Design

San Francisco Home Tour

Blogger Liz Stanley lives in San Francisco with her husband, their five-year-old son and a baby on the way. They have such a fun and playful home, where you can bowl in the hallway and paint crocodiles in the bedroom. Take a peek inside…


On the neighborhood: We live in Richmond, which is the outer western neighborhood of San Francisco. It’s not a super hip neighborhood, it’s very quiet. But I love our spot because we’re right across from Golden Gate Park and the de Young Museum; everything’s within a 10-minute walk. A redwood grove is right across the street.

On big windows: When we first looked at this apartment, the owners had dark velvet curtains, so we didn’t even see the windows when we first walked in. But that’s what I love most about this apartment. They’re huge and gorgeous, and there are five. When I spotted them at the end of the tour, I was like, oh my gosh, we have to get this place!

On skipping the coffee table: We don’t have a coffee table because I want more space to play and have dance parties, but we have foot stools if we want to put our feet up.

On pops of red: Growing up, my mom always told me, “Every room needs a pop of red.” Decades later, I realized that every room in my adult home has a pop of red. My younger sister pointed it out last summer. The red chair is from T.J. Maxx; it keeps breaking since it’s not real leather, and we’ve had it fixed several times. But I love it, it’s such a statement piece.

On their homemade memory game: In the top photo, we’re playing a memory game where I glued pictures of real objects—my son’s toys, our house, a park—on the back of cards. It’s really nice because I can swap out the pictures, so I’ll add a new playground or some toy he loves right now. Some things stay the same, like his little stuffed lamb.

Credits: Chevron rug from West Elm. Sofa from Crate & Barrel. Eames rocker from SoMa Classics. Bow pillow DIY here. Paul Ferney painting over the mantle. Illustrated family portrait by Ashley Christensen.
On art projects: When Henry’s bored, it’s a quick save: Let’s do an art project! Here, we were playing with old Easter eggs. I pulled out an egg carton and put numbers on each one, and we did a counting game.

On family dinners: We eat family dinners when Henry gets hungry—usually around 5:30pm! Henry loves family meals. He’ll even say “I want to have a family breakfast” in the morning. I never understood the whole thing about how it’s important to eat together, but apparently Henry totally gets it.

On cooking together: I look forward to making dinner every night. I know a bunch of people dread it, but I love it. It’s fun to get Henry involved. He’ll help cut things with butter knives and throw things into the pot.

On inexpensive framing: I found the old fruit-and-vegetable poster in a bookstore and wanted to frame it, but framing is so expensive. So I go to thrift stores and buy old frames; then I clean and often paint them. For art prints that look vintage, it’s perfect to get an old worn-out frame because then it looks like a vintage framed print.

On white leather chairs: The kitchen chairs originally had scratchy fabric that felt like a grandmother’s sofa. I thought they’d be amazing in white leather. My husband did not see my vision. You wouldn’t think of leather for a kitchen, but it’s SO easy to clean. Even if Henry spills spaghetti, I just spray it and it’s gone. Now my husband loves the chairs. He’s like, I shouldn’t have doubted you! I’m like, Remember that.

Credit: Round white table from cb2.
On bowling: Instead of normal bowling, we usually play crazy bowling where we put the pins in random places in the hallway and you have to bounce the ball off the wall. Just making things different.

On sprinting down the hallway: Henry is a runner. Our Peruvian neighbors below us call him “el corredor” because he’s constantly running back and forth in the hallway. Just like the cowboy print.

On shopping for art: My brother-in-law, Paul Ferney, is a painter, so we have pieces by him. We have photos of the temple where we got married, a commissioned illustration of our family, photographs by friends. Everything is meaningful. I try to not just buy art because I have a blank wall.

Credits: Richard Prince cowboy print, which Jordan and Paul Ferney reproduced, blew up and printed on canvas. Bowling set from Land of Nod. Yellow rug from West Elm.
On how to decorate: There’s no real planning. I just get pieces I like and trust that they’ll come together. I decorate quickly and get it over with. My mother-in-law came over the other day and was like, I haven’t been here in two years and the house looks exactly the same. I just get it to a point where it looks cute to me and then I walk away.

On the blue cross pillow: I saw a similar pillow in Domino Magazine and thought it would be easy to make with felt and cotton. Here’s a tutorial I did.

On the mirror: The mirror was from my grandmother’s home, and we inherited it when she passed away. The mirror creaks in the middle of the night, and I always think it’s my grandmother’s ghost. It’s loud!

Credits: Three paintings by Michelle Armas. White headboard from West Elm. Silk striped curtains from a thrift store.
On framing a child’s art: He loves that we framed his art and talks about it all the time: “It’s my art gallery.” It’s really cute. I just went to the thrift store and bought old crappy frames and spray painted them gold. I bought different textures and sizes, knowing that I could cut his artwork down into any size. We rotate his artwork; right now he’s really into making crocodiles, so we have those displayed.

On the Henry pillow: With these cool personalized pillows, you choose the hair color, eye color, expression and name. Henry loves it. He’ll lie down next to the pillow and call it his brother.

On the Eames rocker: As cute as that chair is, it’s not that comfy, especially if you’re trying to read to a kid. So now it’s purely decorative. We read stories on our bed instead.

On having a lovey: When Henry was a baby, he was never really attached to anything. But I kept putting a little lamb in the crib with him and putting his arm around it and forcing him to love it. Now he’s attached to it and will sleep with it. You can force your kids to love what you want them to love!

On the sunshine print: My husband would sing “You Are My Sunshine” to me when we were dating. When we were kissing, he’d always hum it to me. So, of course, I’d sing it to Henry when he was little. It’s our special song. Although it’s special to a lot of people!

Credits: Mini white Bertoia chairs from Little Nest. Personalized name pillow from Sarah + Abraham. Toddler bed from Oeuf. Striped rug from IKEA. Prints by Blanca Gomez. Eames rocker from SoMa Classics. Yellow dresser from IKEA. Open storage shelves from Target.
On working at home: There are doors that open from my office into our bedroom and Henry’s bedroom, and the doors are always wide open, even when I’m trying to do work. He’s welcome to come in. He knows he can tell me about tricks he’s doing or ask questions or help me with a project. I like when he wanders in and out.

On creating an inspiration wall: I just strung wires between two nails, and I hang things up with paperclips. Here, I had a photo of the Grand Tetons because we had just gone there. And a homemade clock that I had just made. My sister had drawn a touching thank-you card. When I first made the wall, I didn’t realize how much I was drawn to yellow and gray.

Credits: Artwork by Kiki & Polly; girl with yellow dress by tushtush. Desk from Craigslist. Rug from IKEA.
On the garden: We have a community garden right next door. Anyone the city can come have a plot, although there’s a crazy three-year waiting list. They gave us a skinny plot, and we did a good job taking care of the plants, so they gave us a larger spot, and then I totally failed. And I had no excuse; I live next door! So they took it away. This shot was taken back in the glory days. We still go down there all the time and walk about plants and try to catch bugs.

Thank you so much, Liz! Check out her great blog, Say Yes to Hoboken, if you’d like. xoxo

P.S. Another San Francisco home tour (only 500 square feet!), and New York apartment tour.

(Photos by Sarah Hebenstreit of Modern Kids Photography)

  1. Oh my goodness that messed with my head! The two pictures that show the family in the bedroom and there are the three pictures above the bed…at first I thought they had changed the pictures or it was a different room – then I figured out that for some reason one of the pictures was reversed??

  2. Can you let me know where you bought the Sunshine print? Would love it in my son’s room!

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  4. Beautiful and well-curated home! One thing…do you think the neighbors’ knickname for her son might be a subtle hint that they might not love all the running around? Maybe thicker carpets might be a nice add? (Having lived in apartment building where the floors made it sound like the single woman living above us was literally walking INSIDE our apartment, it just might be thoughtful to consideration. Yes, it’s super fun to run around, but that’s also something to be considered in decorating in a shared building.)

  5. Hi! I love the cute personalized pillow, but I went to the link and it’s not there — can you please let me know where you got it from?
    thanks!

  6. Great tour, I live how creative Liz’s style is, especially with the different frames and mirrors.

  7. It’s so bright and beautiful! Perfect for entertaining (gorgeous), but even better for living in. Also, I love that she admitted to the gardening gaff. Real Talk. :)

  8. “You can force your kids to love what you want them to love!” How about you just expose them to what you love and let them choose? Sorry but it’s not anyone’s role, especially a parent, to force anyone, especially a child, to love something. Share your passion, share your joy and delight in something but forcing your kids to love something? That’s taking controlling to a new level. It’s like parents who force children to kiss and hug someone the children don’t want to. In our household, unacceptable.

    • Wow. Mletta–I can’t speak for her, but the spirit of that comment (in my mind) was lighthearted and didn’t reflect control at all. It is obvious via Liz’s blog and home atmosphere that her parenting style is one of flexibility, joy, and beauty. She is tirelessly taking the time to create art with Henry, spend lots of time with him, and encourages him to express himself. She does share her passion, joy, and delight in her life with her son, with her family, and with the world.

  9. Loooooove her decorating quote! I love decorating, but then I. am. done. Hahahaha

    Also, is it just me, or did the Stanleys just create awesome kids (including by marriage kids)? ;)

  10. LIZ: Love this place! Love the energy. QUESTION: The veggie print hanging near your oval dining table – where did this come from? I have been looking for something just like this to hang in our breakfast nook for nearly a year! Any insights are welcome!

  11. What a gorgeous home! I especially loved the parts about her Grandmother’s creaky mirror and forcing Henry to have a lovey (to funny). I love Liz’s blog! It’s so neat to get such an in depth tour of her place xo

    http://sidandlinda.blogspot.com

  12. I would love a mirror that contained my grandmother’s ghost. :)

  13. Lovely home, very bright and colorful. I like how Liz has really customized each and every corner but not clutter the house with kids stuff all over. It’s nice, open and spacious. Very creative. Thank you Liz and Joanna for sharing!

  14. What a beautiful home! I am officially in love with the chevron rug…

  15. Such a great place in the city. Love your choices, Liz!

  16. The quote about buying art because it means something is amazing, my husband is always just choosing things at random to fill space and it drives me crazy!

  17. This place looks like heaven <3

  18. We love it! It really is incredibly beautiful- especially the Richard Prince prints!

    Have a lovely day,

    Birdy and Bambi

  19. I love how homes have feelings, and this definitely has just a happy fun feeling. I don’t know Liz, but I’m sure that has to be accredited to her and what she exudes and puts out into the world! What a happy family! I’ll never tire of seeing those windows. (the stuffed animal comment also made me laugh out loud because I totally did the same thing with all 3 of my kids and their blankets- which they’re all attached to now. success)

  20. I love this apartment! The pops of red and leaving it as it is and just walking away, brilliant! Very inspiring. I also love the art projects idea to keep kids busy. I completely agree. I do that with my 4 year old and it always works. Everyone loves to paint!

    Thanks for the great photos and interview! Super!

  21. I love, love, love this gorgeous house and her blog! She just radiates joy and beauty and I couldn’t be happier to read about her second pregnancy!

    As a sidenote, I’d love to talk finances on Cup of Jo- a lot of the gorgeous houses we see in expensive cities belong to a blogger and I don’t understand how they’re able to afford it! Doctor husbands? Or is blogging a gold mine? I think it would help me understand how to afford city life + family life and it’s always interesting to see how other people do things (money included!)

    • I completely agree. A lot of the things featured on this blog seem to be pretty pricey (from homes, to style, to food, to vacation ideas, etc.). Offering insight for how you manage such big ticket things would be great, as would be offering lower cost alternatives!

      While I love the things you show on your blog, as a full time college student, I’d also love to hear about other things in a lower price range, such as beautiful dresses that aren’t $200+ (because, sadly, I will probably never be able to afford that). I’d also love to see featured homes that are in less expensive areas. It’s great to dream, but getting a glimpse at some more realistic things are wonderful, too! (Sorry to go a bit off topic, but it’s something I’ve thought for a long time!)

      But I must say, Liz has a very beautiful home!

  22. How long ago did you get the personalized pillow? I don’t see them on their site . . . maybe I am missing something? I love it! Great post.

  23. I have been thinking about that eames rocker for a long time debating whether or not to get it because it looked uncomfortable. nice to confirm my suspicions so I can clear it from my brain finally! thank you!

  24. Beautiful home and beautiful family. Love how bright and open the rooms are.

  25. What an amazing home! So bright and cheerful…thanks for sharing!

  26. jm says...

    Love this!

  27. Liz! I always love seeing your beautiful apartment. So much light! And I want to hug that Henry to pieces. Plus it’s always fun for me to see my brother being a dad. You guys are such great parents!

  28. That personalized pillow is so cute, though I don’t see it anywhere on their site???? I wonder if I’m missing it somewhere. Would love to get one!

  29. This is one of the most charming home tours I’ve ever taken.

  30. Such a cute place! We live in the Richmond too, just closer to the Presidio, and we love it. It’s definitely on the quieter side, but it’s got it’s own charms.

  31. love her home!

    My mom would sing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ to little me, but it would make me cry instead.

  32. This is one of the most beautiful homes I’ve seen! I love the colors and the bright, happy spirit. I’m about to move to a new apartment this month and I’m bookmarking this for inspiration!

  33. She lives in THE Richmond, not Richmond (which is a grittier neighborhood also in/near SF). I love her place and her décor! Thanks to the tech industry, finding reasonable housing is nearly impossible in SF right now, so I’m more than a bit jealous.

    • HI Carmen! You’re right, THE Richmond neighborhood. We were lucky to find this place when we did because now prices have gone through the roof! We might be stuck her for a while (not a bad thing though!)

    • Sorry to correct, I thought that was in the editorial from Joanna, not in your quote! I currently live in The Richmond and love it, so had to represent :) Your place and style is so fun and colorful!

  34. Love all the colors! Thanks for sharing.

  35. Gorgeous mirror in the bedroom and I love the absence of a coffee table in the living room leaving more space for play! Such a great idea that I would never have even considered!

  36. Your place is so cute! It completely corresponds you from what I know about you and your family through your blog posts! You seem to be all very happy. I wish you all the best!
    PS: LOOVE Henry’s Pillow! haha

  37. Peruvian is not a language…otherwise enjoyable post! Love the idea of not having a coffee table – it’s one of those things you think of as a necessity, but on second thought maybe it’s not.

    • I think is just implied that if they are from Peru they speak spanish. If she had said “my spanish speaking neighbors” it might have sounded a little ignorant, in my opinion. Not to be critical though! :)

  38. I love it! especialy the pops of red. there are tons of pops like that around me, red is a special colour!

    but a teeny thing: i don’t thing Peruvian exists. They speak Spanish there in Peru, or Quechua, but certainly not Peruvian.

    • Peruvian exists as a nationality, which is what her comment said – she never said it was a language.

    • It has since been changed in the text from when the comment was originally made :)

  39. i know, i love liz so much! her answer about getting your kid to like stuff animals made me laugh out loud.

  40. liz’s lovely!

  41. Love the fun feel of their home!