This 1906 Craftsman Home Blends Youthful Whimsy with Cool California Style

marea clark san francisco home tour
Tour a Playful 1906 Craftsman in San FranciscoBess Friday

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Sometimes, a home is filled with dichotomies, an artistic tension between two things that shouldn’t go together, but do—beautifully. That’s certainly the case with this stunning California home originally built in 1906.

Although it was constructed nearly 120 years ago, there are fresh, current touches throughout. At 4,300 square feet, it’s sizeable, but there are several cozy corners to tuck into. It also happens to face San Francisco’s Presidio National Park, inspiring an indoors-meets-out approach in the design. And the juxtapositions don’t stop there.

marea clark san francisco home tour
The mood of this guest bedroom? Sunny, cheerful, and fresh. A floral bolster with fabric from Schumacher brings a bit of the outdoors inside.Bess Friday

Beautified through a partial renovation that was completed in August 2022, designer Marea Clark shares that the homeowners were originally from the Bay Area but spent a stint in New York—this was their first home back on the West Coast. Clark says that she “immediately connected” with the homeowner “as we have very similar aesthetics.” Namely, the homeowner loves color and pattern but also embraces a bit of restraint.

Desiring a home that would encourage spending time together as a family—the couple has two young daughters—they brought on Clark immediately after purchasing the home. Clark shares that to nurture these key family moments, the kitchen needed to be open to the family room so the couple could make meals and keep an eye on their little ones while they played.

marea clark san francisco home tour
As the hub of family life, the kitchen is punctuated with head-turning counter stools (Soane) that echo the circular shapes of the globe pendants (Shears & Window) hanging overhead.Bess Friday

The wall was removed between the kitchen and family room. The kitchen was fully gutted and the primary closet was expanded. Paint, lighting, and wallpaper were updated throughout. And the showstopper? A new marble custom fireplace mantel for the living room.

The result has been the family home the homeowners always envisioned. Daily life revolves around the now-open kitchen and family room, with a layout that the homeowner says allows her “to do so many things at once, mostly cooking and cleaning while still being able to watch the girls and keep them occupied.”

marea clark san francisco home tour
The living room takes a decidedly grown-up turn apart from the rest of the family-friendly home, showing off a newly added custom fireplace mantel and a slightly moody palette. Coffee table, Woodbridge. Bess Friday

One contrast in this home is the fact that it’s completely child-friendly with a design that looks grown up—with winks to play throughout. The girls’ section of the home, as the family calls it, feels like “it was made for little kids,” with its slanted walls, small closets, and diminutive bathroom, but the feel is still sophisticated and elevated, matching the rest of the home. Clark says that they used quite a few indoor-outdoor fabrics on large upholstery items in case of inevitable spills. And when planning the layout, they made sure to leave plenty of space where the kids can move freely.

marea clark san francisco home tour
This nursery makes the most of a scaled-down space with tucked-in furniture and a simple color palette that doesn’t overwhelm. Floor lamp, Circa Lighting/Visual Comfort.Bess Friday

The striped ceiling in the entryway and the stuffed giraffe in the nursery act as hints of playfulness. “It was important to us that the house felt warm and inviting for people of all ages,” Clark says. And as the homeowner adds, “I feel like the home and its interiors are a good mix of being warm, cozy, and approachable—and even a little bit juvenile.”

She goes on to say, “I like to think my kids love the pops of color and the prints while we still have some amazing antiques, beautiful wood, and more traditional pops here and there.”

marea clark san francisco home tour
Offering “a bit of whimsy” as Clark says, the striped wallpaper ceiling is a surprise in the entryway. Bess Friday

The family also loves to entertain in this home, including Sunday night dinners with friends and their children. The easy flow between the kitchen, family room, breakfast room, and backyard makes it an ideal home for hosting. There’s even a third-floor library space that has an “after dinner drinks” vibe to it, as Clark says.

marea clark san francisco home tour
Framing a picture-perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the study, swathed in wood paneling, is a quiet space. Vintage table, Elizabeth Pash Interiors & Antiques. Bess Friday

During the renovation, some visuals were revitalized while others weren’t touched at all, in the name of staying true to the historic integrity of the home. Clark says that the home’s architecture and the storied past of the neighborhood automatically set the tone.

“I love an old house,” Clark reflects. “I find it so inspiring to be able to honor the architect’s original intent and use that as a reference as we create spaces that are unique to our clients and how they live.” This included maintaining the moldings, like the wood paneling in the library room, and the original space planning “other than the opening between the family room and kitchen,” Clark says.

Architect Judith Mattingly says that the homeowners wished to work within the Craftsman styling of the home while implementing the open plan between the kitchen and family room. “They also wanted a fairly clean and bright overall feeling,” she says. It was lucky then that the existing woodwork on the main floor was not a particularly dark hue that’s often found in old homes, so they were able to work with a relatively light palette.

marea clark san francisco home tour
This comfortable yet elegant den, also referred to as the family room, can easily coax anyone into an idle afternoon spent sunk down into sumptuous chairs. Side table, Vaughan Designs. Sofa fabric, Schumacher.Bess Friday

Another way that the homeowners respected the past was by weaving timeworn antiques throughout, such as the chest in the entry, the two antique Gustavian style chests that flank either side of the fireplace, and antique milk glass lamps that Clark found while traveling in Montecito.

Then there’s the conjunction of the outdoors meeting the indoors in this home. Since the house looks upon Presidio National Park, it was only natural to include touches of green in most every room. The French doors off the family room open wide to the backyard, which “creates a really lovely connection to the outdoors,” as Clark observes.

marea clark san francisco home tour
Entertaining is top of mind for these homeowners, whether it’s inside or out on the patio where guests can admire the lush greenery. Bess Friday

The homeowner says that coming from New York, she feels “very lucky” to have space and doesn’t take for granted the luxuries of living in San Francisco.

“As for the home itself, it really feels like a home,” she says. “It’s warm and cozy, and you can tell it has been lived in and loved by families before.” And this family is writing another chapter in its history.

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