SF House Tour: Jennifer B.'s Eclectic "Tree House"

SF House Tour: Jennifer B.'s Eclectic "Tree House"

Apr 15, 2008

Name: Jennifer B.
Location: Sausalito, CA
Size: One-bedroom apartment (about 550-600 sq. ft.)
Years lived in: One

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You've probably heard this design advice before: Fill your home with things you love. And we admit, we've been skeptical that this simple approach will lead to a cohesive space (e.g., can action figurines really co-exist with vintage, floral cushions?). But Jennifer's Marin County dwelling is making believers out of us. Many of her finds are from flea markets and small Bay Area shops, as well as from her travels. The end result is an apartment infused with her personality — and it definitely all works together.

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My style: Eclectic — French flea market meets mid-century meets Rajasthan. Balancing a love for color and interesting objects with an attempt to keep my small apartment relatively uncluttered.

The inspiration for my home: Taschen's Indian Interiors — "exuberant modernism meets unrestrained fantasy" — the first time I saw my place I was immediately drawn to the view in my living room looking out over the boats in Richardson Bay through a stand of huge old oak trees. There isn't a lot of light, but it gives the impression that I'm living in a tree house. To keep it bright I've added Bertoia chairs in acid yellow (from Eden & Eden) around an old teak table and covered the mid-century sofa in Marimekko fabric (from Textile Arts). Most of the pillows were bought recently in New Delhi on my first trip to India (at Noor Jehan in the Santushti Shopping Complex). Rajasthan is famous for its textiles and color!

Favorite element(s): The stripped-down old iron bed from Zonal in Hayes Valley and my vintage steel dresser, vanity and desk from Aria in North Beach. In their original, dingy lives in offices, hotels, hospitals and even Army barracks these pieces were painted green or white, or had fake wood-grain surfaces.

Biggest challenge in designing my home: It's old and cold. Built around 1904, it was originally a one-family home converted into three smaller apartments. The entire living room/dining room area only has two electrical outlets.

What friends say about my home: My friends say the place really suits me and they completely see me here in this environment. They love my artwork framed by Sausalito Framing and Shein & Shein in North Beach.

Biggest embarrassment in my home: I have a 16-year-old "indoor cat" named Grace who weighs 20 pounds and have never been able to find the perfect place to put a litter box.

Proudest DIY: My friends were pulling an old '60s redwood wall unit out of their home in San Anselmo a couple of years ago that I painted a bright green and put in my hallway to hold overflow books, CDs and tchotchkes.

Biggest indulgence with respect to my home: I love to change the fabrics on my bed and sofa often so I fall prey to wonderful quilts and duvet covers from Erica Tanov and John Robshaw. I just found the most beautiful Peruvian wool blanket at Nest and asked Liz TerboLizard to sew two sets of pillow and cushion covers for my sofa. I am with pillows the way Imelda Marcos was with shoes.

Best advice given or received: If I feel like my place is beginning to look cluttered, I instill a rule that for every one thing I bring home from a flea market or favorite store, two things get given away, donated or recycled.

Dream source for stuff: The Alemany and Alameda Flea Markets in the Bay Area and the Santa Monica Flea Market at the airport in southern California. If money were no object: ABC Carpet & Home.

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Thanks for sharing, Jennifer! If you want to check out more photos of her apartment — with captions! — check out her Flickr set.

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