Nov 12

New House Pictures (Part One)

Last Spring we closed on our very first home in San Francisco. We just moved in this last week and I’ve been going 100 miles an hour working on projects for the house and getting unpacked. I am planning on sharing a little bit of the process of updating and renovating our new home here on the blog but first I wanted to share the photos of the flat. It is a very special house and the previous owner did such a great job of protecting the original elements of the house. It has beautiful architectural details throughout though it isn’t without problems (no heating, no lights in the closet, etc.) but all these will be tackled in good time. I’m going to share half today and half tomorrow because there is a lot of ground to cover.


Click through for full photos…

The living room is North facing and gets beautiful light in the morning. The whole room has that gorgeous moulding that is two feet high and of course the pretty bay windows that are typical in most San Francisco homes. At some point (probably in the 50’s?) someone painted all of the moulding in half the house a faux wood grain. It looks like wood but it is orange paint with brown paint over the top to look like wood grain. Apparently this was common to make cheap wood look like a more expensive wood. There is a new furnace in the space but it is currently out of operation (high on our list of things to do before it gets colder.) There are parlor doors that lead from the living room to the parlor but we decided to use that space for the kids room.

The whole house has these gorgeous wood floors with in-lay detailing. Every nail on the floor is done so precise and detailed. I love them so much. The staircase and 50 foot hallway (!) has the original wainscoting pattern that is in really good condition except for in one spot under a window where it cracked. The hallway has closet after closet of storage. I am not even sure what to do with it all. After living in 500 square feet this isn’t a problem I’m used to having! Most of the light fixtures are original also.

There is an issue of preservation guilt you feel when you are restoring an old house. I was telling this to Anna, Daniel, and Nicole last month at Camp Mighty and they all looked at me nodding their heads with wide eyes. On one hand you want to preserve the character and details of something that doesn’t exist any more on the other hand a lot of these details weren’t special at the time (it would be like someone 80 years from now trying to preserve a lamp from Target.) I want the house to be modern and functioning (more than one outlet per room would be nice!) but I also don’t want to be the one that replaces the “original” stuff. My neighbor was mentioning how nice it was to paint a room that had already been painted because he didn’t feel guilty making it how he wanted it.

The back half of the house is where the kitchen, bathrooms, dining room, and guest bedroom are. I’ll share those pictures tomorrow.



  • Mandy says:

    I grew up in a flat in San Francisco with one of those looooong hallways. It had three closets and when you painted a room you could move all the furniture in to the hallway.

  • Rebecca says:

    Such a lot of space! And bow-windows, lucky you.
    The house looks amazing, I’m eager to see what you do with it…

  • Brimful says:

    Your new home reminds me a little of Making It Lovely’s new Victorian home in Chicago! I appreciate how both of you are trying to preserve and respect the original interiors. But I’m also really excited to see how you add furnishings and colorful accessories to make it modern! Please don’t mind me while I live vicariously through your home design projects (wink).

  • Congrats on the first home purchase! Many of my clients struggle with preservation vs. renovation for their own projects. I remind them that they need to make the space functional, livable and THEN beautiful. The house is gorg and honestly with your taste, you will find a way to merge beautiful with the reality of running a busy household. I am excited to see how you interpret the space in your unique and always awesome way…..

  • Love the original details!

  • Zandra says:

    Congratulations! I LOVE moving! I love having a blank canvas and an excuse to try new things and get rid of the old. I can’t wait to see what you do with it! I know what you mean about the debate on whether to preserve or not preserve. Our first home actually had quite a few similarities to your home and we did end up keeping all of the wood trim un-painted, though our’s ALSO had that faux wood graining. But it was done really well so we decided to leave it. But I do think that if you’re not in love with it, you should feel free to paint over it. It’s not like you’re ripping off the moulding! You’re just changing it’s color to reflect your aesthetic. Anyway, that’s just my 2 cents. Good luck!

  • We just moved into an 106 year old house, and are in the same boat. So much lovely (orange) wood detailing everywhere, but SO MUCH (lovely) orange wood detailing everywhere. It’s a great problem to have though!

  • nancy says:

    hey jordan! many similar elements to our edwardian flat near duboce, which had been owned by the same family and was never a rental (ie pristine original details). the original wainscoting you show in your hallway is LINCRUSTA and if you want to keep it, you can probably find replacement pieces online. The company is still in business. Like you, we updated certain elements and held onto originals in others. 10yrs down the line, it’s still a process (read: kitchen). Good luck and enjoy! – nancy

  • Rebecca says:

    Congratulations! how exciting. I absolutely love all the natural light and the wood details. have fun moving in/decorating! :)
    Rebecca @ tr[i]b[e]cca

  • Bonnie K. says:

    Beautiful! I love all the wood work and wood floors.

  • Leith says:

    What a beautiful home! Congratulations on being legit, home-owning San Franciscans! Not an easy feat at all! – Leith

  • Molly says:

    SERIOUS home envy!! Such a beautiful space. All those original details. Can’t wait to see what you do with it. Congratulations!

  • Brooke says:

    I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  • Renuka says:

    Love all of the details in your new home! And there’s so much light coming through :)

  • This house is lovely!! I can’t wait to see how you decorate! Congrats!! :)

  • Kristen Wade says:

    I can’t wait to see what you’ve done with it!

  • Brianne says:

    It’s gorgeous!! Congratulations, Jordan! I can’t wait to see more.

  • Sarah says:

    I love all of the wooden accents in the house. The wood looks so great. Congrats!


  • I’ve been loving Gabrielle’s Treehouse stories, and now this. Fun! We’re in the process of buying a 103-year-old farmhouse in our Florida hometown, and we can’t wait to get to work on it (and it needs some work!). We’re big preservation/restoration fans, so a house like this is a dream come true for us. I’m excited to follow along as you make this house your home! x

  • Lindsay says:

    Wow! How wonderful! Although I’m from NY, I loooove California and SF has such beautiful distinctive homes. Lucky you and your family for being able to live your dream. As far as preserving original details, I would say to save the ones that are special to you but if something doesn’t feel right then go for a change and make it your own. Enjoy your new digs!

  • Kristen says:

    CONGRATS! So happy for you and your family.

  • Jill says:

    We have the SAME fireplace in our SF apartment (with the same plug-in fake fireplace that was left for us) – can’t wait to see what you do there!! We still haven’t figured it out.

  • Jenny says:

    We just moved into a new house in San Francisco and have WAY too much of that gumwood all over the place. I can’t wait to paint it. It goes 50/50 on how people feel about painting wood. Some friends are totally on board and others think it is unthinkable to paint it. It isn’t the best wood, and at the time these places were built it was plentiful and cheap and that is why it is everywhere. I can’t stand the color of it (that orangy tone) or the faux painted wood grain. It looks beautiful and updated when painted, and it still retains the original built-ins, mantels, mouldings, etc that make it look like a San Francisco home. It’s a big process to paint over it though. Not sure if you are doing it yourself or not, but it has to be sanded, then primed with a special primer, then resanded, then painted. Our painter says we have to leave for a few days because it’s quite toxic. I’m excited to hear what you decide to do and how you go about doing it. Maybe my painter is charging me too much to do it!
    Congratulations on your place, I’m sure it’ll be amazing anyway you decide to go.

  • Chelsea says:

    The space looks gorgeous, i can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  • Stacia says:

    This is beautiful! It has so many elements that are part of my vision of my dream home some day. I cannot wait to see everything you do with the space!

  • emily says:

    i LOVE the pink/ white/ black paint job! i’m so happy for you!

  • Kate says:

    Wow! Those gorgeous floors and all the wood detailing… I could faint!

  • just gorgeous, jordan! i’m so happy for you guys!! i can’t wait to see what you do with it! xo

  • What a gorgeous house! Congratulations! I love the windows, the doorways, and all those little architectural details!

  • Kara says:

    I absolutely love this space! The windows are amazing. Congratulations! :)

  • cheryl says:

    Love the Target lamp comment…every time we uncover something we think is amazing and so cool in our 1946 home, my husband and I laugh because we’re marveling at what was builder grade of the time. Glad we’re not alone! Congrats on the new house!!

  • Beautiful! Congratulations on a gorgeous purchase! That house is stunning…. those floors are to die for.

  • liz says:

    love your new house and understand the quandry of balancing historic character with modern functionality but I have to take issue with your target lamp comment. I think it is actually quite different when you are talking about historic details, even if they were common at the time, because in general, historic elements were built to stand the test of time and are of much greater quality than everyday items of today, which are designed with the intention of being replaced quite quickly. totally understand the desire for more than one outlet per room though.

  • Dee Dee says:

    Lovely! Congratulations! It is fantastic and you will make it really fabulous. Enjoy yourself.

  • It’s beautiful! I love all the light coming in, makes it look so open and vast, and that fireplace is gorgeous. :)

  • Lary says:

    omg it’s perfect!

  • meg says:

    It looks so charming! I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  • It is amazingly gorgeous, even completely empty!

  • Maria G. says:

    Wooden d├ęcor is my favorite one. It is classic and always in fashion, so it works very well with all the possible styles and colors. The house is huge and I think that it will bring you a lot of warm and nice moments.

  • I completely understand what you mean by not wanting to ruin all the original things, but also wanting to make it your own. I have lived in old houses since I was five and I love everything about them, but sometimes you just want things a little more modern! I’m sure you’ll find the perfect balance :)

  • Shelly says:

    My girlfriend has sent me some of her favorite food/craft/mom blogs. I’m recuperating from knee surgery and am off my feet. Her favorites include your and also one called “Cooking With Mr. C.” I just Liked him on Facebook so I can get daily recipes. Your blog looks sensational. I look forward to your posts. Shelly

  • Susanne says:

    Congratulations! I’m a far cry away from buying a house, so I live vicariously through others. I can already see the potential – I love how the rooms look feel like white boxes. I grew up in a house with wood paneling (in San Francisco). It’s lends each room a sense of personality. I can’t wait to see what you do the place!

  • Momina says:

    That pillar is a Corinthian column from the greeks. We recently studied this in Art appreciation. :3
    I like the window corner. It would make such a nice reading space.

  • alison says:

    amazing! Congratulations! So great that your home has original, period details, rather than being gutted. Such a bummer to see beautiful places that were gutted to make a loft-inside-a-victorian. Love the bathroom, the built-ins, all! Looking forward to seeing what you and your family do with this!

  • Jessica says:

    Gorgeous! Decorating is going to be so much fun! :)

  • Taylor says:

    It is absolutely gorgeous! We too have been looking at historic homes to renovate. I know you have littles to think about. How did you make decisions about restoration/renovation and living in an older structure? I worry about lead exposure, etc. If you have any great resources, please share!

  • I am SOOOOO excited for you! It reminds me of the first home I bought in Montreal – very similar details. I say go forth and reonovate. As long as you aren’t painting the floors or ripping out the moldings to do a bad 80’s minimal reno I think a mix of old and new is nice. Congratulations on the gorgeous home – it looks like a place taht will grow with your family.

  • Linnie says:

    Girl, just so you know: you are l-i-v-i-n-g the d-r-e-a-m. Envious! What a gorgeous place.

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