Sam and April Lawrence knew they wanted a San Francisco home that was unconventional. “We didn’t want a house at all,” says Sam. “We were looking for a warehouse. We really wanted to get out of the typical Victorian or modern loft space.” But the warehouses they found were on the fringes of town, and they wanted to be in the heart of it all. While dining on the Valencia Street corridor, they decided to look no farther. “We realized that we spent all of our time there, so we should live there,” says April. In short order, they found a space over a bakery that was being developed as an office. Its big front window, concrete walls and wide-open spaces gave the creative duo (he’s the CEO of Crushpath, she’s a fashion designer) plenty of room to showcase two passions: city living and reclaimed relics.
Before the remodel, this stairway landing was, in Sam's words, awkward as hell. But now, with the addition of oversize square poufs and new finishes, it's the most popular gathering spot in the house. "We love the wallpaper," says April. "It gave us the idea to use silver and gold throughout the interior. It's actually peeling and flaking." The wallpaper is a rugged backdrop for the couple's frame collection, trophies of many flea market expeditions. "They were empty when we bought them, but we got the idea put quirky things in them," says April. Today, they surround everything from a Kewpie doll to a jackalope head.
A large sign from a dismantled drugstore dominates one end of the space. "We picked this up at one of our favorite stores, Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage outside of Portland, Oregon," says April. "We had an artist wire it with neon. It draws the eyes up."
The couple had planned to mount old doors from a Tenderloin gym on barn track over the entry to the bedroom, but when it didn't work out, the vendor mentioned that he had an airplane door from the first Pan Am airplane to complete a transatlantic flight. Sam and April's response: "YES!" The door, now illuminated, adds an industrial air to the space.