Lisa and Clay’s Artsy and Calm Collaboration

published Aug 25, 2009
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Name: Lisa Congdon and Clay Walsh
Location: Mission District, San Francisco
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years

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Artist and Rare Device store owner Lisa Congdon is no stranger to Apartment Therapy. We’ve featured her art, the products based on her works, her store displays, and even a tour of her house a few years ago. But as with any creative person, Lisa has changed the decor of her home several times since we last visited, and especially since her partner, Clay moved in this year.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
Together, they’ve created a perfect balance of their two personalities: the vibrant, vintage and collector-style decor of Lisa and the more simplified, modern and pared down sensibilities of Clay. We’re fans of this harmonious collaboration.

The kitchen and office/bedroom have changed the most since we last visited Lisa’s home. Her art studio, which was once housed in the bedroom space that is now the office, is currently located off-site. The bedroom area, which has been painted twice since we last saw it, is now a cool, serene blue and has been drastically pared down since Clay moved in.

Some of our favorite elements about Lisa and Clay’s home are the plate rail holding up their art collection in the hallway, the vintage wares and plate wall in the kitchen, and all the artwork spread throughout the house. We’re especially fond of the works dedicated to Lisa’s friendly 2-year-old pup, Wilfredo. Lisa also owns two cats, Barry and Margaret, named after her two favorite artists, Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen.

As with Lisa’s previous house tour, comments are disabled. If you have any questions about her home you can contact her at You can also check out her artwork on her Web site and find out more about her store, Rare Device, here.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

AT Survey:

My/Our style: I have lived in this apartment for 6 years and when Clay moved in this year we decided to redecorate. I am a collector and she is a minimalist so combining our styles has been a creative challenge, but one that we embraced whole-heartedly, especially since we are both people who love being in our home and are both domestic at heart.
Our style is first and foremost modern, but I’m a collector of many odd things (vintage scissors, celluloid reindeer, tiny globes, letters and signage, vintage photographs, etc), so some of the rooms in our home have a certain “cabinet of curiosities” feel. I have collected mid-century furniture and objects for 15 years, and love to combine it with current modern pieces and thrifted items that we’ve repurposed. I love mixing the old with the new, mid-century with Victorian with white laminate. Clay prefers a slightly more simple style of décor than I do, so we’ve worked together so that her sense of calm and simplicity is satisfied.

Inspiration: The pieces of furniture and the objects I collect and my love for midcentury combined with my partner Clay’s sensibilities around space and creating a sense of calm.

Favorite Element: Lisa: The railing we installed in my 28-foot hallway to place part of our art collection. Clay: The simplicity of the bedroom.

Biggest Challenge: We have an enormous art collection (mostly small stuff, fortunately) so one of the greatest challenges for us was finding space for that in our small space. We have art in every room (including the bathroom), but we also recently installed a 28 foot “plate rail” from Ikea in the hallway and placed a good portion of the art on that without nailing a zillion holes in the wall. We can rotate art in and out of the railing as well, which we love.

What Friends Say: That there’s a lot to look at!

Biggest Embarrassment: The laundry room. It’s hideous.

Proudest DIY: The plate wall in my kitchen. It has caught the attention of a lot of people, and has been featured in two books, the local paper, a magazine and several design blogs.

Biggest Indulgence: The Kofod Larsen credenza in the living room. It is my prized possession.

Best advice: Cluster like items on tables and shelves.

Dream source: Monument, a midcentury store on Valencia Street.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Furniture: Ikea, Touch on Valencia Street, West Elm, Alameda Flea Market, San Francisco Antique Mall, Rare Device, Swallowtail, ebay

Lighting: Design within Reach, Alameda Flea Market, Ikea

Paint: Benjamin Moore

Beds:: West Elm

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

(Thanks, Lisa and Clay!)

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)