San Francisco House Tour

San Francisco House Tour

Blogger Jordan Ferney lives with her husband, Paul, and their two sons in San Francisco’s Mission District. Her old home, just a few blocks away, was only 500 square feet! So we couldn’t wait to see how she decorated their new, bigger space. Jordan always has awesome tips, from finding affordable art to throwing unusual dinner parties. Here’s a peek inside…

San Francisco House Tour

On cool dinner parties: Now that we have a dining room, I want to get better at dinner parties. My New Year’s resolution was to host 52 dinners this year, and we just had dinner #24. I’ve learned to plan the menu beforehand and order groceries to save time shopping. Also, always have some sort of surprise. It can be a surprise guest, a surprise dish… One time a friend was out fishing and he caught this huge gorgeous salmon. He brought it to our house, and we had fresh sashimi. He carved the fish right in front of us. I remember thinking, “I’ll never forget this.” Another time, we had a stranger dinner party. We invited four different friends and asked them each to bring someone we didn’t know. It’s nice to do things to make the evening memorable.

San Francisco House Tour

On choosing art: Our art is mostly from flea markets and eBay, and most pieces we buy are around $25. Since my husband is an artist, this is one area where he has strong opinions. I’ll bring home thrift store art and he’s like, “WHAT??” because he’s looking at the technique. And I’m like, “It’s quirky!” Once I brought home a painting of a ship, and Paul said, “That looks like a child made it.” Then we decided to re-frame it and when I took it out of its frame, the back of it said “Jeffrey, age 12.” We were laughing so hard. It actually was a child’s artwork!

Dining table: Ikea. Rug: vintage, from Morocco. Bench: World Market. Chandelier: original to home.

San Francisco House Tour

On inhabiting a bigger space: When we moved to this house, we jokingly called it “the manse,” even though it doesn’t have a backyard and in a lot of the United States, this place would still be considered quite small. But we used to live in a 500-square-foot apartment, so to us, this place is huge. I swore when we moved in, we were going to continue to regularly purge things, and oh my gosh, it did not happen. We somehow wound up with closets full of things. I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and was like, “I want to get rid of everything.” But since there are more places to put things, we don’t feel such a sense of urgency.

Black sofa: custom from Clad Home. Green sofa: Room & Board. Rug: vintage, from Morocco. Green pillow: Furbish. Drapes: custom, from Madina Aryeh. Coffee table: Ikea (no longer available, similar here). Yellow chair: vintage. Floor lamp: vintage.

San Francisco House Tour

On favorite TV shows: The kids go to bed around 8 p.m., and then sometimes Paul and I will spend a couple hours watching TV together. My favorite show is Broad City. I love is SO MUCH. I’ve probably watched each episode four times. It’s funny in a way that feels fresh. You know what else I’ve been watching lately? The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. It totally holds up!

Shelving: Ikea. Brass planter: eBay.

San Francisco House Tour

On keeping greenery: There’s an amazing nursery/plant store/coffee shop in San Francisco called Flora Grubb. One trick I’ve learned is to ask the nursery which plants need to be watered once a week. Then I’ll set an alarm on my phone, and on that one day I’ll go through the house and water all the plants. Keeping everything on the same schedule really helps. I can’t deal with needy plants, but once a week I can do.

San Francisco House Tour

On wise words: “Nothing will make you feel better except for doing the work.” That’s my personal mantra, and I even have a print of it. When I first heard it, it really resonated with me. I ALWAYS get myself into situations where I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. I’ll try to think of every way I can to not do that thing. Should I cancel? Should I do something else? In the end, I have to tell myself that nothing will make me feel better except doing the work.

Stool: vintage, from Book/Shop. Shelving: Ikea.

San Francisco House Tour

On collecting books: I have been on a big reading kick lately. I loved Lena Dunham’s book, and I really enjoyed Miranda July’s novel. Even though I work a lot, I try to make time for reading. I’ve also been reading the Harry Potter books with my kids. At five and seven, they’re finally old enough where we can enjoy reading a big book together. It’s been amazing. I’m also a big believer in having lots of books in a room. It makes you want to spend more time there.

San Francisco House Tour

On keeping the boys’ bedroom tidy: The kids’ room usually does look this organized. At five and seven, our kids are old enough that before bed every night, we do a quick pick-up. The key to organizing, whether it’s in a playroom or an entire house, is to have a place for everything. They know that when they pull out the Lego bin, everything must go back in the Lego bin.

World map wallpaper: Amazon. Bunk beds: Ikea (painted black). Bedding: Pottery Barn Kids. Coat rack: Sutro. Toy basket: thrifted.

San Francisco House Tour

On impromptu geography lessons: I grew up in a really small town in Utah, and one of my dad’s biggest concerns was that he wanted us to be aware and to have a bigger worldview. He got a National Geographic map and wallpapered it on one of our living room walls. I grew up with this giant wall map, so when I saw that map I was immediately like, “That’s going on the wall!” Every time we travel, we’ll find our destination on the map. We’ll talk about distances. Sometimes we’ll even pull the bed away from the wall so we can see where everything is.

San Francisco House Tour

On paring things down: We try to edit, and the boys don’t get too attached to things. I’ll say, “Hey, I think I’m going to give this to Goodwill so other kids can get a chance to play with it,” and they’re usually fine with that. After I read the Marie Kondo book, I said to them, “Let’s look around and find things we don’t really love or play with anymore.” They thought about it, and then my son came to me, really wide-eyed, and said, “I figured it out! All those wooden toys up on the shelf!” Then he points to all the beautiful European, carefully crafted wooden toys. I was like, “Over my dead body.”

Tall bookshelf: Ikea. Rug: West Elm. Seahorse and Dragonflies: Petit Pan. Sailboat kite: Haptic Lab. Toys: complete sources here.

San Francisco House Tour

On dark bedroom walls: We painted the walls and ceiling in the bedroom. I totally copied Jenna Lyons. What she did 15 years ago is still cool right now. The dark walls keep everything feeling kind of calm.

Paint: Dark Kettle Black by Valspar. Bed: handmade by a friend. Hanging basket chair: Serena & Lily. Rug: vintage, from Morocco. Chandelier: Patrick Townsend.

San Francisco House Tour

San Francisco House Tour

A great place to buy art: There’s this amazing sale once a year in Oakland called the White Elephant Sale. It takes place in a warehouse and is run by these well-to-do old ladies. The whole thing is flawlessly organized. My entire art wall in the bedroom came from the While Elephant sale. Everything was around $45 each, and they come expensively framed. People actually fly out just to go to the White Elephant sale. It’s that good.

Dresser: vintage. Fries Before Guys tote: Oh Happy Day.

San Francisco House Tour

San Francisco House Tour

On being a good host: Now that we have a guest room, we have guests all the time. Sometimes it’s helpful to put yourself in their shoes to figure out what they’ll need — taking their coat when they walk in, putting a drink in their hand immediately. The guest room has been fun to decorate because it feels like I can take more risks. If I find offbeat bedding or weird art, a lot of time it ends up in there.

Bed: Room & Board. Graph bedding: Unison. Pillow: Normann Copenhagen. Blanket: Morocco. Bedside tables: vintage. Light: Serena & Lily (no longer available, similar here).

San Francisco House Tour

On the magic of chocolate cake: If I’m having a bad day, I love baking a cake. I always make Ina Garten’s chocolate cake, which is amazing. There’s a chapter in Julia Child’s biography where she talks about how they were having a terrible day and she says, “I couldn’t even bake a cake because the oven wasn’t working.” That really stuck out to me, if I’m having a rough time, I’ll be like, “Let’s make cookies, that’ll turn this day around!”

San Francisco House Tour

On kitchen renovations: The only real renovation we did was the kitchen. I like kitchens to look like kitchens — with that quintessential white subway tile, floor to ceiling. Subway tile is so cheap and actually really easy. We bought it at Lowe’s and it came with built-in spaces within the tiles, so it takes like five seconds to lay. We were able to do it ourselves.

Ceramic serveware: Mud Australia. Faucet: vintage unlacquered brash, from eBay. Shelving: pine boards with Anthropologie hardware. Pendant light fixtures: Schoolhouse Electric.

San Francisco House Tour

The truth about cute fridges: We had to buy a new fridge for the house. My husband was like, just find a fridge on Craigslist, and that’s where I saw this one for $300. It fell in my lap! My friends are always like, you need to get a grown-up fridge, and maybe we’ll do that in a few years. It doesn’t fit much food, and the freezer is tiny. But we’ve lived with smaller fridges before!

Refrigerator: Smeg. Metal shelving: Costco, similar here.

San Francisco House Tour

On building a dream pantry: It doesn’t always look this awesome! But most of the time, it looks pretty good. There’s a huge store here called Rainbow Grocery, where they have enormous bins of dry goods. You choose from 20 different kinds of salt, a bunch of different oats. I realized it was easier to pull together healthy meals if you keep dry goods around the house. Plus, they’re beautiful.

On quick dinners: I make an easy version of mac and cheese, called Brown Butter pasta. I always buy a big old chunk of Parmesan cheese, and keep that in the fridge along with some butter. It doesn’t really go bad. You just brown the butter until it gets really caramel-y smelling and then mix in grated Parmesan cheese and pasta. I try to throw something green in there, too. It takes 15 minutes, and everyone loves it.

Brackets: Anthropologie. Wire baskets: Target. Round basket: Target.

San Francisco House Tour

On the family gathering place: It’s crazy how much time we spend in the kitchen. Our old kitchen didn’t have an island, and now that we have one, we use it all the time. We eat breakfast here, we do homework here; it’s the place where everything comes together.

Counter stools: Design Within Reach.

San Francisco House Tour

San Francisco House Tour

Thank you so much, Jordan! If you’d like to read more, here’s Jordan’s blog and party shop.

Top photo credits: Table: Room & Board. Rug, Lamp and Coatrack: vintage. Bench: Target. Art: Kindah Khalidy. Bowl: Helen Levi. Necklace: E. Smith.

P.S. More home tours, including a cool Williamsburg loft and a gorgeous California house.

(Photos by Paul Ferney. Interview by Caroline Donofrio.)

  1. katie says...

    love it all, can you tell me where the black and white photograph is of the group swimmers?
    You have such talent, thanks!!

  2. Meredith says...

    Hi! What are the dimensions of your pantry?

  3. Res says...

    You did a great job on your house! Loved all of it.

  4. Eilidh Lawson says...

    Where can I get the butterfly painting from? The one above your green sofa.
    PS these photos are stunning.
    Eilidh in Glasgow

  5. Kim says...

    I love the gray bedding!!! Where did that come from?


  6. Kim says...

    Very Interested to know where the bedding came from?? I love it…Need it…



  7. I still can’t get over how beautiful your home tour is. I’m moving into a new apartment in one month and I finally drafted a round-up of my very favorite pieces. I couldn’t resist sharing an image of your beautiful home (credited to you, of course!) as inspiration.


    • Oops! Realized I meant Jordan’s home :)

  8. Mary Hepworth says...

    Loved looking at your house and found it inspirational ….thanks x

  9. 3 bibou says...

    Vey nice :) where does come from the wall lamp on black wall ?
    Thanks very much

  10. Joanna says...

    Beautiful home! I too am wondering where the master bedroom bedding is from? Would Jordan share her source?

  11. Jen says...

    I’m obsessed about the “Nothing will make you feel better except doing the work” sign. Does anyone know where I can purchase one? It needs to be my new mantra.


  12. Baya says...

    Great house tour! So many nice corners! And +1 for floor plans :)
    I as wondering where she got the storage glasses for oats, flour, pasta,… in her pantry?

  13. Jordan’s home is My dream home! She is so uber talented and anything she touches turns to gold. I am wondering where her master bedding is from? Thanks!

  14. This place looks incredible. I’m so inspired!

  15. do we have practical advice about keeping that velvet-looking couch nice with kiddos?

  16. Ann says...

    I really adore your kitchen. Can you share your faucet source too? Are your cabinets from ikea? I would really love to try doing subway tiles.

  17. Veronica Domurat says...

    Jordan and Jo,
    I am so impressed with both of your apartments, the current ones where you are living now and your previous ones. So much style and such happy places!! Thank you, it has been very inspiring.

  18. SFDC says...

    Anybody have a source for those candle holders in the dining room?

  19. Andrea says...

    She has an amazing house but I just keep thinking about the dirty hand prints all over the white walls, fixtures, etc. I need more color in my life!

  20. What a beautiful house tour! Love the goal of hosting 52 dinners this year!

  21. One of my favorite posts! I love her (and her home!) so much! What a fantastic write-up and beautiful images. Thanks for inviting us into your home, Jordan!

  22. Oh my goodness, I LOVE Jordan’s home! I even went over to her website (hi Jordan! :) and looked at the “before” pictures. It was beautiful before, but it was also so helpful to see how she transformed everything. Even how she painted so much of the wood white to make everything brighter and crisper was really helpful — I think when I see older places, I often think they’re too dark, but always think “painting everything white would be too much!”

    Anyway, I hope that Jordan and her family have such a nice life in the place!

  23. This house is insanely delicious. I want it all!

  24. Angie says...

    Great post! May I just suggest that you show us a floor plan before your house tours? It just makes it so much easier to visualise where everything else is!

  25. So gorgeous! xx

  26. I love how so many of your purchases come from Ikea, Target, and thrift shops. So many bloggers are like “oh yes all these things I have are super affordable!” And I look at the prices and I’m like “Um…….” Haha! Love the dark bedroom walls too! I was in school when I saw that Domino Magazine article on Jenna Lyons NYC apartment and I actually re-created her bedroom for a miniature diorama design project, down to the stained herringbone wood floors!

  27. Jordan and Paul have a gorgeous home! I love all the big windows! And that tile in the kitchen — gorgeous!

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  28. Angela says...

    Beautiful House!! Any hints on what kind of plant is in the master bedroom? Thanks!!

    • kristen says...

      angela, that is a fiddle leaf plant – available lots of places, including The Home Depot!

    • Lauren says...

      fiddle leaf fig (ficus lyrata)

  29. Becca says...

    Whew, what a beautiful home!! Can anyone tell what color the guest bedroom wall is? Is that a white or a gray? Would Jordan be able to share the paint name?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      jordan says: “It’s my favorite boring color! Swiss coffee. It’s a white wall that is slightly warm.”

  30. Simone says...

    I love the servingware in the kitchen. I had to laugh, we do the wire rack and I have the same baskets she does in the kitchen, but mine doesn’t look nearly as organized! Inspiration to re-organize the kitchen!

  31. Karen says...

    What a lovely home! Thanks for sharing. Love all the plants and the pops of color throughout, especially in the kitchen.

  32. So much light! Wow. Beautiful home.

  33. Erin says...

    Love this house tour – especially the kids’ room and map wall paper. Where did Jordan get that? Great idea!