A Thoughtful Remodel Makes This Home Feel Bright, Well-Laid Out, and Totally Transformed

A Thoughtful Remodel Makes This Home Feel Bright, Well-Laid Out, and Totally Transformed

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Name: Gina Gutierrez, Max Maloney, two cats, Frank and Bob, and a tripod dog, Luna
Location: San Francisco, California
Size: 1,106 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, owned

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Three of the things that we love about our home are the layout, the light, and the location. The layout of our home is fantastic, which makes up for the small square footage. Before our remodel, some of the room sizes were a little odd and the house felt cramped—after the remodel, it feels as if we’ve gained 50 percent more square footage just by removing a few interior walls. In a city as expensive as San Francisco, utilizing every square inch of a layout really matters—there’s simply no room to waste.

Secondly, the light that flows into this home through the numerous tall windows is simply magical. My south-facing office is always filled with energizing light, while our living room windows face onto a lush rear garden that fills the room with gentle, calming greens and blues. Lastly, the location of our home was one of our prime reasons for choosing it—Duboce Triangle is a very central, walkable neighborhood that’s very quiet at night, yet only a few blocks in any direction to some of the city’s best restaurants, shops, and parks.

Max and I saw the house as soon as it listed, went to every open house (on our bikes), wrote a personal letter about ourselves. The sellers chose us because they thought we would get along great with the neighbors as we had a lot in common with them—mostly our bikes! It was a wonderful feeling to know that there still is some “soul” in the home-buying process, even in a market as crazy as SF.

We purchased our home just one year into our relationship. I love that we were able to make the home our own as our relationship was also growing. Remodels can be very challenging and stressful on a relationship but thankfully, both Max and I love design so we were able to roll through those stressful times with ease and we found it made us stronger as a couple.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: A blend of modern and traditional.

Inspiration: We wanted to keep the Edwardian character of our home by salvaging certain architectural detail (i.e. wainscoting, board and batten) and enhancing other 1912 elements (we put in a additional arches) while blending in modern touches. Whenever we’re out and about in the city or traveling, our eyes are always open to design for ideas and inspiration. I recall having a date night at Stone’s Throw in Russian Hill and loving a built-in bench they had for guests while dining. It was simple but comfortable. We took that inspiration and created a very similar look around our dining table.

Favorite Element: Our kitchen peninsula and the Carrara marble slab. It is the anchor of our home. It’s luxurious but also worn in. We’re not afraid to scratch it or have stains because each one of those marks tells a story. It also reminds me of the timeless marble and stone you see in Italy—filled with years of memories and history.

Biggest Challenge: Oh man! We were recommended to a contractor that friends of friends used and enjoyed. After interviews with three teams, we decided to work with this particular crew. Unfortunately, about 2/3 of the way through this contractor went out of business. Thankfully, the major structural work was completed but a lot of the finishes still need to be installed. At this point, Max and I took on a lot of the remaining work and then I brought in a handful of contractors that I have worked with within my business to help us finish up. This was the biggest hurdle.

What Friends Say: That it is cozy and calming. I love hearing that! I want people to kick back and feel like they are at home.

Biggest Embarrassment: My cream Serena and Lily rug in the living room is not what it used to be. After getting a dog (and oops, having accidents) and having all three animals run around in our house, it is definitely worn out. Time to shop for a new one that is more durable and conducive to fur babies.

Proudest DIY: As mentioned before, with our contractor going out of business and moving back into our home right before the holiday, I realized I was not satisfied with the floors. The “new” floors had a sticky, patchy look. You could tell that the floor was not sanded down all the way in certain spots. With that said, I was determined to refinish the floors ourselves because I knew we would not be able to find a team to help us out over the holidays. So, we did it ourselves, starting on Christmas Eve and finishing on New Year’s Day! While this was an impulsive decision, it was a decision that Max and I still talk about to this day—bringing us closer together.

Biggest Indulgence: Tile! I love creating pattern with tile or finding tile that is a statement. I love our laundry room that shines with The Cement Tile Shop’s Starburst tile. The fireplace facade is also stunning with Fireclay’s six-inch Triangles in Frost. We also played with classic tile in the bathroom—simple white subway and herringbone—from floor-to-ceiling. Finally, we went with a lovely and economical herringbone tile for our kitchen backspace from The Builder Depot.

Best Advice: My top design trick: Editing. It goes a long way. I always think of Coco Chanel’s quote “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” I do this in a home as well. On install and photo shoot days, I stand back and think about, what can I remove or edit? I believe in letting the eye rest and letting simplicity shine.”


Benjamin Moore paint used throughout the house
Full house (trim, doors, ceiling, white walls): Chantilly Lace
Great room window trim and dining bench: Kendall Charcoal
Kitchen cabinets and peninsula: Coventry Gray
Water closet and shower room: Normandy Blue
Bedroom: Going to the Chapel
Entry bench and front door: Newburg Green

Entry table — Found at Alameda Flea Market
Floor length mirror — Found at warehouse sale in Marin

Sectional — Room and Board
Pillows — Target, Anthropologie
Throw — Gift from a Friend, Heath
Rug — Serena + Lily
Fireplace tile — Fireclay in Frost
Built-ins — Combination of Custom Build with IKEA and Semihandmade
Built-in pulls — Schoolhouse Electric
Fire extinguisher — Found at Sebastopol Antique Shop
Flush mount light — Cedar + Moss for Rejuvenation
Shades — The Shade Store

Lights above dining table — Dogfork
Dining table — Propeller in Hayes Valley (Now Closed) but can be found by the maker, IZM
Chairs — Target

Pendants — Schoolhouse Electric
Sconces — Schoolhouse Electric
Knobs — SHE Pulls – SHE
Plates and bowls — Heath Ceramics
Fermentation crock — Sarah Kersten Studio
Mortar + Pestal — Acacia SF
Stools — IKEA
Backsplash tile — The Builder Depot Herringbone
Countertop — IKEA
Cabinets — IKEA + Semihandmade
Tea Kettle — Smeg
Faucet — Newport Brass
Floating shelves — Handmade by Max

Headboard — West Elm
Bedding — Parachute in Sand
Rug — Serena & Lily
Side tables — CB2
Mirror — CB2

Tile — DalTile
Medicine cabinets — RH
Vanity — RH
Vanity pulls — Lewis Dolin
Fixtures — Brizo
Sconces — Park Studio LA

Tile — The Cement Tile Shop

Desk — DIY of IKEA Countertop and two filing cabinets from CB2
Chandelier — Schoolhouse Electric
Fabric samples — DIY Project made by Gina
Single chair (under clipboards) — A+G Merch

Thanks, Gina and Max!

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