A Kid-Friendly Fix: From Bachelor Pad to Family Home
When Dan Gelfand traveled to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro two years ago, he left his architect with sketches to transform his Dolores Park condo into a killer bachelor pad. But he returned with plans for his girlfriend, Nicole Avril, and her 3-year-old daughter, Miel, to move in instead. Gelfand’s high-altitude climb had clarified a few things, and it quickly became clear that his original renovation strategy needed an overhaul.
The couple resolutely made the decision to build a life together, but they were quickly overwhelmed by the daunting selection of dozens of fixtures and finishes. So Avril enlisted the help of interior designer Chloe Warner of San Francisco’s Redmond Aldrich Design, and once again, the vision for the apartment evolved. Warner paneled the built-in closets with custom hot pink wallpaper. The bedside storage compartments have mother-of-pearl wallpaper and recessed lights for an added—and attractive—convenience. “If I could have included a little spigot in there for getting water in the middle of the night, that would have been perfect,” she says.
Slowly, the couple infused their home with bright splashes of personality, including souvenirs from world travels (Gelfand had dragged an ebony rhinoceros home from Africa) and contemporary works by Bay Area artists (Avril has a master’s degree in art history). The touches modernize the more traditional details of the homeLayers of texture, including an antelope-print rug and an ebony rhinoceros Gelfand brought home from Africa, enliven the living area’s clean architecture. Warner favors animal prints for their neutral palettes and added punch. “Nicole and Dan were not afraid of personality,” she says.
In September 2011, as the home neared completion, Avril and Gelfand threw one last curveball to their design team: The family was gaining one more member, baby Hugo, in May. Thus began phase three of renovations, during which Warner turned an office into a nursery and the couple created more living space on their roof deck. The week before Avril’s due date, contractors were still putting up walls and Warner was installing a dresser in the baby’s room. When a vintage Finn Juhl dresser turned out to be too small for a proper changing table in Hugo’s room, Avril found a substitute on etsy.com. Warner then refurbished the piece and finished it with brass campaign pulls. “There’s nothing like a nine-months-pregnant woman walking around to light a fire under everybody,” Avril says.
Avril and Gelfand didn’t skimp on style when outfitting the staircase to the roof deck, despite it being a small and less visible space. The steps feature handpainted tiles by Villafranca Studio and ipe-paneled walls.