Yoko and Matthew's Simple White Home

Yoko and Matthew's Simple White Home

Regina Yunghans
Sep 8, 2009

Name: Matthew: Owner - Merchant Brand Management, Yoko: Creative Director - simple white home, their 3-year-old daughter Juliette and Jack Russell Terrier brothers Bullet and Magnet
Location: Glen Park, San Francisco
Size: 1,800 square feet
Type: 3 br 2 ba Mission style single-family house
Years lived in: owned for 1 year, 3 months

When Yoko and Matthew set out to find a single family house in a good neighborhood, they discovered this one in Glen Park and went for it. Through extensive (and we mean extensive!) renovations, they've made it their own...

Says Yoko: "The condition of the house was uninhabitable - no one had lived there for 35 years... no walls, no floor and no electric, totally abandoned but had a nice feel to it and its structure was solid - which we were looking for."

Not only did the family bring the house up to livable conditions, they opened up connections between indoors and out, created free flow between the living spaces, and added tons of style. After designing the renovation themselves, they spent 8 months on the renovations and oversaw the work themselves. With a smart and efficient layout, lots of thought and hard work, the results are 360* from what they started with. The house is now an up-to-date, relaxing and cheerful family home for two adults, one adorable daughter, and a couple of pups.

AT Survey:

Our style: Scandinavian style meets California sun. Simple, natural, functional and cozy yet luxurious. The house is the white canvas for our family life – simple white home!

Inspiration: We fall in love with the original condition of this house - it was abandoned over 35 years, no floor, no walls, a big hole on the ceiling and handmade brick walls in the backyard built by former owner's grandfather… but we could see through everything and saw a great potential.
Focused on reusing the original elements and made it more functional by re-arranging the layout, eliminating wasted space and creating extra spaces to accommodate our life style.
We don't like stuffy elements and avoided expensive décor. Having a 3 year old and two jacks helped us to simplify our thought process.
Yet, we insist on real quality goods for everything – we spent a lot of time researching who makes the best and why, a lot of flea market finds.

Favorite Element: Open layout for kitchen, dining and living room with an easy access to outdoor living space. Breakfast table and original white plaster fireplace flanked by soft grey walls in the master bedroom.

Biggest Challenge: Renovate the entire house with really tight budget. Instead of shopping at the stores, we went to salvage yard and flea market.
Convincing our contractor to do something he's never done-i.e. creating bar counter with a massive slab of natural stone and construction lumber.
Finding the right materials, fixtures and colours for the house to create an environment of being a white canvas for our life.

What Friends Say: Very cozy and inviting, a place with a sense of whimsy. A lot of light and good flow of air throughout the house. Despite of having a 3 years old and two dogs, the house is always tidy.

Biggest Embarrassment: No embarrassment – we don't take the house too seriously, we had too much fun renovating this house. If we got somewhere imperfect, we like that. There is one more place to work on and have fun.

Proudest DIY: Design and decorate a whole house without any help.
Wine rack – Yoko borrowed the contractor's power tools – power sew and nail gun and built custom size wine rack for the bar

Biggest Indulgence: Professional kitchen, Catherine Memmi dining table, crystallized marble master bathroom with skylight, Breakfront from the covenant filled with our favorite antique items

Best advice: Develop your own sense of place that reflects this moment of your life. Do not live in someone else's environment.

Dream source: Traveling around the world and learn from their lifestyle and a lot of boutique hotel visits (we love Riva Lofts Florence!)

Resources of Note (furnishings, hardware, appliances & materials):


  • Appliances: Viking stove and refrigerator and Asko dishwasher

  • Countertop: marble

  • Kitchen cabinet: natural maple from Craftmaid

  • Faucet: Grohe

Living Room:

Dining Room:

Master Bedroom:

Master Bathroom:


  • Bar counter: natural stone from salvage yard in Berkeley (Urban Ore)

  • Bar chairs: restaurant supply store in San Francisco

  • countertop: Marble

  • Built-in shelves, base of the bar counter: 1"x12" and 4"x6" construction lumber and stained

  • Cupboard: flea market in San Francisco

  • Chair and bench: Pottery Barn

  • Floor lamp: salvage yard in Berkeley (Urban Ore)


  • Oak wood, stained in Hazel


(Thanks, Yoko and Matthew!)

Images: Yoko

• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE Check out past house tours here
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.

moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt