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.
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.