Christopher's Fine and Feathery Nest

Christopher's Fine and Feathery Nest

Theresa Gonzalez
Sep 7, 2012

Name: Christopher Reynolds
Location: Mission District, San Francisco, California
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 10 years; Rented

After spotting Christopher Reynolds's House Call a couple months ago, I was eager to visit the two-bedroom apartment in the heart of San Francisco's Mission District. Filled with Danish modern furniture, Christopher's own nature-inspired art, and a host of mid-century treasures (all things he's been collecting since high school), the design of the apartment is truly inspired. Graced with subtle Baroque details to honor the building's Queen Anne history, the carefully tended space is very much a reflection of how Christopher has grown into the space for the last decade.

Then, there are the birds. Diamond doves, Zebra Finches, and Star Finches, who reside in a renovated cabinet-turned-aviary, flew freely during my visit (you can spot them in the tour). It was fun to chat with the other birdman of San Francisco about all things fine and feathery in his home and in his self-designed backyard sanctuary.

A partner in the landscape design firm Reynolds-Sebastiani, Christopher tries to stay true to his environmental ideals by sourcing most of his furniture from secondhand shops, like Valencia Street's Salvation Army and Divisidero's The Other Shop, and works pieces he's owned for decades into every new design phase in which he finds himself. Take a peek yourself and give Christopher a shout for sharing below.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Purple Trauma Bomb.

Inspiration: I am obsessed with the shift in design that occurred as part of the larger cultural shift that happened in the wake of books like Silent Spring. Where the design vernacular in the late '50s and early '60s captured our outward attention on all things Space Age, the latter half of the '60s saw our attention turn back to earth. Our vision of a fantastic plastic future was marred by toxic and wasteful repercussions. This new environmental awareness was reflected in design, with a shift toward a new earthy and woodsy aesthetic.

Favorite Element: My resin owl table. People either hate it or love it and I enjoy the reactions either way! To me, it is a barometer of how seriously folks take themselves. I know it's tacky, but my love of it is tongue-in-cheek. I think it adds a sense of humor.

Biggest Challenge: In the interest of "make do and mend", rather than throwing everything out and starting totally fresh, I have been forced to reconcile choices I made in my early 20s. Part of why vintage is so important to me is that recycling furnishings helps to keep more things out of our waste stream.

At the same time, my taste has changed to reflect my own and popular values. I have a lot of things from different periods of my life that I've reshuffled to try and make them feel contemporary again, like the cobalt pots in my room. I hate them, but instead of fighting them, I used a palette of midnight blues, blacks, and greys, and the pots felt new again.

Biggest Embarrassment: The 1980s pink shell tile in one of the bathrooms (not shown). During one period, I tried to make a thing out of it with Nagel prints and the like. Then I realized I had gone too far and put everything on the street. The room is currently awaiting Edwardian subway tiles and a hex tile floor.

Proudest DIY: I love the trim in my Queen Anne flat. When I moved in, most of the trim was gone and the rest had seen 100 years of abuse. I stripped the old-growth redwood trim in the kitchen and added layer upon layer of trim to the living room.

Best Advice: Incorporating old and used items. No matter the look, there are historical pieces that you can reference. What is modern now will be dated tomorrow, but using historical elements adds a sense of timelessness that won't go out of style. Conversely, incorporate some amount of new and current elements. No one wants to live in a museum of past looks.

Dream Sources: Small-scale charity shops

Resources of Note:


    Living Room:
    •Walls: Martha Stewart, Bedford Gray
    •Wainscoting and trim: Behr, Ultra White
    •Ceiling: Valspar, Rugged Suede
    •Fireplace wall: Series of white, brown, and grey glazes over jute-colored bases

    •Wall: Glidden, Sculpted Stone
    •Wainscoting: Behr, Squirrel

    •Wall and wainscoting: Custom colors
    •Woodwork stain: Minwax, Dark Walnut

    Olive Bedroom:
    •Walls: Ben by Benjamin Moore, Forest Floor

    Blue Bedroom:
    •Wall: Glidden, Veil
    •Wainscoting: Glidden, Obsidian Glass

    Water Closet:
    •Pratt and Lambert, Olive Grove


    •Vintage Capice chandelier: Charity shop, on loan from my best friend


    •Swedish lounges, record console, TV cabinet, glassware Dansk candle holder: Charity shops
    •Metropolitan couch (was an SF-based furniture company) and Lane coffee table: The Other Shop
    •Vintage German porcelain and enamel vases by Thomas: Imported via Ebay
    •Driftwood birds sculpture: Inherited from my great grandfather
    Anaglypta and chair rail trim: Lowes
    •Ceiling medallion: Cliffs Variety
    •Drum pendant: Ebay
    •1940s early airbrush deer painting: Urban Eden
    •Mirror : The Touch
    •Owl table: Garage sale $5 and it broke a lady's heart. She was pulling over as I paid for it; it was mine before she was out of her car. I was first. Disculpame!
    •Lucite lamps: Target
    •Mallard: Inherited from my business partner's grandfather who shot it himself for sport
    •Curtains: Bed Bath & Beyond
    •Pictures: Photos I took of a 1920-1970s abandoned dump that had been overgrown; printed at
    •Cabinet: Room4


    •Cabinets: Recycled '70s plywood cabinets, stripped and trimmed, stained to match original trim
    •Hardware: Ebay
    •Faucet: Price Pfister
    •Backsplash and tableware: Heath Ceramics
    •Vintage walnut Lane dining table with two leaves: Salvation Army! I beat the buyer for Monument (on Valencia St.) by seconds 'n holla'ed "Booya!" across the store. It's the little things.


    •Lamps: West Elm
    •Ceramic pots: late Guerrero St. Gardens (now Flora Grubb on Jerrold)
    •Tables: Urban Ore
    •Vintage Bitossi Rimini stoneware collection: Mostly charity shops and one from Modern Past (on Chenery St.).
    •Chair: Oregon state auction, originally from the Salem Sanitarium, where One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest was filmed.
    •Coverlet and sheets: Macy's Home
    •Duvet cover: West Elm
    •Pillow covers: Jonathan Alder, Pendleton, Target
    •Curtains: Bed Bath & Beyond


    •Bed frame: CB2
    •Coverlet: Target
    •Vintage quilt: Ebay
    •Pillow: Pendleton
    •Accessories: Ebay and charity shops


    •Vintage linoleum I found under three layers of other floors
    •Light: Ebay
    •Clock: Garage sale
    •Vintage starburst rubbermaid tissue bin: groundscore! [found on the street]


    •Plants, climate-appropriate exotic collection: Reynolds-Sebastiani Design Services
    •Chairs: Alameda Flea Market, Flora Grubb, The Other Shop
    •Vintage travertine table: groundscore!


    •Succulent arrangement: Growsgreen Landscape Design
    •Printed pillows: Amenity Home
    •Vintage velour cock pillow cover: Charity shop
    •Aviary cabinet: Modified recycled '70s cabinet
    •Couch: (Frame) Alameda Flea Market, (pillows and fabric) West Elm
    •Leather storage boxes: West Elm
    •Bird and bamboo silk dupioni pictures: a little girl's fancy dress from the '60s I cut apart and stretched
    •Diamond Doves (docile, easy going, easily tamed birds): through online dealer
    Pied. Lightback, and fawn Zebra Finches (flitting, investigative, OCD birds, easily tamed and breed, fun birds): any pet store look for color mutations!
    Star Finches (high-spirited, shrill song bird, difficult to tamed or breed, deft stealthy fliers): The Animal Company on Castro St.

Thanks, Christopher!

(Images: Theresa Gonzalez)

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