SF House Tour: Larissa and Mathias' Historic Hideaway

SF House Tour: Larissa and Mathias' Historic Hideaway

Feb 11, 2008
(Welcome again to Bethany, one of the finalists in our San Francisco Blogger search.
Comment away!)

Name: Larissa and Mathias
Location: Castro, The historic "Nobby" Clarke mansion
Size: 600ish sq feet? Lots of nooks and crannies, so we're not quite sure
Years lived in: 7 months

Located in the top story and former attic of the historic "Nobby" Clarke Mansion, this cozy apartment exemplifies some of the historic homes in San Francisco now infused with an energetic modern style.

The "Nobby" Clarke mansion was completed in 1891 and has since been a single family home, a hospital, and now apartments. Walking up to the front door you can get a sense of the rich history and incredible presence the house still holds in the neighborhood. The entryway and lobby is maintained with red velvet carpet, portraits and antiques.

Our style: Mathias "Is this a multiple choice question?"

The inspiration for our home: We like color and really just whatever we find that moves us. Admittedly we have some disagreements about our style choices. In our last apartment Mathias hung everything up with black electrical tape, but in this apartment I gave him the office. "Do whatever you want with that room." But so far I approve of all his choices. He's also more bold with color choice. I tend to be a bit more conservative.

Favorite element: We love being up high with trees. The apartment feels a bit like a treehouse. We also love all of the natural light the apartment gets. Since this house has such a fabled history, we've been told that it has ghosts, but if there are they're friendly ghosts.

Biggest challenge in designing my home: We have moved a lot and each space is unique. Finding out what works for the space is part of the adventure. There's lots of storage here but we always feel like we could have more. Also some of the storage isn't necessarily where you'd like it to be. There's a huge closet in the bathroom that's perfect for coats, crafting supplies, etc… but I find that it's not always easily accessible. You have to dig for things a bit. I'd also like more storage in the kitchen.

What friends say about my home: The first thing everyone says is "Oh my goodness, how many stairs did I just climb." Also the entry way to the building itself is dramatic and people always want to ask questions about its history.

Biggest embarrassment in my home: Mathias is way more diligent about keeping clutter to a minimum. I have a hard time with that.

Proudest DIY: Besides getting our furniture up those stairs. We're really proud of the kitchen floor. When we moved in, the kitchen was carpeted. We got permission to pull up the carpet, but underneath was really old linoleum and it was pretty gross. Mathias took on the DIY adventure of completely retiling the kitchen. We went and picked out the tiles and he laid it all himself. I think I might have put a few nails in, but really it was all him.

Biggest indulgence with respect to my home: The kitchen floor and our bedroom rug. The rug was our biggest splurge. We lived near Peace Industry in Hayes Valley (www.peaceindustry.com) and we had been eyeing it for a while. The rug is from Iran and it is felted wool. We love it.

Dream source for stuff: Ooh any of the cool shops in Hayes Valley. Such beautiful, cool stuff. I also love Design within Reach.


We're pretty minimalist with our appliances. We don't have a microwave or a tv. We use a french press rather than using a coffee maker. We both work on the computer all day so usually we come home and unplug. Any appliances we do have, we got from Bed Bath and Beyond, or maybe even Walgreens.

Our hardware all comes from Home Depot

Ikea via craigslist. In San Francisco, folks tend to be in transit quite a bit-- lots of artists, drifters, folks here for a few years and then moving. You can easily find things on craigslist, etc.. Also there's this crazy street culture where people just leave things on the street. You can find some great stuff. Once we found a working organ (the musical kind). It didn't work perfectly, but where else will you find an organ on the street!

Everywhere, Pottery Barn, West Elm


Home depot, also always looking for eco safe paint options

Home Depot for the Tile

Rugs and Carpets
Peace Industry

Window Treatments
Curtains Ikea


Random places, we don't buy art in the store, usually it's something a friend gave us or we made.

Thanks Larissa and Mathias!

(Editor's reminder:
When leaving comments about the home,
play nice or you'll be asked to leave the sandbox.)


Other Posts by Bethany:

  • Golden Gate Park's Conservatory of Flowers
  • Can Appliances Be Art?

  • moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt