To some, a home is just four walls and a roof. To others, it’s a showcase for a lifetime’s achievements. To a few, it’s a canvas for artistic expression. To me, it’s a refuge and a source of comfort. It’s also a lab for design experiments, some of which go well, many of which don’t.

That’s the real reason I started this blog: to record the changes in our home, capture the things that inspire those changes; and document the disasters so I never repeat them!

To some people, I suppose our home looks finished. Or maybe it looks like we’ve barely started. But to me, it’s a work in progress. So here are the first photos of our home – finished or otherwise.

Living room

We live in a San Francisco Edwardian. There are three stories, including the basement garage. The living room is at the front and is open to the hallway via a double-width arch. We’re lucky to have tons of natural light, with windows on two sides – although that does make it chilly on winter evenings. The sofas are from IKEA (when we moved to the US seven years ago, we had to furnish an entire apartment in a weekend so most of our basic items are from IKEA – and still going strong, I might add). The ottoman is from Pottery Barn and has been absolutely invaluable – there’s nothing better than kicking back in front of a movie with this as a footrest. Good for extra seating too when we entertain. The shades are raw silk from the Shade Store (excellent for reasonably-priced custom shades). The mirror and lamp are from Pier 1 and the apothecary chest is from Gingko, a little store in Soma that makes items to order for a great price – mostly from reclaimed wood. I also have a beautiful Louis chair (out of shot) covered in cream velvet, with silver gilt arms. It’s rather ornate but balances out the two boxy IKEA sofas. The challenge here is keeping the effect modern while indulging my preference for vintage, gilt and shiny things. Seems I’m constantly teetering between the two.

Living room / hallway

Ok, this shot is taken from the sofa under the bay window, looking through to the hallway and then dining room. Here’s the Louis chair. The painting is by Chris Hankey. We asked for contributions to an art gallery for our wedding gifts, and this was one of the pieces we eventually purchased. If there’s one thing in our home that helps me relax, it’s this.

Dining room

Dining room

The dining room wall color was a major change for us – it’s quite a cool blue/green/gray. It’s Iced Marble by Benjamin Moore and seems to change color depending on what you put next to it. But it looks great as a backdrop to the wave painting. The table is (of course) IKEA, but the chairs are from a, now closed, store on Fillmore Street. I loved the leather but couldn’t justify buying six of them so two are in a charcoal fabric instead. The sideboard, just seen, is from Gingko again. I had trouble deciding what to do with the front door, which is glass. I didn’t want to block out the light completely, but also didn’t want passersby peering in while we ate our dinner in the evening. The laser-cut paper screen by Tord Boontje seemed to be a good solution – and, somehow, we’ve managed to prevent our toddler from tearing it to shreds.

Just off the dining room is a tiny sitting area, which we use as a playroom. I’ve already shared my excitement about the West Elm zigzag rug in an earlier post: I’m loving how it contrasts with the more somber dining room.

Master bedroom

This is the master bedroom. It’s above the living room so we get the same great light. But we had to invest in extremely well-lined drapes and shades to keep the warmth in in winter. The bed is IKEA again, as are the lamps. I feel like we should replace the lamps with something more visible against the light-colored drapes. But the light they give is so warm it’s perfect for a bedroom so I can’t bear to part with them. The pomegranate painting was another wedding gift and was the inspiration for the colors in this room.

Bedroom dresser

Ok, I’m no stylist. But I like to see this little collection of things on our dresser in the mornings. The photos are of my father as a child, the handheld silver mirror (lying flat) was an 18th birthday present, the mother-of-pearl inlaid mirror is from Wisteria and was a source of much soul-searching (should we really spend the money?) but it was the best price I’d found for this type of mirror and I absolutely love it. The domino box is also from Wisteria and was a present from my sister (with some strong hints…). The large paper flower was made by my two-year-old at his daycare and is, quite frankly, the best thing about this collection (in my humble, doting-parent, opinion!)

Guest room

Last but not least, the guest room. The photograph isn’t great, but the room itself is really relaxing to be in. The wall color is Morning Dew by Benjamin Moore – a really pale, creamy green. The drapes are white linen and from the Shade Store again. The bedside tables were an absolute find for $140 each in a local antiques store (Past Perfect on Union Street – same place I got the Louis chair). Somehow they work with the IKEA bed and lamps. The rug is from South Africa, a gift from my parents.

In another post, I’ll try to show some pics of the nursery, office and kitchen. The latter is definitely a work in progress – we’re contemplating a renovation.

So, that’s our home. I hope it provides some ideas – even if only what not to do!