Design

An Eclectic Home in San Francisco

San Francisco house tour

Photographer Sandra Ajanaku and her husband, James, are decidedly international. She grew up in Nigeria; he grew up in England. They met in London, then lived in Amsterdam for 11 years before moving to New York. Now they’re testing the waters in San Francisco with their two children, Olana and Theo. Here’s a peek inside their Victorian home…

Noe Valley House Tour

On being nomads: Being nomadic is part of who I am. I’m half-Dutch and half-Nigerian. I grew up in Nigeria and went to an American international school. I had friends from Israel, Lebanon, India, Denmark, America — which had a huge impact on me wanting to see the world. James and I have traveled a lot together. But once we had kids, it seemed like when we traveled we spent most of our time on the playground. Coming to the United States felt like a way to continue living the life we enjoy, but in a way that works with kids. We’re not traveling, but instead immersing ourselves in the culture.

LIVING ROOM
Noe Valley House Tour

Sofa and pillows: Shanghai Tip. Armchair and coffee table: vintage. Lamp: vintage, similar. Rug: The Weavery.

On finding pieces: So much of what is in our house is found. Once, while walking around Amsterdam, I found a 1950s Danish chair on the curb. Someone must have thought it was junk, but I put it on my head and walked home with it. We got it reupholstered in purple fabric — and probably ended up paying more than if we had bought it from a store!

On balance: Our house back in Amsterdam was very modern, so we didn’t buy much modern furniture, because everything would feel a bit too soulless and stark. But then we moved to this San Francisco rental, which is much more traditional with the old moldings and doors. All of a sudden it feels like we had so much old stuff. It’s all about balance. But it’s furniture that we love, and we’re making it work.

Noe Valley House Tour

On Moroccan rugs: James and I have dear friends back in Amsterdam, and we joke that we are all married to each other. We all signed our official marriage papers together, and actually said, “Do you James & Driss take Sandra & Bettina…” It was hilarious. Driss sells amazing handmade rugs from the town where he grew up in Morocco. They also customize rugs: We fell in love with a rug we saw in Morocco during our wedding, and they made a replica for us. Now it’s in our living room.

Portrait painting: Virginia Sevier Rogers from Stuff.

On portraits: Recently I went to Stuff, a vintage warehouse in San Francisco. For some reason, this painting of a boy was calling to me from the other side of the room. Something about it reminded me of Theo, like it could be him in six years. It’s a portrait by the Carmel-based artist Virginia Sevier Rogers of her son. James thinks it’s weird, like we have a portrait of someone else’s kid, but I love it. We also have a painting in our bedroom by the Dutch artist Chris Berens of a little ballerina. We spotted it in the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat (antique district) in Amsterdam, and I fell in love with his dreamy style. It was before we had our daughter, but she was very much wanted at the time. Now I look at it and see her 100%.

Noe Valley House Tour

Mirror: vintage. Candlesticks: vintage, similar.

On Mad Men: My husband lived in student housing back in college. The owner of the house didn’t care for this coffee table, and he let James keep it. We’re big Mad Men fans and used to watch it all the time. When the show moved into the 1960s, we realized that Don Draper had the exact same coffee table in his office — the exact same one! Everyone has a mid-century modern coffee table, but we were like, that is ours!

Coat rack: Eames. Bunting: similar.

On Dutch traditions: We recently celebrated Olana’s birthday and decorated the house with bunting — a very Dutch thing to do. It’s also a tradition that the whole family gets congratulated on behalf of the birthday girl or boy. The kids and parents bring treats to hand out to everyone in their class and work. It can be confusing for people who aren’t familiar with the custom; you get into conversations like “Oh no, it’s not my birthday, it’s my daughter’s…” But I really like the idea of giving on your special day, and being congratulated on being a mom.

KITCHEN
Noe Valley House Tour

On stereotyping: My mother is a blonde, blue-eyed white Dutch lady. My dad is a beautiful Central-West African Nigerian. I realize now what an amazing upbringing that was and how lucky we were. It wasn’t really until we moved to the United States that I realized not everyone grew up the way I did. Since Olana and Theo have lighter skin than I do, people sometimes assume I’m their nanny or babysitter, versus their mother. We are all guilty of stereotyping (including me), but it makes me sad that some people have only seen one way of things and can’t help jumping to that conclusion.

Noe Valley House Tour

Ceramic dinnerware: Heath Ceramics. Pie cover: De Bijenkorf. Wood bowls: Earth World Living.

On cooking with kids: Before we had kids, James did most of the cooking. He enjoys it much more than I do, but he works late during the week, so now he’ll cook a nice meal over the weekend. The kids love chopping up vegetables; we let them use our bluntest knives. James is good at making the traditional stuff extra delicious, like lasagna and shepherd’s pie. We’ve also embraced American culture — we now have a BBQ!

DINING ROOM
Noe Valley House Tour

Record shelf: MUJI. Dining table and chairs: family heirlooms. High chair: Stokke.

On high chairs: In Holland, everyone has a high chair from the Norwegian brand Stokke. They come in all different colors, and you can adjust the panels to grow with the child. We adults even sit in them from time to time. My parents gave them to us when each of our children were born.

Noe Valley House Tour

Fox plate: Omm Design.

On chocolate for breakfast: We’ve all read the articles about Dutch parents being totally cool with giving their kids “hagelslag” (chocolate sprinkles) on toast every day. We do let our kids eat pain au chocolat and Nutella for breakfast — what can I say, we love chocolate! Some of my American friends comment ‘lucky her’ as Olana eats her pastry and they feed their kids carrot sticks. I wish! Olana is not the most adventurous eater, so after a couple years of feeling despair and guilt and basically making every meal a scene, I decided to let go. I figured a pain au chocolat a day wasn’t going to hurt anyone. Anyway, chocolate is good for the brain, right? Everything in good measure.

Noe Valley House Tour

On music: My husband James has an amazing love for music, and I fell in love with him alongside falling in love with his music collection. He’s really into old school funk, ‘70s soul, ‘80s rare groove and ‘90s hip hop. We worked for the same ad agency in London, and he DJed parties and played bongos. Lately, the kids have gotten into listening to music, too. Theo will say ‘Another one?’ and run over to pick his own record and place it on the turntable ‘by myself!’ It’s like a music potluck — a super fun thing we do on the weekends.
 
MASTER BEDROOM
Noe Valley House Tour

Bed: Daniel Spring. Boob pillowcases: Gravel & Gold. Black and white rug: The Weavery. Colorful rug: Beldi Marrakech. Ballerina print: Chris Berens.

On making friends: My best friend in San Francisco inspired me to get these boob pillows. We first met because she posted a rattan peacock chair on Craiglist, so I went to her house to take a look. She was selling it because her husband was like, ‘We don’t need anymore furniture,’ and I ended up not buying it because James was like, ‘We don’t need anymore furniture.’ She had a bag with this print, and I told her I loved it. It’s made by the San Francisco brand Gravel & Gold. Their store was right around the corner in the Mission, so she invited me to go with her. My husband isn’t quite sure about the pillows, and people don’t quite know how to react, but I think they’re fun!

Noe Valley House Tour

Desk: vintage. Desk chair: Eames. Sheepskin rug: similar.

On staying in touch: We do everything we can to stay in touch with friends and family: we call, we FaceTime, we WhatsApp. And, I’m a MASSIVE over-user of Facebook and Instagram. I know so many people hate it, but for me, it’s the best way of staying connected with loved ones around the globe. True, the medium can feel less personal, but I balance that out by sharing my honest opinions and inner thoughts.

Noe Valley House Tour

Theo’s bed: Oeuf. Polka dot sheet: Zara, similar. Quilt: handmade.

On co-sleeping: You know all those things you think you’re going to do as a parent… and then all the things you end up actually doing? I didn’t think I would co-sleep with my children; it wasn’t something that was important to me. But once I was a mother, having them by my side was very special. It was also convenient. Neither of them took to a bottle, so I didn’t have to walk across the hallway every night when they woke up. We used to have Theo’s bed in the kids’ room, but he’s always sleeping in our bed, so we just moved it in here. He’s our last baby, I know it. We will soon hit the phase where he won’t want hugs and kisses, so there’s no rush. He’s our little hot water bottle.

DAUGHTER’S ROOM
Noe Valley House Tour

Bed: family heirloom. Polka dot bedding: Zara, similar. Colorful rug: The Weavery Carpets. Mushroom: Acorn.

On the kids’ beds: Olana’s brass bed was passed down to her. Her paternal grandfather used it, James and his sister used it, and now it’s her “princess bed.” Olana generally falls asleep during the third book we read her at night.

Noe Valley House Tour

Noe Valley House Tour

Olana pillow: Lucy Wakefield. Rocking chair: vintage. Fox slippers: Designtorget.

On kids’ fashion: Olana is really into fashion, it’s her thing. For her first year, I was buying a lot of unisex, white, grays, and blacks, thinking she was going be the most stylish kid and wear all the stuff I love. But then she discovered pink. I don’t know where that came from, but from early on, she was headstrong about what she wanted — and didn’t want — to wear.

BATHROOM
Noe Valley House Tour

On end-of-day baths: I used to take morning showers. But after I had my babies, in those crazy first months, I felt like I didn’t have the time. Somehow it was easier to bathe in the evening. James was home from work, he would watch the kids, and it ended being my moment. It was the only time in the day that it was just me. The kids now have a bath every single evening. Maybe I projected that onto them, but now I feel like that nightly cleanse is so important. It’s the best way to end the day.

Thank you so much, Sandra!

P.S. More house tours, including a New York apartment and a colorful home in Utah.

(Photos by Lena Corwin for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Jenni says...

    I love them! Thank you Meghan and Joanna for this post. I miss seeing Sandra’s radiant smile around the neighborhood. Every corner stroller chat was always a breath of fresh air. I’m so glad to see their happy family!
    And I feel you Sandra, I get the nanny question all the time (I’m caucasian and my husband is asian)!

  2. Erin says...

    I love this beautiful sweet funny warm family! Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Heather says...

    I have to say, I enjoy this series, but I find that nearly all of the houses look so very similar. I am majorly tiring of white walls, clean lines, quirky art, etc…

  4. This house is amazing, and the story of the people residing in it makes the space even more special. I really love how many of the pieces have a special meaning to the family, those simple home decor pieces is what makes a house feel like a home.

  5. Sally says...

    That little man’s curls! OMG I could eat him.

  6. stephka says...

    What are those gorgeous houses around the top of the stove vent?

    • Those are complimentary when you fly Kim business class. And they’re filled with booze. 😀

  7. Please interview her husband on music recommendations!! His taste sounds amazing!

    • Amanda says...

      My thoughts exactly!

    • YES PLEASE! AS PER THAT MUSIC POST FROM A COUPLE WEEKS BACK JO!

  8. beks says...

    those kids won the genetic lottery, adorable!

  9. Erin says...

    I would love to see a family photo! Her parents sound completely beautiful, and by the looks of her son, I’m dying to see her husband!

  10. Jane says...

    I’m super curious as to where Sandra got her watch! I’ve been looking for one in just this style. And a beautiful home and family :D

  11. Christina says...

    She seems like such a joyful mom. Love the way she looks at her kids!!

  12. Nadia says...

    What an amazing women. Her lovely vibe creates such a warm, beautiful and friendly home.
    BTW, I started to mention, that your posts featuring visual things becoming kinda cinematographic. Maybe, we’ll see CupofJo TV or videos sometime?

  13. I’d love to know where the little Eames style table and chairs Olana has in her room are from?

  14. Stephanie says...

    I want to be Sandra in my next life. Or maybe one of her children! :) I’d love to see a beauty/style/outfit post on her and would also love to hear about growing up in Nigeria and about her travels!

  15. Chelsea B. says...

    She is gorgeous! Y’all should feature her on one of your beauty uniform posts!

  16. Mallory says...

    Omg! I love next door to them! That sliver of brown house you see to the right of the main pic is our apt :) My daughter sometimes talks to their kids from the backyard. So funny!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, no way!! what a small world :)

  17. Anna says...

    Beautiful house, beautiful family – and I really love the “boob” pillows too!

  18. I love the easy-going vibe and how beautiful their home is :)

  19. Emily says...

    What a beautiful family and home.

    The thing I love the most about this is the yellow doctor’s kit toy hiding under the dresser in her daughter’s room. It was probably unintentional to have it in the shot, but it makes me feel oddly connected to the universe. We have that same little kit at our house, and are constantly finding toys underneath furniture.

    • Leah says...

      I did not catch that at first glance, but it’s such a fun detail. Even a beautiful house with hip designer furniture is lived in. Good eye!

    • spark says...

      We have this one too…all the way in Australia :)

  20. Aya says...

    Yes yes, the home is beautiful.
    However, I was totally distracted by how lovely and gorgeous she and her children are. I’d love to have a beauty uniform or something on her.

    • Anna says...

      Haha! That’s what I thought too. :-)

    • Christina says...

      Me too!

  21. Blythe says...

    My mom started bathing us at night when we were young. Usually out of necessity. We got filthy playing in the woods all day. Now, I look forward to my nightly shower and scooting into bed all clean and warm.

  22. Jona says...

    Gorgeous family! And those rugs! I looked at how much they were and wowza!

  23. Ramona says...

    Wow…wow…oh wow!

  24. Robyn says...

    Beautiful house!! Love her style. But… taking a bath every single night is a huge waste of water! Even though we are slowly coming out of the drought (yay rain!), Californians should always be aware of how much water we are using.

  25. Jules says...

    This is great. What a beautiful family.

    I love the Dutch birthday tradition and since I have Dutch ancestors, I think my family should adopt it! When I became a mother, I started sending my parents flowers on my birthday with a special note. It’s definitely a day to celebrate them as well!

    Maybe it’s because my husband is in law enforcement and it’s easy to be paranoid, but the idea of sharing so much online really freaks me out. There are lots of crazies out there!

  26. MC says...

    Just wanted to chime in as a former picky eater and say that my parents gave up trying to force me to eat anything I didn’t want to at a pretty young age – and I discovered a love of lots of different vegetables and healthy foods once I was an adult! I definitely ate chocolate & sweets in moderation and I turned out fine :)

  27. Becky R says...

    How cool to see a house in my neighborhood featured on this series! I also live in Noe and work at a school… Sandra, if you ever need a babysitter, let me know!

  28. Such an amazing house! What a gorgeous life aswell. Love the story about finding the chair on the curb, type of thing that I would do!

  29. Love this! I admire the ‘international type’. I’m so Midwestern, I know I’m missing out but the comfort of being with a couple miles of my mother, sister, father-in-law and so many friends is hard to let go of.

    Gorgeous house and family!

  30. such a beautiful home tour! and a high-five all the way from Berlin to Sandra for the boob pillows. “People don’t quite know how to react” is so true and exactly what I have in mind whenever some of my friends see these pillows at my place. they are such a fun and quirky ‘jollifier’ though!

    (yup, totally looked up that cup of jo- article from august ’15 to find the word “jollifier” again!)

  31. Kim says...

    right there with you on the pain au choc. life’s short, and childhood’s shorter. enjoy a pastry.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awww :)

    • Joanna R says...

      +1

  32. @Awads Amen–I mean, he should have been impeached already, but hopefully sooner than later–for the sake of everything and everyone we hold dear.

    Ps. Speaking of the San Fransisco area–really digging the work of a Berkeley Linguist that was featured in the Washington Post yesterday. Worth a serious read/share around.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/03/06/trumps-twitter-feed-is-a-gateway-to-authoritarianism/?utm_term=.a1d9a66cfa25

  33. Maximiliana says...

    Though not the most curated home, it has an understated, low-key, laid-back charm to it. Might have to do with the lovely family that inhabits it. And the crazy pretty daughter looks so much like her equally pretty mother, how anyone could mistake her for the little girl’s babysitter…preposterous!

  34. Jade says...

    I never knew it was a Dutch tradition to celebrate the family when it is someone’s birthday but for the past few years every time it has been a close friends birthday or one of my siblings I have sent a card to their/my mum.
    I am not a mum yet but a few years ago now a colleague of mine came into work one day really excited. I asked why and her reply struck me. She said “40 years ago today I became a mum.”

    I didn’t expect that and it was such a crystallising moment to realise that to the persons who’s birthday it is -that day will probably never mean as much as it does to their Mum (or parents) .

    Becoming and being a mum is sometimes so overlooked – a little card has always been well received.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is the sweetest tradition! :)

  35. Lourdes says...

    I love this. What a beautiful home and family. I can totally relate to the stereotype she faces. I’m Latina, my husband is white and people always assume I’m the nanny. I’ve be asked directly “are you the nanny?” or “you’re so good with him, now long have you worked for the family?”. I’ve been ignored in stores and have shocked people when I speak “such perfect English”. It happens so often you’d think I would be used to it by now. But I’m not. It still catches me off guard and it still hurts and angers me each time. It’s not so much that I’m looking down on nannies. No, definitely not. It’s a slight, a judgement on who people think I am. Not everyone looks like their mothers and not every woman of color is the hired help. I’ve started to come up with witty responses as a way to take back my power. Which feels pretty freaking great. I’m staying calm, too, bc I want them to hear my words and remember them instead of seeing my reaction.

    • Abbie says...

      Good for you, finding a way to set them straight! It is a shame that people’s “innocent” comments can be so thoughtless at times.

    • Aruna says...

      Lourdes – would love to hear some witty responses that don’t sound judge . I’m getting these comments more and more as my daughter is half Pakistani and Caucasian. It still takes me back and I’m a bit speechless – I’ve yet to formalize some responses that educate a bit…especially when they happen right in front of my daughter.

    • Jona says...

      I think just saying “I’m their mom” and staring them down as they wilt in embarrassment should teach them their lesson. My kids are mixed too but they have my nose so there’s no denying they’re mine.

  36. Lovely home and beautiful family. I can relate to the stereotyping. My first son looks very asian (my husband is chinese-american and I’m caucasian) and when it’s just me with him, people assume I adopted him. And when my husband is with my daughter, who has very light features, he says that people stare at him. They can’t figure it out. I’ve been guilty of this kind of thing as well, but now that I’m experiencing it first hand, I’m much more aware of what I’m doing. It certainly helps, though, living in the Bay Area where there are a lot of mixed race families so we’re not alone. Thank you for this profile! Beautiful family and beautiful home!

  37. Love how so many cultures are present in just one family! And their home is so beautiful and airy – that master bedroom looks like the most serene space. <3
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  38. Dawn says...

    Beautiful children, beautiful mother, beautiful house! I LOVE the dancing mushroom print in Olana’s room. Can anyone tell me where this came from?

    • Melissa says...

      I also would really like to know this! Love this house.

    • Dawn says...

      Amy – Thanks. This is perfect!

  39. Mimi says...

    We also have a toddler bed at the end of our bed–loved seeing it on a home tour. :)

  40. I love hearing about Sandra’s background, because I grew up in several countries and cultures too (with several extended visits to the Netherlands). It really does change how you view the world. I miss the multicultural relationships a lot.

  41. Hannah says...

    who else would love to read Sandra’s beauty uniform?!

    • jessica says...

      yes!

    • Aya says...

      Yes, please!

    • Mel says...

      *raises hand in air* ME, ME, ME :)

  42. I absolutely love their place! I really love the houses that sit on top of their kitchen hood, too. I love seeing their mix of cultures, adventures, and backgrounds come to life in their home.

  43. This has been my favorite of this series! I loved the backstory on what it’s like in Holland. I would also like to know what the moving process was like (like, what was it like shipping this great furniture to the US, etc!)

    http://objectsicantafford.com

    • Agreed! We are considering moving to Amsterdam soon from NYC but feel overwhelmed about taking the plunge!

  44. Rachel says...

    I love that she feeds her kids sweets without inhibition. My kids eat dessert every night (after a good dinner) and I feel like some parents would give me side-eye.

  45. Courtney says...

    What a beautiful family! And I agree with the other comments/requests for a beauty routine post. Sandra is gorgeous and she has a lovely home. I really enjoyed reading this post.

  46. A says...

    I love this home and her relaxed take on things, e.g. co-sleeping. Actually I wish she was my friend.

  47. Abesha1 says...

    Any info on that perfect white shirt Sandra is wearing?

    • jessica says...

      I absolutely was wondering the same thing! :)

    • Erin Muir says...

      Yes! Her shirt and jeans are perfect : ) Let us know…..

    • Megan Cahn says...

      It’s from Everlane :)

  48. Such a lovely family and home! One of my new favorite house tours!

  49. I adore this home (and family!). We also have a Scandinavian chair found on a curb. And I so, so relate to getting confused with the nanny. What really hurts is that if it was the other way around (if my son was brown, I was white) people would assume he was adopted. When he was an infant and so pale I would often hear “Do… you.. speak… English?” “What a cute baby, mom must be a beauty” or people address him as if HE is the adult “Where is mom today?” Silver lining is the experience has made me extra friendly to babysitters and nannies, there is a sad invisibility factor for women of color in the profession.

    • Anna says...

      This is so true. I am the (white) nanny for 3 black children and people ask me about adoption all the time. I know they don’t mean any harm, but the presumptions made based on skin colour was shocking to me and sad. (Obviously a lot of white privilege tied up in my shock… )

      My husband is mixed race and he is much whiter than his siblings and people challenge him all the time on how Mexican he really is. They’ll actually test his Spanish or knowledge of the country he grew up in!

      Articles like this are helpful to shine light on how families can look very different and are still very much families. Hopefully as mixed families become more and more common we’ll move away from these silly stereotypes.

      Beautiful family & beautiful home!

    • june2 says...

      I am shocked to hear of all these experiences! I guess I’ve been living in a progressive bubble my whole life because in my multi-cultural crowd (which I’ve always taken for granted as normal) no one would make dumb mistakes like this. How can Americans be so ignorant in the 21st century? Or is it some kind of passive-aggressive mean girl thing? What kind of world do these people want to live in?

  50. Joanna you have to make a Beauty Uniform with her!

    • kash says...

      Agreed!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great idea! she is so gorgeous!

  51. What a gorgeous and interesting family. Am I the only one who was dying to see a pic of the husband too?

    • Yes! Seriously such a gorgeous family!

    • Yes! And a beauty uniform from her!

  52. Awads says...

    My son was an underweight toddler (also named Theo!) when we started feeding him nutella daily. He’s 9 and still eats it every single day (on a waffle). I make no apologies b/c he’s a good eater of vegetables and fruit, and doesn’t drink juice or soda. Oh, and he’d still sleep in our bed every night if we let him, so get used to that!

    • Shirley says...

      Ha! My 3 year old son is also underweight (he eats fine but just has a small frame like me), and LOVES Nutella with a waffle every single morning! I felt a little guilty bc it felt like I was feeding him sweets for breakfast, but now I just let him enjoy it. Good to know it helped your son to gain weight- I hope it does the same for mine!

  53. Uma says...

    So funny. I think I’ve met and chatted with Sandra on the J line train! I live close to Noe Valley and remember seeing a gorgeous woman with 2 adorable kids get on the train and we chatted. I assumed the kids were hers of course, they look like her. I didn’t have my daughter with me but I struck up a conversation because I find myself talking more to mothers in public now that I have a child myself. This was a while ago since her kids were younger. So random to see her here and recognize her.

  54. such a gorgeous home and such beautiful kids.

  55. Isabelle says...

    Love this! A comment about her kids’ breakfast and judgement from other moms…pain au chocolat isn’t any worse than Frosted Flakes and lucky charms :)

    • em says...

      A lovely post all around but what struck me throughout the photo’s was her daughter’s incredible posture! I had ballet at her age too but do not remember carrying myself like that, then or now, lol! Gorgeous, all of them.

    • Amy says...

      Ha, good point! :)

  56. Jessica says...

    Home tours are my favorite. I have always loved peeking into other families’ rituals, homes and stories. Thanks for sharing them, COJ. And I am obsessed with that mirror!

    • Cynthia says...

      I too, loved the mirror but seeing it perched on the mantle in earthquake country made me cringe. I will hope that it is securely attached to the wall somehow!

    • Sandra says...

      👌🏾💛✨ The mirror is DEFINITELY secured to the wall and our lovely handyman assured me it is as earthquake proof as it can be! 😉 – I had nightmares until it was all done x

  57. Kat says...

    Definitely spending a portion of my morning browsing The Weavery now – love the story about the custom rug in your living room and all the gorgeous carpets throughout your home!

    • Sandra says...

      They are so gorgeous, I can’t recommend them enough! They just launched a kids collection and I’m already like 🙌🏾🌈💛✨

  58. Carrie says...

    Fascinating people and home. I savored every bit of this tour and interview. If she were to write a book about even just mundane day-to-day stuff, I’d totally buy it :)

    • Judy says...

      I noticed them too! My childhood BFF was from Amsterdam and her parents got those little ceramic houses in their travels and placed them on their kitchen fireplace mantle. Brings back such happy memories of my friend’s home and family!

  59. Laura says...

    What a beautiful family and fabulous home! Can anyone tell me where the little cityscapes that live on top of the exhaust fan and bookshelves come from?

  60. Kerry says...

    I’m too distracted by how BEAUTIFUL her children are to focus on the home decor! What a lovely family!

    • Me, too! I could stare at all three of them all day.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      agreed! they are such sweet, sweet children. we were lucky enough to be friends with them all when they lived in brooklyn. we had such fun weekend lunches (by james!) while the kids ran around.

    • Sandra says...

      🙏🏾💛✨ wow, thank you so much 😚

  61. Lovely house and beautiful family! I live in Paris and speak English with my children. I have been asked many times if I am my kids’ nanny (nounou) and they all look exactly like me. When I told one woman these are my kids, she still asked me if I would be her nanny. Lol! People really can be blind (and rude)!

    • Sandra says...

      I’m so sorry to hear that. The craziest! Even when they look so alike you. I do remember Paris was my first (European) experience of seeing so many kids with nannies at the local playgrounds (versus parents/grandparents), so like Brooklyn, maybe that has something to do with it … trying to remain positive 😚💛✨

  62. Sarah King says...

    LOVE THIS ONE! favorite home tour so far. sandra seems like a grounded, smart , honest person, and her children are lucky to have her as a parent. thank you for this peek into your world, sandra!

    • Sandra says...

      Wow this is so sweet 🙏🏾💛✨ thank you for such a lovely comment… but I must be the first person to burst this beautiful bubble, we of course make all the same mistakes every family make! 😬🌈xxx

  63. Lindsay says...

    Beautiful home and you can feel the strong love she has for her children. :) also, after visiting Amsterdam I got into toast with Gouda and chocolate sprinkles – yum!

    • Sandra says...

      Yes! Nothing beats a Dutch brown bread with cheese sandwich 💛✨😉

  64. Kaye says...

    Pretty space, per usual for this site–but my gosh, if I had the citizenship and could move back to Amsterdam or Nigeria or really–anywhere, but America–I sure would.

    sigh.

    commence bashing of this comment, Cup of jo readers who also lean towards the current regime.

    • Lindsay says...

      I’ve been all over and San Francisco is one of the best places on earth so I would choose to live there too! I don’t like Trump but 4 years goes by fast :) don’t give up on our beautiful amazing country.

    • Brianna says...

      You’re not alone, Kaye. I probably wouldn’t choose Nigeria, but yes, anywhere but here right now. I’m so desperate for a change in my life. I need to turn my world upside down in the worst way. I had the worst quarter life crisis and I’m turning 35 in five months and I don’t even know what to call THAT. It’s not mid-life because everyone in my family lives to 95+.

    • Laura Skehan says...

      Couldn’t agree with this comment more! As my husband and I get closer to the due date of our first child, we have had many serious discussions about moving to Montreal, where he has business connections. Although, this would mean me leaving a job I love… sigh.

    • Awads says...

      right on! what are we still doing here? (hang on. it won’t last 4 years)

    • Carrie says...

      Sadly, America is not her best right now and hasn’t been for years- but there is still a lot of really neat culture throughout the states to see and soak up- oh boy, especially in San Francisco! Such a cool city!

    • june2 says...

      The reason our political situation is the way it is is because so many refuse to participate in Democracy. Have you ever attended a city council meeting or even written one letter (or email) to any member of congress, or performed any act of democratic participation other than just voting? These are among the many things we each need to be doing all year long as citizens of a democracy. Leave if you like but we will have a better country only when people actively create what they’d prefer instead of lamenting what they’re given.

    • Kaye says...

      @june2 First, the notion that complaining is a signal or sign that I twirl in my chair–or any sits on their thumbs and does nothing–is complete malarkey. I am allowed to be an active participant (which I am) and also want to get the hell out of dodge because yeah–what a fascist, racist clustercuss and we are not even to month 3.

      A lot of us (read the millions more who voted for HRC than Trump) have done and will keep doing a lot–but at the same time, the mark of a patriot is not blindly following along and going along to get along–or even refusing to lament. Believe me–I am going to lament, rage and fight like hell–but also: leave if and when I can.

      To quote: “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
      ― James Baldwin

    • @Kaye. Beautifully said, both times. Rage on.