Child Proof


Alexis Humiston grabs the opportunity to create a family-inclusive and child-friendly workplace for the San Francisco offices of Bobbie, a revolutionary baby formula company

Photos by Christopher Stark

Many visitors to the San Francisco Decorator Showcase in 2019 were captivated by ABH Interiors’ Alexis Humiston‘s spa bathroom. The room revealed her love of the beauty and abundance of the natural world. Overlaid with her innate sense of logic and order, the result is a space that felt calm and rejuvenating. “As an identical twin, I have always been fascinated by the power of nature and nurture in shaping who we are,” she shares. She brought that philosophy into play with her work for the San Francisco offices of Bobbie. Located in the Noe Valley neighborhood, Bobbie is the only organic baby formula company founded and led by mothers and manufactured in the U.S. 

“The mission behind Bobbie really resonated with me,” says Humiston. “Laura Modi, their CEO and co-founder, is a personal friend and I have a lot of respect for her determination to not only bring European standards to the US baby formula market but to impact our parenting culture—replacing comparison with confidence—and challenging an industry desperate for change. Bobbie offers an example of a new kind of workplace, one that authentically supports working parents, allowing them to thrive personally and professionally. Modi’s vision extends to everything Bobbie does, from how the company fundraises to how they craft their parental leave policies, to how they allow space for difficult conversations, to how they choose to give back.” Humiston, who is expecting her first child next year, particularly appreciated Bobbie’s mission to empower a broader range of parents, including adoptive and surrogate-enabled, to nurture their babies as lovingly and healthily as every parent hopes to.

Photos by Christopher Stark

Modi expressed her wish for a collaborative and welcoming open-concept office that was reflective of this attitude. “I was excited to help them translate their thinking into a physical space that would unite their fast growing team of 100 employees, a mix of local and remote workers spread out over 25 states.” 

Unlike the typical corporate headquarters, Humiston wanted the Bobbie offices, colloquially known to the team as “Homebase,” to have a humanistic, domestic vibe that would appeal not only adults but also to kids. “My goal was for the space to feel contemporary but natural, professional but playful,” she says, “I wanted it to be a bright and happy workplace that felt calming, restful and inviting and, most importantly, brought Bobbie’s mission to life.”

That meant creating: a collaborative space for meetings; a warm environment that supported in-person time together; a home to celebrate their community and customers; and, a place to honor all of the milestones they have achieved during the course of evolving the company. “We did this by incorporating bits and pieces of Bobbie’s core values amongst the space,” Humiston points out. In addition to displaying the product and ensuring that that brand’s colors were woven throughout the space, she also incorporated beautifully photographed moments of real Bobbie families. While the raw space offered a lot of natural light, there was no clear layout. Humiston envisioned a balance of defined spaces and open rooms, using rugs as a way to define the different areas—reception, a lounge, a meeting space and a place for desks. 

Photos by Christopher Stark

Humiston used a decorative felt wall treatment on the plaster walls around the desk area to dampen the sound from spirited phone calls. “We also installed a large phone booth pod for added privacy  and quiet during particularly long or loud calls,” Humiston notes. Mushroom lamps on the desks and next to the sofa add a touch of whimsy. “In this setting, they almost read like abstract boobs,” she laughs.

An important moment, visible from the street, is an art installation with the Bobbie motto: BOTTLE BOLDY. “Perry, my counterpart at Bobbie, discovered Manali Vyas, a local artist who, with love and patience—the same qualities it takes to nurture a baby—designed and fabricated this incredible design for the space using 10,000 nails and 15,000 yards of string.”

Photos by Christopher Stark

Humiston honored the fact that a majority of Bobbie’s team and their community are parents and that this is workplace that welcomes children. “We ensured that all of the fabrics are stain resistant and easy to clean,” she says. Anticipating wear and tear, she sourced from familiar vendors, including DWR, CB2, Lulu & Georgia, Crate & Barrel, Floyd, and Poppin, with reasonably priced, sturdily made offerings. She converted one of the bathrooms into a Parents Room. Equipped with a rocking chair, changing table, snacks, drinks and extra diapers, “it is the ultimate safe haven in which to find a safe, quiet and private moment with a child,” she says. 

“Everyone at Bobbie was thrilled with how it turned out,” she beams. “The space is a physical representation of the wonderful brand they’ve created. While most of the foot traffic is for the product, apparently there are also regular inquiries for the furniture, too!”