Lynn & Andrew’s Collections in the Castro

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Lynn of Architectural Black & Andrew
Location: Castro — San Francisco, California
Size: 1,200 square feet — 2 bedroom + 2 bath
Years lived in: 1 — rented

When Lynn and Andrew first moved into their apartment it needed a lot of work. Bees hung from the light fixtures and the place looked dated. With some fresh paint, wallpaper, and new lighting, they created a space that showcases their unique collections and leaves room to party.

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

Lynn and Andrew individually have great style and as an Interior Design Photographer and Journalist, Lynn was eager to show it off. When they moved in together a year ago, Lynn was excited to decorate their new space and to merge their collections. She and Andrew are both lovers of great vintage pieces. Lynn also has an eye for unique pieces and she likes to show them off, as seen in her plant collection and taxidermy animals laid about on end tables and the bar. I didn’t even notice the preserved turtle shell sitting on the coffee table next to the flower vase until after I had been sitting for awhile. Every surface seemed to have its own conversation piece.

Lynn and Andrew also love to entertain so they want their place to be welcoming as well as interesting. The use of subtle textures and organic shapes in the fabrics, furniture and wall coverings, and decor throughout the apartment add color as well as warmth and coziness. A great example is the grasscloth wallpaper in the dining room. It seems to soften the room while maintaining the modern look and clean lines of the space.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: I am a true maximalist. Andrew and I have different tastes in décor but we are both collectors and appreciate the organic beauty of natural things. And we stay neat.

Inspiration: We moved in together a year ago, and so we just try to combine our belongings and make it work together. We are inspired by the very things we collect — books and vinyl mostly. A lot of our furnishings are collaborations of those things. We also like to entertain. So the common areas are set up for conversation, listening to music, and dinner parties.

Favorite Element: I like the brown grasscloth wallpaper we had installed in the dining room and the wood slat ceiling in the living room that is original to the apartment. My favorite piece of furniture is the sofa set Andrew brought with him when he moved in. He put down a bid for it for $2,000 in an estate sale in the South Bay and lost, but the winners did not pick up the set so they called Andrew and gave it away to him for the price of delivery — $200! It was new old-stock when we got it (from the 60s) and we have an extra piece in storage, but of course now it needs some new upholstery. I’ve wanted that sofa set in my hands since we first started dating!

Biggest Challenge: The house was in a 70s time warp when we moved in. We replaced a lot of the lighting, which was strung on wires with halogen bulbs and wire airplanes and bees. But still we have some ways to go. My next biggest challenge is choosing window coverings and repainting the hallway and bedroom.

What Friends Say: Our house speaks of our tastes, I guess. I’m not sure, I haven’t really asked. We make very good margaritas and have good parties, that’s all they’ve said.

Biggest Embarrassment: I tried to reupholster the pair of spindle chairs in the living room with some ikat fabric I got from Lee Jofa, but I didn’t have enough fabric! So they are awaiting being recovered again, or most likely waiting to be sold off.

Proudest DIY: I re-stained the kitchen cabinets and covered the coffee table in snakeskin contact paper. It was mostly out of necessity. Both kitchen and coffee table were water damaged. We aren’t very DIY people, and I enjoy working with sub-contractors, so mostly we go that route.

Biggest Indulgence: The matching pair of antique Chinese blanket chests are from Dwight Polen Antiques in Palm Springs. I discovered them on a scouting trip out there, couldn’t stop thinking about them, and two months later hired someone to drive them up to San Francisco for me. Is it too horrible I didn’t tell Andrew about them until they showed up?

Best Advice: Begin Anywhere! I believe in “shitty first drafts” and then editing. Over time, it just gets better. Oh, and start collecting. Collect something, anything! It will start to inform all your decisions.

Dream Sources: Andrew and I both love antiques. When he was younger he worked as an antiques buyer in Europe and also for a short stint in an upholstery shop. One of our dreams is to one day open a shop together. If we had a bigger budget for our home, we would source more antiques. I worked in interior design showrooms and work in freelance interior design photography and journalism, so I am lucky to see a lot of what’s out there. I am really into the Mexican company, Casamidy.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


    • Pair of blanket chests: Dwight Polen Asian Antiques
    • Sofa set: Vintage
    • Coffee table: Jonathan Adler
    • Console table: CB2
    • Mirror: IKEA
    • Pair of spindle chairs: eBay
    • Lighting: Nate Berkus for HSN brass lamp, Pottery Barn gallery overhead lighting, custom-made wood and horn-tile lamps
    • Various Accessories: Michael Graves drinks tray, Fornasetti coasters, Hella Jongerius for IKEA vase, Wedgwood porcelain, Kelly Wearstler for Groundworks/Lee Jofa pillows, Ralph Lauren blankets


    • Dining table base: The Other Shop
    • White chairs: Real Good Chairs by Bludot
    • Folding safari chair: eBay
    • Bookshelves: IKEA
    • Turntable DJ Console: Dual SF


    • Bed frame: vintage Craigslist find
    • Bed linens: Pottery Barn duvet cover, Nate Berkus for HSN blanket and pillows
    • Red lamp: Urban Outfitters, spray painted red
    • Side tables: Urban Outfitters
    • Bench: Harrington’s
    • Bedside lamp: vintage lucite lamp from eBay

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Lynn & Andrew!