LC: Lived-in Kitchen Author: Sarah Virginia White
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.
LC: Lived-in Kitchen
Dan Gelfand abandoned plans to use the original kitchen floors when he saw this antique French oak. “I felt like a drug dealer,” Warner says of surreptitiously showing him the floor samples in the trunk of her car. Each new shift in the renovation represented a welcome change for the family. As Warner sees it, her clients’ home, where she tiptoed around applying finishing touches a mere four days after Hugo was born, “just evolved with happiness.”
Photographer: Michele Lee Wilson LC: Artisan Dining Room
Although Avril was immediately open to suggestions for color and pattern, Gelfand needed convincing before warming up to items such as the striped hallway paint and antelope-print carpeting. “Dan likes things that speak to his experiences,” Nicole Avril says of the many artisan pieces created for their home. On a friend’s recommendation, the couple enlisted Bay Area woodworker Luke Bartels to make their walnut dining table.
Photographer: Michele Lee Wilson LC: Family Rooftop Deck
When Gelfand left for Mount Kilimanjaro in summer 2010, his sketches for a new bachelor pad included a man cave and roof deck. Plans changed when Avril and Miel moved in, but the deck stayed in the blueprint.
Photographer: Michele Lee Wilson LC: Hand-Painted Stairs
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.
Photographer: Michele Lee Wilson LC: Changing Table Change
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.
Photographer: Michele Lee Wilson LC: Don't Fear Animal Print
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.
Photographer: Michele Lee Wilson LC: Colorful Cabinetry
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.
Photographer: Michele Lee Wilson