Design

A Playful Home in San Francisco (With a Gorgeous Green Kitchen)

San Francisco Home Tour

Eight-year-old Matilda (above!) doesn’t realize how lucky she has it. Her mother, Lorena, designs toys for a living and her dad, Esteban, owns a toy store. “I guess you don’t know what you don’t know,” jokes Lorena. She and her husband moved into their home when they were expecting their daughter — and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. The window-filled space boasts a lush garden and is bursting with colorful art. Take a peek inside…

LIVING ROOM

San Francisco Home Tour

A Friendly Home in the Heart of San Francisco (With a Gorgeous Green Kitchen)

Sofa: Clad Home. Art: by Lorena. Lamp: Serge Mouille reproduction. Rug: Rugvista, similar. Coffee table: Blu Dot. Rocking chair: Case Study. Pillows on sofa: from Mexico and A.P.C. Throw: Manos del Uruguay. Large pillow: by Lorena.

On a twist of fate: When I was pregnant with Matilda, my husband was scouring Craigslist just for fun. I said: ‘We’re not looking at houses, I’m very pregnant,’ but then he spotted this place and we fell in love. We wrote a letter to the owner and said we wanted to raise our daughter there and we’ve never looked back. Houses in San Francisco are mostly Victorian, so it was exciting to find a midcentury place.

On a mixing things up: Pretty much everything I do — in my work as a toy designer for Petit Collage and in my home — has lots of color. We don’t stick to a certain aesthetic, but just choose things we like, including vintage pieces, IKEA finds, and stuff I’ve made. I actually painted the piece above the sofa and made the floor pillow from a vintage rug. 

DINING ROOM

San Francisco Home Tour

Chandelier: Patrick Townsend. Dining table: Room & Board, similar. Dining chairs: Eames. Credenza: vintage, similar Art: Mat Daly.

On vegetarianism: Our daughter has been a vegetarian since she was three. She went to a school where lots of kids were vegetarian and thought their meals looked delicious, and then she started learning about animals and it just stuck. So, my husband will make something like polenta and vegetables, and then add meatballs to ours. He also makes an amazing mac and cheese. He drains the pasta, and puts it back in the pot with pasta water, cheddar, parmesan and mozzarella; then the secret is to add a spoonful of yogurt. All Matilda’s friends come over and ask for it.

KITCHEN

A Friendly Home in the Heart of San Francisco (With a Gorgeous Green Kitchen)

A Friendly Home in the Heart of San Francisco (With a Gorgeous Green Kitchen)

Bar stools: Svelte by Industry West. Radio: Tivoli. Bird mobile: Petit Collage.

On baking: Our friend built our shelves for us — we like the easy-to-reach, no-fuss approach. My daughter and I like to bake together. We make what we call ‘To-Die-For Blueberry Muffins,’ and every weekend we cook the New York Times pancakes. We also make all types of nut butters, since she is vegetarian; we’re doing our own cashew cheese, and we’ve attempted our own Nutella.

On family artwork: The oil painting in our kitchen is from my grandmother and has been in our family forever. It shows the Argentinian countryside, and I love the colors so much that we decided to paint our kitchen walls a green shade that would match it.

STAIRCASE

Art: Nat Russell. Pendant lamp: Pearl River.

On buying art: Since we’re on a hill, the house has a funky layout. You enter at the kitchen and living room level; the bedrooms are downstairs; and then half a level up is a playroom/family room. For the walls, we’re drawn to graphic prints. San Francisco has two cool stores — Rare Device and Little Paper Planes — that sell great prints.

FAMILY ROOM

San Francisco Home Tour

Sofa: IKEA, upholstered by Lorena. Pendant lamp: Home Depot. Shelves: IKEA. Desk: IKEA. Rug: by Lorena.

On inventions: Matilda is a massive thinker, so she calls the room upstairs her invention lab. She’ll say, ‘Mom, I’m in my invention lab, come up here!’ She makes all sorts of weird devices; she’s always crafting and tinkering. She’ll say, ‘Tell me what problem you have, I will solve it with my inventions.” She made a boomerang attached to a Swiffer towel to clean hard-to-reach surfaces. Once I found two glue guns in her suitcase for vacation.

On large pieces: We aren’t too precious about art, so I just painted this big heart, free-style. I like oversized pieces that anchor your eye and might make someone think, ‘What’s the story here?’ That’s also why I like a dark accent wall — it draws in your attention.

On television: We just got a TV for the first time in our lives, so now this room is like a real family room, which is the most exciting thing ever. We’ve always enjoyed classic movies, like The Parent Trap and Mary Poppins; but the laptop screen was limiting, so we caved. My husband and daughter also hang out and watch cooking channel shows together.

MASTER BEDROOM

San Francisco Home Tour

Bed frame: Blu Dot. Mattress: Casper. Bedding: West Elm. Pillows: Merci. Bedside lights: Rejuvenation, similar. Bedside tables: IKEA. Hanging planter: Ferm Living.

On first gifts: Esteban and I are both from Argentina. We’ve been friends since we were four, but we weren’t romantic until we reconnected in New York City in our twenties. When we started dating, we didn’t know what to give each other for Christmas. So, without knowing, we both got each other a box of heart-shaped Argentinian candy. It was so funny! We’ve kept the packages forever, so for our 10th anniversary, I scanned and enlarged one, and my daughter and I colored it, and now it hangs above our bed.

On adult beds: We had an old IKEA bed forever, but the slats kept falling down. I was having back pain, so when my husband and daughter were in Argentina, I said, ‘Okay, we are grown-ups, I need to buy a bed for once in my life.’ I got a new bed and a Casper mattress, and it has been life-changing. I haven’t had to go to the chiropractor since.

On scissor sconce lamps: I deal with clutter and products all day at work, so I wanted our bedroom to feel minimal. The scissor lamps help keep our bedside tables clean; plus, I’m a klutz, so I’d probably knock a lamp over! We’ve had them for more than 10 years and still love them.

BATHROOM

San Francisco Home Tour

Tray: Hay Kaleido.

On nightly rituals: My daughter and I like taking baths, and we make bath salts together. We also say, ‘Let’s do a spa day,’ but that’s secretly just my way of getting her to cut her nails! At night, I try not to work on my computer. For a million years, I was reading only non-fiction — business books or parenting books — but lately I’ve started reading fiction again, and it’s been so refreshing. I love the Maria Semple books; Where Did You Go Bernadette? was so funny.

DAUGHTER’S ROOM

San Francisco Home Tour

San Francisco Home Tour

Bed: IKEA. String lights: Bright Lab. Bunny light: Egmont. Swan head: Fiona Walker. DIY wallpaper: MT. Bin: Petit Pehr. Pillows: Mapamundi. Rug: similar.

On school plays: Matilda goes to a musical school, and also takes theater, dance and trumpet. Right now, she’s rehearsing for The Sound of Music. She is Maria. It’s such a long show that there are three Marias, who switch off. She’s the middle one when she first meets the kids and they’re naughty to her — she’s very excited that she doesn’t have to be the one that kisses the captain, which is ‘gross.’

On DIY wallpaper: We made the stripes above Matilda’s bed with thick washi tape. It was easy and super affordable.

San Francisco Home Tour

Pom pom basket: similar. Be True pennant: Gibbs Smith. Chair: vintage. Rainbow blocks: Grimm’s.

On adventure walls: Matilda calls the wall in her room with all her art her ‘adventure wall.’ She picks out everything on it, and makes many pieces herself, like the bridge, arrow, mask and swan.

BACKYARD

San Francisco Home Tour

On the garden: We spend lots of time in the backyard, where my husband gardens and Matilda climbs trees. We were lucky to have two magnolia trees, a lemon tree and an apple tree. It was originally an English-style garden with hedges, but when it finally fit into our budget we hired a landscape designer and went with all native plants. It’s crazy to think that I was eight months pregnant when we first moved in, and now we have an eight-year-old! We’re looking forward to see her grow even more in the house, which keeps changing as our family does.

Thank you so much, Lorena!

P.S. Looking for more color? Check out this Brooklyn townhouse and this Seattle home. Want advice for small spaces? Here’s a San Francisco Victorian, a teeny Brooklyn flat and an actual tiny house. For international tours, see this dreamy Parisian apartment and this home in the Japanese countryside.

(Scouted and photographed by Lena Corwin for Cup of Jo. Interview by Megan Cahn.)

  1. I am ready to bring my toothbrush if they will adopt me – but I would settle for a copy of the Magic Mac & Cheese recipe!

    • Kate says...

      Ditto for “to die for blueberry muffins”! If Matilda is willing to share her secrets :)

  2. Andrea R says...

    I just want to say, of all of the home tours I see on blogs, Cup of Joe features, by far, my favourite homes and styles. This home is no exception and I love that they are a small family – my husband and I have also chosen to have one child and are confident and happy with our choice. Our 3 year old is the light of my life.

  3. Emma says...

    Okay. I’ve thought it over and I’ve decided I’m ready to move in any time you guys are ready. Seriously, this is my favorite house tour. What a joyous house! Extra applause for your handmade elements. I’m so bummed I can’t just buy that large floor pillow. Raspberries!

  4. ashley says...

    Oh my goodness I LOVED the book Where did you go Bernadette? I kept seeing people reading it on the subway but didn’t know the title. So finally one day I went to the bookstore and said “I’m looking for the book that has the lady with the big sunglasses on the front.” And the employee KNEW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT.

  5. I’m late to the party! I think this is my favorite house tour thus far! I love when you can actually feel the love and authenticity come through. What a beautiful family and home.

    The comments on this are fantastic too. We are a family of three and I often find myself researching about Family similar to us. Recently another family member asked about us having another even though we’re good…so I told them “Jesus was an only Child and look how great he turned out!” Hehe after that nada—silence.

    So I look forward to hear a little more about families of three. I’d love to chime in and hopefully you find older mothers too because I’d love to hear their thoughts.

    Xo Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

  6. ce says...

    first, the manos del uruguay throw, then, the argentinian countryside oil painting, finally, the loveliest story behind the dorin´s… BINGO! another argentinean gal here! ;)

  7. Siri says...

    Favorite COJ house tour! I’d love for them to adopt me (says the mother of three :o )

  8. MARY CATE says...

    What a totally rad home! And I’ve always LOVED the name Matilda (one of my favourite books too!) I would love to know the brand/name of the dark green paint used in their family room, please! I read in the comments that Cascade by Sherwin Williams was used in the kitchen :)

  9. cgw says...

    I commented below to someone’s comment (that I’m an only and my husband is an only, and we *only* have one child). I scrolled though more comments and have been surprised at conversation that’s happening over the decision to have one child. I live in the SF Bay Area, and honestly don’t know how people have more than one child, it’s prohibitively expensive to live here, to raise multiples, send them off to school, and save for a retirement… especially as a teacher here, how?! I’d been wracked with guilt for many years in my child’s early life, to give her a sibling or not. But in the end, her life is rich and full, and she is happy. I know what it’s like to be an only, and I can tell you that they are less spoiled than one might think, and way more creative than anyone believes. It’s whatever fits best for your family.
    Yay! Go onlies!!

    • Katie. H says...

      I’m an only, and I’d like to thank you for adding this perspective. For some, it’s a well thought out choice, and for others, it’s just what happened. No one should be wracked with guilt about being or having only one child.

  10. alena says...

    I can’t figure it out. Do none of the kids in the house tours have any ugly toys? You know, the gag-worthy Lisa Frank-type things or Hello Kitty anything. Do the parents have such fabulous taste in everything that all ugly toys are filtered out of their children’s lives? Or do they only display the design-y ones?

    Cause my mom had great taste, but boy, did I love my Spice Girls memorabilia.

    • Ahah! So funny! I believe they hide it for the photo shoot, or else they are control freaks! I often side-eye my son’s ugly toys, I think they ruin the view, but hey, he probably thinks they look very good!

    • Nina says...

      hahahahahaha! I have 4 year old girls and their playroom is filled with the ugliest cheapest plastic non-modern non-cool non-enlightened toys. My mom buys them whatever crap catches their eye about once a week. We have giant $10 plastic babies, more Barbie knock-offs, bins filled with dollar store crayons and play dough. I think its hilarious that all the kids on these tours have the most beautiful curated toy collections. Not my reality!

    • Congee says...

      This is a design family, the mom makes a toy line and the toy store has ONLY beautifully designed toys. I go there when I want something fab. I don’t think they have any ugly toys in their closets. Here’s the store: https://www.mapamundikids.com/

  11. Rebecca Sunde says...

    Lovely! I noticed that many of your apartment/home features are in LA, SF, NYC (where I live :)…but I would love to see more from non-cities. I know a graphic designer/former art director who lives with her husband and two young boys in Springfield, MO (where Stella is from!) whose modernist home would be an amazing feature.

  12. Ana says...

    The box of heart-shaped Argentinian candy art that she made herself – its just so lovely and romantic :)

  13. Alex H. says...

    Wow, just wow. This home tour really touched me. I love the way that Lorena speaks with such love and admiration. And, how Lorena and Esteban foster such creativity and confidence in their daughter Matilda. Whether it is spending quality time with her baking or having spa days or respecting and honoring her choice to be a vegetarian. I am so inspired. I also want to call out the adventure wall, what an incredible idea for a child to have ownership to create and build and tinker. Bravo. I have saved this post for a future day when, if possible, I have a child. Thank you, Lorena and COJ team!

  14. I used to live in Noe and have bought a few things at Mapamundi–always thought it was a beautiful store! I am not surprised that their house is amazing too :)

  15. Nisha says...

    DREAM HOUSE!! Love everything about it. And what a lovely, down-to-earth and relatable family. This has to be my favorite house tour you’ve done. :)

  16. Liv says...

    When she described her back yard with magnolia and lemon trees I was transported- I could smell it! So lovely. All of this- the color, the creativity, the light- everything.

  17. SPruitt says...

    This house is a amazing. It’s just so bright and sunny and lived-in, but stylish. What a oerfect family home. And I love that most of the artwork is their own!

  18. Larissa says...

    I love this!!! What a warm and happy home. I would love to know what storage do-dad is at the head of Matilda’s bed? It would be a great set up for my daughter’s room as well. Thank you!!

  19. Wow this is such a beautiful home. It was inspiring to see how the family mixes “high and low” pieces to make their home beautiful. I also love all of the art made by their family!

  20. Mary says...

    I would love to know the source of the beautiful shelf/storage unit in Matilda’s room as well. We’re trying to improve our toy/book situation, but I can’t quite bit the bullet on buying Trofasts for our living. Something like theirs would be so much more beautiful. Thank you!

  21. Em says...

    I don’t have kids yet but would like to have just one… some day. That’s always been my dream, so I’m surprised by all the comments from mothers who feel “reassured” by seeing a single-kid family. Is there pressure in the parenting world to have more? I’ve always considered one child the perfect amount! It never occurred to me there might be a stigma surrounding it.

    • unfortunately, yes. There is a stigma around parents of “lonely onlies”… as if you’re less of a parent because you only have one child or that your kid will turn out to be a weirdo due to a lack of siblings.

      I don’t agree with any of this, just reporting my findings. My daughter may end up being an only child, given my age and the naysayers can go suck it.

    • Natalie says...

      Sadly yes people have said to me “you can’t do that to your child” among other things.

    • I have one child… also one cat, one dog, and one husband. I like to tell everyone I just have one of everything. :)

    • Jen says...

      oh yes. lots of stigma. “why would you do that to your child? / they deserve to have a sibling! / they’ll be all alone when you die. / a sibling is guaranteeing them a friend for life. / maybe you just aren’t nurturing?” etc.

    • Yep, it’s such a bummer. Jen pretty much covered it, but there’s also the one I’ve heard: “One child is an accessory, two children is a lifestyle.” WTF?! Having my ONE child changed my lifestyle more than anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s like people won’t respect your decision unless the reason is that you cannot have more due to infertility.

    • Jennifer L Vercelli says...

      Wow, that’s actually pretty shocking to hear and, a bit of an insult considering I’m a very well adjusted only! I don’t believe my mom endured any of that but will ask her.

    • cgw says...

      I am an only and my husband is an only, and we only have one child.
      :)

    • Laura says...

      And obviously having a sibling does not guarantee that you will be friends for life.

    • Julia says...

      I’m an only child and have received very strange comments about it my whole life. People are often shocked when they find out I’m an only child, and “compliment” me by saying how I don’t seem like an only child at all because I don’t act spoiled. It’s such a shame that there’s still such a negative stigma about it! When I read this post, I smiled to myself because Matilda’s childhood reminds me of my own – lots of imaginative games and a very special, close relationship with my parents :)

    • Julia says...

      and p.s. I love this post even more because I live in Noe and have gone into Mapamundi many times for gifts for my niece and nephew! It’s a lovely store.

  22. Lauren says...

    Hi Lorena,

    What a gorgeous house! I love your style and what an amazing little girl you’re raising. In the picture with the Grimms blocks (we love those too!) where is the wooden organizer/shelving from? I’m always on the lookout for toy organizing ideas!

  23. isavoyage says...

    Saw the 1st picture, emailed it to my partner with a “this is it” line. Received a big “Yes!” in return within seconds! We are currently working on remodelling our house and that picture + the gorgeous bay windows in this family’s living room will no doubt inspire us. Thank you!

  24. I’m a Bay Area resident who is having serious house envy at the moment! (Looks like they bought at just the right time.) What a beautiful home and family.

    It’s interesting to think about the conversation around the “only” child. As a single middle-aged woman with no children who has heard for many years endless comments about my inability to fully love/my selfishness/oh, you’ll change your mind (or regret it) someday, I’m always a bit curious why anyone cares how many children a person/couple chooses to have (or not have). As long as any child/ren is/are loved, that’s all that matters in my book. Yay Matilda :)

  25. Nicola C says...

    In 2009 I was spending a sabbatical in Argentina; and then returned back to Noe Valley. How I wish our paths had crossed. Love Petit Collage!
    Thanks for the home tour!

  26. Kim says...

    This post really resonated with me. It’s refreshing to see a thriving and happy one-child family represented. I also have an only child (by choice!) and it’s the best decision for our lifestyle. I hope posts like this serve to demonstrate to people that a child doesn’t need a sibling to be well adjusted and content.

  27. Mary Yung says...

    What a beautiful home! Can you please share details on the bookcase/storage unit in Matilda’s room? I’m about to redo my sons’ room and this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thank you!

  28. Lorena, your house feels so beautiful,warm and inviting!! Is the cupboard in Matilda’s room custom made? It’s so pretty! Hello from Germany!

  29. I’m not big on colours but this house is so refreshing!

  30. Sarah W says...

    Yessss to Maria Semple! Where did you go Bernadette is underrated and I loved it!

  31. Karen says...

    Awesome tour, awesome family! Their home occupies a perfect middle ground in a lot of ways – homey yet design-y, aspirational yet attainable, beautiful yet functional. Thanks for opening your home up to us!

  32. Laura says...

    This is my favorite house tour to date! Great mid century but has a warmth to the home and the backyard is gorgeous!

  33. What a stunning and unique home! I lived in SF for 7 years and know how difficult it is to find such a beautiful space. Matilda seems like an incredibly bright and inspiring child. Beautiful home <3

  34. aga says...

    Would you know makes her earrings?

  35. Tricia says...

    Agree with everyone so far! This is such a well-balanced piece. And I, too, appreciate that Matilde is the one and only. I recently got upset looking at a Hanna Anderson holiday pajama mailer wherein every family in matching PJs was a family of many children, or with mom pregnant. I truly felt it was polarizing to not see a family with one child – as a parent of one child who has struggled and is making peace with having one brilliant, amazing child. Also, I never like to hear (or say) “I have ‘just’ one child.” I have one super duper kid, so no qualifiers are necessary.

    • elisa says...

      Agreed! I’m mom to one brilliant and amazing kid and am perfectly happy about it. I totally agree about Hanna Andersson. Love this family of 3 and their perfect abode.

    • Natalie says...

      I feel the same way! Whenever I look at a tour on apartment therapy or see a blogger with one child I feel like I am not alone. Certain books and adds can really trigger emotions!

    • Suzieq says...

      Yes!

    • I feel the same way! It feels like I’m breaking so many norms by having one. When people ask me of my two-year-old daughter, “Is she your first?” I now respond, “First and only!” :) That usually gets a bit of a startled look, haha.

  36. Lauren says...

    How fun!!

  37. T Barr Segal says...

    P.S.
    Just ordered a few items from their store. I’ll have to remember to stop in, the next time I’m in the city.

  38. Beth says...

    Came to ask for paint colour in the kitchen!! Thank you! What a beautiful, friendly and inviting home

    • Katie says...

      I’d like to know the kitchen paint color also! Beautiful!

  39. Mary says...

    I love this home! Totally buying the washi tape. Wondering if Lorena can share the source for the awesome shelves in Matilda’s room?

  40. Cate says...

    Beautiful home and sweet family! Could you please share where the shelving/storage system in Matilda’s room came from? :)

  41. Fabulous house! I love the modern but comfy style and all of Lorena’s art. I want to know more about the mac and cheese! Is there a recipe he follows??

    • Amy says...

      Yes I need to know more about the mac and cheese too! What a warm, cheerful home. Lorena and Esteban are clearly wonderful parents and Matilda is all kinds of awesome. This post is inspiring on so many levels!

    • JoLynn says...

      And the blueberry muffin recipe too!
      Thank You :)

  42. Jillian says...

    This is definitely among my favourites of your home tours. It is exactly my style, and I was delighted by the accompanying explanations with each photo – they all mentioned something so practical or attainable. Love it. Feeling inspired.

    I was also one of many focusing on the one child aspect throughout and thought “See, it’s all okay! They’re awesome! We’re awesome too!” It was so surprising to read through the comments and see how many others are thinking about this.

  43. Lea L. says...

    Love your home- so creative, comfortable, and beautiful!
    My nine year old daughter and I make the same blueberry muffins! I found the recipe years ago and now it’s our tradition to bake them for Christmas morning.

  44. BEST TOUR YET! So much inspiring, approachable creativity! Still a white, minimal space a la the times, but infused with endless personality, functionality, ingenuity! Brava, all!

  45. Alice says...

    Love Matilda’s inventions! Please share your recipe for “to die for blueberry muffins.”

  46. Haylie says...

    Do you think Matilda is looking for a new best friend? What a rad kid.

    • hahahaha I thought the same thing. What a rad PERSON.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awww what a sweet comment! i felt the same way. and you can tell how much her mother loves her :)

    • ditto here. what a rad person.

  47. Rachel says...

    This house, and THAT YARD! are amazing. Thanks for sharing

  48. Jordan says...

    wow major family crush right now!! and house crush for that matter.

    i had a quick question that does not have to do with this home tour, but the blog rather…do you have set times you post your posts? i feel like they are scattered all throughout the day. sometimes first thing in the morning, other times not till 3pm. it would be great if you had more of a schedule for posting. i feel like i check the blog 3 times a day before there is a new post.

    • Amanda G says...

      There seems to generally be a blog post earlier in the day (before noon EST) and then later in the day (around 5pm EST). I usually just wait until the end of the day to catch up on CoJ’s lovely posts, which cuts out the checking back. Plus, they are just a small team of rad humans creating awesome content – I say give me awesome and unscheduled blog posts over scheduled, poorly-created stuff any day!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for your note, jordan! we always do two posts a day, but we are trying to make more of a schedule for those posts (say, 10am and 2pm) and should be able to more as we get our contributing writer/s rolling along! right now our team is so lean, and we had an all-hands-on-deck photo shoot this morning, and we were waiting for some final notes for the house tour, so the first post was up later than usual. we aim to get the first post up by noon every day, but we’ll be working on making this earlier and earlier over the next couple months! thanks again for your feedback. xoxoxo

  49. Emily says...

    Hooray for only children! I love seeing examples of families that break the two child mold. All families sizes are great, but I feel like families of three can be underrepresented. Fun to see such a sweet family thriving individually and together.

    • Rachel says...

      Yes! Agree! We only have one child, our two year old daughter & we feel complete.

    • I agree!! We only have one magical daughter named Luna and it’s the best thing for us!

  50. The house is beautiful, but I especially enjoyed getting a glimpse into a single-child family. We have one daughter (2 years old) and we’re done, but since I grew up in suburbia, I’ve rarely seen models of families like ours so I’m really curious about them. Would love it if you ever wanted to do a Motherhood Monday feature on a single-child family!!

    • Emily says...

      YES! I was thinking the exact same thing :)

    • Gwyn says...

      Ditto to this comment!!!

    • Ana says...

      I really feel this kind of topic needs a discussion and I find it interesting that there are people who focused on the fact this family is of “single child ” :)
      Me and my partner have one toddler and I find it soooo annoying and sensless that to sooo many people is soooo obvious that one human being is nothing/ not enogh (!?), so when 1st is born, the next the most important question is when they will see baby No.2 – I say, sorry, people, but my 1st big wish was to have A CHILD and then one day he happens and we were over the moon and he’s our biggest love, how on earth can I focus on the next unborn child, when I have so much love in myself yet to get expressed and all the attention to him?! I just became a mother and my partner a father…can we have this privacy and time to really become this, and focus on what we have just created….I do not feel to have another child, yet. There is sooo much pressure about that. This question come out also from pediatritians….and I hear: “a child needs a companion…” …so, I’m not the one who’s important in 1st place, it’s more important to make one more child, like a robot and not really feel the need, the love and big wish to make new life…
      I see how many women decide to have another child not because they truly really feel this is their next big plan of love, but because it’s a tradition – that’s not acceptable for me…
      I’m a primary school teacher, working in suburbia…I was really impressed that more than half of my collegues (women) have 3 or more children!! And from the start I always questioned myself: do they really mean it to have all of them…what’s behind those births…as I think from my perspective, do they have the same amount of love for each, because I can not imagine right now having the same amount of love for another child :) Maybe it’s sounds ridicioulus, but that’s how I feel…he’s the one and oly for me right now :) And for the last few months I’m intensively questioning myself, do I wish to have in future one more (side effect of birth of twins to good friend of mine hehe)…and maybe this isn’t the good approach to make new love/life, I think you just strongly feel that without questoning and that’s it :)
      JOY, I appriciate you point that out and I agree what you wrote at the end.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great idea, joy! xo

    • T Barr Segal says...

      My only just turned 18. I’ve never had any regrets regarding my decision to have one. People should really mind their own business and stop asking about the next one. A lot of us hav
      e one child by choice.?

    • Aida says...

      Ana

      I think many many women wonder if they can love their second (or third etc) child as much as your first because how could you possibly?? You can and you will, should you decide you want to have another!

    • Elise says...

      I agree completely! I love kids but my husband and I have been hesitant to have them because we just hear so many stories about how miserable kids make you. We have decided to have one kid (in a few years hopefully), but I don’t hear about the choice very often. This blog has been the place that I come when I want to hear about the fun and beautiful (and honest) parts of parenthood and I would love a piece on families with one child!

    • Laura says...

      It’s funny because three families on our block have one child and they are done having more. I was only planning one having one child but we had a surprise second pregnancy.

    • Yes! I’d love to hear more from parents who stuck with one by choice. As a parent of an only, it can really feel like you’re bucking social norms. It’s almost the same amount of pressure and judgment that people who choose not to have ANY children get!

  51. Allie says...

    “Lorena, designs toys for a living and… Esteban, owns a toy store.”

    ….and how did you buy a house in San Francisco?

    • I had the same thought! However they’re able to do it, it’s so inspiring to see a family doing what they love, and also living somewhere they obviously enjoy. They’ve done such a wonderful job of making that home have so much personality. Thanks for sharing this space!

    • E says...

      They are probably successful at what they do! Plus, they bought the place 9 years ago.

    • Jess says...

      I certainly don’t know these people, but (1) 2009 was a great year to buy a house in SF as it was bottom of the modern market, (2) Lorena’s Petit Collage line is wildly successful, as is Esteban’s Mapamundi store and (3) I doubt they were 22 and had never saved a dime when they bought the house. Why be so negative about people who are creative and making it work for them?

    • ELIZABETH says...

      @JESS who’s being negative? People are just curious. We’re so weird about money in this country.

    • elisa says...

      Lorena’s toy line Petit Collage is wildly successful and is sold nation wide. I see her stuff everywhere in Seattle. Also, as someone else said, they bought at a good time and it sounds like the might have bought and unlisted house without an agent at the bottom of the market.

    • Cazmina says...

      Not that it’s anyone’s business but theirs, but it does seem like maybe they rent? Because they mention contacting the owner when they saw it on Craigslist.
      On that topic, I think that would be an interesting idea for a future COJ post – looking at people (of various incomes, family types and locations) and their decisions to rent or buy, and how they make it work financially. I know a lot of people might not feel comfortable sharing too much info about incomes or budgets, but I imagine it would be really interesting to see what choices they made and lessons learned/what they might have done differently.

    • Kate says...

      I always wish that Cup of Jo (especially the house tour posts) would be more upfront about money. We should acknowledge that many of the products and lifestyles featured on this blog are out of reach of most. It would be much more honest and inspiring if the house tour posts included info on their journey to affording the property and all the beautiful furniture. For example “we were really lucky to have some family money to cover our down payment” or “we ate ramen for 10 years while we saved” or even “I started earning 80k when I was straight out of college”! Not being negative about this post or this family, who seem wonderful, just a general comment / request for the CoJ house tours.

    • Sal says...

      allie, that was my first thought, too. not at all trying to be negative, just reality! their life looks and sounds like a nancy meyers movie. it’s a gorgeous house, and when you have lived in sf for decades you know this kind of place doesn’t just breeze into your life. i think more than anything, that was what struck me – the way she described the process as so easy, saw the craigslist ad and BAM! that’s thrilling and quite unusual– would love more detail about how that happened! i don’t believe no one else would bid on that house and it sounds like it was a public listing. 1999, 2009 or 2017, buying in sf is extraordinarily challenging, competitive and more expensive than most places in the world!

      2009 aside, these days in sf, even having a 20% down payment is typically not enough, and the average house was 1.2 million last i checked. our population is almost 0% artists/creatives these days, too. again, this is the time we are living in and 99% of people’s reality, not knocking this family, who i’m sure are lovely and definitely fortunate.

      on a separate topic, i really feel like i would love to see some houses owned by more average families, tbh, not in major cities, for example. fantasy is great and all, but let’s be real!

  52. RR says...

    My favorite home tour yet — huge crush on this family and home!
    This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me, personally. Right now, my family is dealing with a long distance work situation where my husband is in SF for 3 wks of the month, while I stay in Chicago with our 2 boys. We’ve been debating a move to the Bay Area for a few years and this dreamy home is giving me all the SF feels.
    Also it had never occurred to me to look at craigslist for purchasing a home, nor would I have thought to write a note. Thank you for the brilliant ideas!! I better hurry before all the other Cup of Jo reader’s catch on to the tips too

    • I think it’s become commonplace in areas with hot real estate markets to write a personal letter to the seller when multiple offers are expected. I know Portlandia made fun of this in an episode because it happens in Portland all the time. It really should be just a business transaction, in my opinion.

    • I’m glad our story resonated with you! Keep in mind this was over 9 years ago, SF has changed but for sure its a lovely place to live

    • Lydia says...

      I really like the idea of writing a letter to the sellers. It was recommended to me and my husband when we first started house hunting in the DC area because of the market here too. But I have a friend selling the house she raised her family in for almost 30 years and it’s so important to her that she sells it to a family who wants to live there rather than a developer who will tear it down to put up a mcmansion. A letter is one of the biggest deciding factors for what offer she will take.

  53. What a beautiful home! And even more beautiful to me is their parenting. At only eight, Matilda seems like SUCH an interesting person (a vegetarian of her own accord? a creator? a reader?)…bravo, Lorena and family!

    Currently eight months along with my first baby, and my husband and I say all the time that all we really want is to raise this person to be kind, productive, and interesting. This family is one to admire!

  54. Paula says...

    Argentinean gal here! :) The Dorin’s wall art caught my eye immediately and that story is the sweetest <3

    • muchas gracias! Dorins forever ha ha

  55. Laura says...

    This might be one of my faves- such a darling house!

  56. kate says...

    “not too precious about art” – my favorite part <3

  57. Tania Barnes says...

    Love it. That garden! Oh my. This is the kind of house I’d like, if I had two red cents to rub together :)

  58. Katie says...

    Ha! I just noticed their daughter is in the tree in the first picture. How adorable is that. Reminds me of the book Find Momo :)

    • I have to look that up! thank you!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha good point! :)

  59. Lexy says...

    What a fun space- feels so airy and lighthearted! And magnolia trees in the backyard! So dreamy!

    Lorena and Esteban, do you mind sharing the amount of space between the counters in your gorgeous kitchen? We have a compact kitchen that we are considering floor plans for and your layout may just be my ONE :)

    • I’m overseas in a biz trip so can’t measure BUT I can tell you our measure was that the ikea kitchen drawers could fully open and so did the dishwasher door, so i would guess 36 inches or so

    • Lexy says...

      Thank you!!

  60. Carrie says...

    What a cool family! And oh man, the back yard…..incredible!

  61. Bethley says...

    A musical school! Yes!!!! I’m a classical musician and people look at me like I’m from Mars just because I’m not forcing my nine year old daughter into every STEM program available. This article was a bright spot in my dreary DC day.

    • Val says...

      This makes me smile. I am an engineer and I would love for my daughter to be a classical musician. She just started Piano and I try to take her to concerts, etc. I hope she gets more interested as she gets older. Either way, it’s still an enjoyable process.

      Love this house tour, especially the kitchen!

  62. Alli says...

    HOW DID I NOT KNOW THAT WASHI TAPE COMES IN SUPER WIDE SIZE?? life changing. Oh, the things I will washi now!

  63. Akc says...

    I love features like this. What a beautiful family – I hope to be a parent like this. Also, love their home and especially the garden.

  64. Stephanie says...

    This is my favourite house tour so far. I love mid-century modern, but I think the family themselves made this one so unique for me! Thanks for sharing.

  65. Christina says...

    Confession: I did not see Matilda in the tree the first time I scrolled through. I just thought, “Oh, what a cute house!” And then I went back to the top and OOP! There she was! What a darling tree climber, animal rights activist, engineer, and avid reader she is. What a wonderful family. Thank you for sharing a glimpse into their life!

  66. Rachel says...

    Beautiful home! Does Lorena sell or share her artwork anywhere?

  67. Rachel says...

    Adorable home and family! But I always wonder “where is all their stuff?!” My house, although not cluttered, always feels more cluttered after these posts. :)

    • Cabinets, bins, drawers, more drawers ha!

  68. Ellen says...

    I LOVE that Lorena wrote a letter to the previous owners of her home to say she could envision raising her daughter there. That is a KEY tidbit for any prospective home buyers out there.. write a letter confessing how you’ve fallen head over heels in love with the house! I did the same thing when my husband and I wanted a house that we knew had other (probably better) offers coming in at the same time as ours. Moving is nostalgic and sentimental, so you can imagine how it would feel receive such a letter. The home owner called me personally to say it really touched her!

    • Leanne says...

      The previous homeowners of our current house accidentally came home while we were still checking it out for the second time. They ooohed and aaahed over our baby and told us how they’d spent 40 years raising their own family in the home. I’m sure this is why they sold it to us, even though they had previously turned down at offer at the same price.

    • cgw says...

      sixteen years ago the house market was crazy and insane in the SF area. We, too, wrote a letter to the house seller telling them about how we could instantly envision our family to be (pending adoption) living in that space, and looked forward to walking her to school which was only four blocks away. It also helped that we knew the history of the architects/developers of the house and the school and truly appreciated their aesthetics and philosophy behind the designs. We weren’t the top bidders, but we got the house anyway. It seems like that is the thing to do now, writing a letter.

  69. What a sweet family! I love how calm and casual they seem about decor and family life–and how creative they are. Thanks for sharing on this rainy day here in Brooklyn!

  70. Summer says...

    This was so lovely to read! I relate to Lorena’s timeline – I am currently seven months pregnant and my husband and I just bought our first house, somewhat out of the blue. It’s tons of excitement and planning and nerves all at once!

    I would LOVE to recreate a similar DIY heart painting like they have in their family room. Any tips you could share about materials used? Specifically curious about the size and type of base/canvas used? Thanks!!

  71. Brooke says...

    The story about the art above their bed is sooo cute!

  72. Elizabeth Giraud says...

    I am really having a bad day. And I am letting our current political situation drag me down (which I try not to do). But this! This picked me up. So nice to see such a lovely little family, so nice to hear of a family that just bought their first TV, whose daughter creates and puts things together and takes them apart and seems engaged, with parents that support that, rather than allowing her to be glued to a screen. In fact, I just figured out what struck me as pleasantly odd: Matilda is reading a book! In two of the photos! It’s been years since I’ve seen that.

    This article is like an injection of hope for me today. Thank you COJ!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a lovely comment, elizabeth! and sending a hug to you today. xoxo

  73. Katie says...

    Love this. Tell me your daughter has the book Rosie Revere, Engineer. If not, get it immediately. It made me think of her!

  74. Emmie says...

    Which landscaper? I have been on a hunt for a good one in S.F. for a BIG backyard remodel!

  75. DIANA says...

    “Where did you go Bernadette?” is an AMAZING book!

  76. What a great house!

  77. TjP says...

    Beautiful home and family!

    I am curious about something: since they live in a place with seismic activity, how they aren’t nervous about having their kitchen items in open shelving?

    • Rachel says...

      Very good question

    • As a native Californian (who lived through the freeway-collapsing Northridge earthquake!) I’d say that if an earthquake is big enough to knock around your dishware, it doesn’t matter too much whether it’s open shelving or not. You’ll either be cleaning up broken glass from all over your kitchen floor, or out of your cabinets.

    • Denial? ha! Our house in built on bedrock but still I think we just take the chance

    • Rachel says...

      I’ve been in Berkeley for 25 years and I still look to see a) are dishes contained and b) is there anything heavy hung over the bed.

  78. Olivia says...

    As someone who lives in San Francisco, all I can think is…where in the world is this?! What a gem of a find! Those tall windows looking out into the garden is dreamy.

    • mallory says...

      Same! My guess is Potrero or Bernal?

    • Kathy says...

      I know! My brain has been going since I saw this. It makes me think glen park or Bernal, but those aren’t the heart of sf.

    • Megan Cahn says...

      It’s in Noe Valley :)

  79. Megan says...

    Just yesterday, I randomly picked up Lorena’s “Petit Collage” book from the library. What a fun coincidence! Beautiful house! Beautiful Book! Beautiful Toys!

  80. Rachel says...

    I want to be Matilda when I grow up. :) What a lovely home and family. Xx

  81. Susan says...

    Love this house and that little yard!

  82. Katie says...

    Do you mind sharing the kitchen paint color?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! she’s traveling today and will get back to us tonight! xo

    • Cascade Green by Sherwin Williams

    • Suzie says...

      Yes, please! Really loving that color.

    • Katie says...

      Thanks!

  83. Elizabeth Grover says...

    I love that they respect Matilda’s choice to be a vegetarian even though they are not!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i felt the same way! they seem like such nice, encouraging parents.

    • shannon says...

      Ooo yes I’d love to know as well! We are planning to paint our bedroom green, and I love the soft gray undertones of the shade they used in the kitchen. Green is a tricky shade, especially when combining it with our warm-toned wood floors and doors.

    • Anne says...

      Same here! What a lovely, supportive family (and AMAZING home find). I really liked her Adventure Wall, as well.

    • Carrie says...

      I know that’s so wonderful and supportive! When I became a vegetarian at age 12, my dad asked “so are you going to be like this for the rest of your life??” I never understood why he had so much hostility in his voice when he asked me. But this is a guy who threatened to kick me out of the car once when I had hiccups.

      And by the way, the answer is yes! Vegetarian for life, it’s just part of who I am :)

  84. Sarah says...

    what a beautiful home and dynamic family! i enjoyed hearing about the daughter’s fun interests!

  85. kathy says...

    that place is insane! i’ve never seen anything like it in sf. beautiful

  86. This might be one of my favorites so far. I love the colors so much!

  87. Kitty says...

    Beautiful family in a beautiful home.

  88. Kristin says...

    Those are the ceilings of my dreams.