Polly's Charming Apartment in a Historic Mansion

House Tour

Name: Polly
Location: Pacific Heights
Type:2 Bedroom Flat in an 1800's Mansion
Years Lived: 1

On the West Coast, we rarely come across architecture that dates back a hundred years, so when we had the opportunity to visit Polly's historic home, we jumped at the chance. The apartment part of a Broadway St. mansion that was built in 1898. After only one year its original owners sold it to William H. Metson, a well-known attorney in SF. Thanks to the care of all of its owners, this home still boasts impeccable craftsmanship with beautiful details.

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Like most historical homes, the story of this home is shaped by the overall history of San Francisco and Northern California. The mansion was custom build for a whopping $289,000 in 1898, featuring 7 bedrooms, 9 baths, a billiard room, a wine cellar, a bomb shelter, 8 fireplaces…and most important of all: amazing views of the Bay Area.

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Mr. Metson's younger sister, Josephine married a gold rush millionaire Jafet Lindeberg, a Norwegian who moved from Alaska to San Francisco after making his fortune. However, the 1906 earthquake was a turning point for the Lindebergs, and they ended up moving to the Broadway house and lived there for the rest of their lives. In 1959, the Lindebergs sold the property to its current owners, the Quayle family, for $100,000. Five years later, after Josephine passed away, William and Phyllis Quayle moved in with their four children, a number of pets, and a live-in house keeper. The house still belongs to the same owners. Marky, who grew up in the house, described it as a paradise and a museum with the Lindebergs' original furniture and decor on display.

"The relics of fabulous wealth of the former residents...many objects of finery and great artisanship, graced the home. It was lovely living there. I could always find a place of solace away from my younger brothers."

The new owners respected the original craftsmanship and care that went into the building. They kept it in a "vintage condition, " preserving such details like the beautiful carved woodwork unpainted and keeping the elegant stained glass and fabulous light fixtures that are now antiques.

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This house tour features only a small portion of the house: just one floor of the magnificent mansion. With its unobstructed view of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge and quaint details like the built-in window seats and beautiful fireplaces, Polly's home is not only a slice of history of San Francisco, but celebrates some of the best aspects of the Bay Area.

Polly hired an interior designer to help her preserve the rich history of her new home, but also to make it feel more modern. Choosing a warm color palette of oranges, browns, and grays helped balance the wood detailing and wall panels, and she used subtle pops of aqua to connect the rooms together. She leaned more towards keeping the decor simple as anything too ornate would compete with the original details of the apartment.

The house is one of a kind. It is a reminder of how much architecture has changed in the past century. In times when everything is templatized, it gives us a reason to appreciate design and craftsmanship that went into old buildings. The beautiful woodwork, flooring, and historical details present in every room make it timeless.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

Style: 1890's meets Hollywood Regency & Vintage Modern.

Inspiration: The house was built in the late 1890's and all the light fixtures, stained glass windows, and the wall paneling in the living room are all from that period. My goal was to marry the Victorian style with Hollywood Regency and make it more modern.  

One of my biggest inspiration were the views of San Francisco from the apartment. The layout of the living room was specifically designed around them. I wanted my family and friends to be able to enjoy beautiful sunsets over the city.

The furnishings and the colors were inspired by the historical details of the apartment. Specifically the wood paneling, stained glass windows, and the moose head in the living room which has been there since the house was built.  

Favorite Element: All the original details of the property. The amazing master bathroom, the views from the living room windows, the white and silver wallpaper in the master bedroom with all the original fixtures, the orange staircase, stained glass, the woodwork throughout the home, and the fireplace that matches the home exterior.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was trying to make each room warm, inviting and comfortable while trying to make sure the style of the furnishings didn't clash with the period elements.

What Friends Say: This is a beautiful place with amazing views of San Francisco. When is the next party?

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen was built when the house was divided into separate apartments, so it's the only room that seems out of place from the rest of the apartment.

Proudest DIY: Master bedroom closet, equipped with Container Store's help.

Biggest Indulgence: Repainting and carpeting a rented apartment.

Best Advice: Getting advice from a designer as well as being there when contractors are working on things, so you can make sure they get done the way you want them to.

Resources: Bob Stoltz at Carpeteria., Alex at California Carpets, Jonathan Adler stores, and Past Perfect.

Lighting and flooring: Original

Thank You Polly and Marky!