lamps: Home Goods
  • Headboard: DIY

BATHROOM

  • Vanity: Modern Bathroom (amazon.com)
  • Clawfoot Shower: Bathrooms of Distinction
  • Mirror: Lamps Plus
  • Flower Print: Alameda Flea Market (www.letrip.org)
  • Chandelier: Lamps Plus
  • Wall Sconces: Overstock.com
  • Medicine Cabinet: Hayneedle

OFFICE

  • Desk unit: Pottery Barn
  • Shelving Unit: Ballard Design

DECK

  • Table and chairs: Cost Plus
  • Adirondack Chair: Cost Plus
  • Large planters: Ballard Design
  • Old windows: Alameda Flea Market
  • Wire planters: Alameda Flea Market

OTHER

  • Hallway Wall Sconce: Lamps Plus (Crystorama)
  • Flower arrangements provided by the French Tulip in Noe Valley
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Thanks, Kyle!

(Images: Lindsay Tella)

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