Rachel's Modern Traditional Cow Hollow Apartment

Rachel's Modern Traditional Cow Hollow Apartment

Esteban Cortez
Dec 16, 2014
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Name: Rachel Shipp
Location: Cow Hollow; San Francisco, California
Size: 1,009 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; Owned

After turning 30 last year, Rachel decided to pull the trigger and buy her first place—a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood, just minutes away from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. A year later, she’s managed to create a cozy modern space with traditional elements in which she can entertain friends or enjoy a glass of wine on a weekend.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Though she is happy with the work she’s put into personalizing her space, Rachel says it’s possible the apartment may look completely different a year from now, as she constantly thinks about rearranging furniture and art. “What would it look like if I rearrange this chair over here, got a longer table here or a different lamp here?” she asks herself. “I’m thinking about what I want to do next right now!”

Having traveled and lived all over the world (including the Southern United States, Los Angeles, France and Thailand), Rachel is happy to finally call San Francisco her home. “Everything is just a few blocks away from my apartment: the French cheese and wine shop, restaurants and bars, coffee shops, the gym, yoga, the SF Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge!” she said. “What else could I ask for?”

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My style is pretty modern but there is something very traditional about the apartment, so I've tried to mix both styles, e.g. mixing a modern coffee table with a more traditional couch and chair. I also love a little of the unexpected, like using the antlers as coat hangers.

Inspiration: I read design blogs to get ideas: Style by Emily Henderson, A Beautiful Mess, MFAMB, sfgirlbybay (obviously), A Cup of Jo are some of my favorites… and of course, catalogliving.net for the humor in it all. I’ve gotten my friends into creating “mood boards.” It’s how I realized I was so attracted to grays, blues and greens.

Favorite Element: I love that each room is distinct, but there’s still a flow to the place. You don’t walk into a room and think you’ve entered a totally different place, but there’s a logical progression.

Biggest Challenge: Not constantly wanting to change everything! The other day, I was thinking how much fun it would be to have an all-white living room with beachy photos. It would be completely different than what I have now but I think it would look so cool.

What Friends Say: They love coming over! It’s been really fun to host dinner parties, movie nights, impromptu dance parties (all the usual stuff). They also love it because I have chilled wine and a fully stocked bar.

Biggest Embarrassment: Not being more DIY. I AM really good at IKEA directions… I’ve learned the hard way.

Proudest DIY: Yeah… I need to get better at this. I read a ton about DIY projects. Right now, I’m proudest about supporting Etsy artists who are much better at DIY than me.

Biggest Indulgence: Recently, it was the whole gutting and renovating my kitchen. It’s not a large space, but we literally took it down to the studs and it took over 12 weeks to finish! It was an indulgence since I didn’t really cook before. But as they say, “if you build it, it will come” and it turns out, I’m a good baker!

Best Advice: Use an architect! They see room outlines and how everything flows together differently than us normal people. And don’t buy everything from one store. Build your home over time and enjoy the process of “the hunt” for the perfect piece.

Dream Sources: Anything from Emily Henderson, DWR, Domino or Thomas Moser. My next big purchase is going to be an animal head – either a buffalo or a bear or a really big deer head. I just need to find the right spot to hang it!

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Resources of Note:


  • Benjamin Moore Paint
  • All Trim, Wainscoting & Doors – Super White, Semi-Gloss
  • Dining Room – Kendall Charcoal, Flat
  • Entry Cabinet – Kendall Charcoal, Satin
  • Hallway, Bathroom, Living Room Kitchen – Stonington Gray
  • Bedroom – Timber Wolf


  • Coat rack of Antlers – bought from my eBay antler guy in the Midwest
  • Mirror – Pier One
  • Phone – Pottery Barn
  • Art – Sally King Benedict


  • Johnnie Griner – “Gullah Folk Art”
  • Fillmore Concert Poster - Marina and the Diamonds
  • David Hockney Prints
  • All other prints or paintings – vintage or bought at Flea and/or Art Markets
  • End-tables: West Elm
  • Sofa: Macy’s
  • Rug: Persian


  • Buffet Table: West Elm
  • Table: Vintage
  • Bar Cart: Flea Market
  • Cabinent: Ikea
  • South of France Painting - tbd
  • Cow Painting - tbd


  • Design by Sarah Ryan Architects


  • Bedframe: Custom by Furniture Envy
  • Dresser: West Elm
  • End Tables: CB2
  • Rug: Persian


  • Sally King Benedict – Pool Lawn
  • Mitchell Johnson – Pink House
  • Sam Kweskin - Nice, France Beach; Photography
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Thanks, Rachel!

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