A Family-Friendly Victorian House That Blends Warmth and Modern Style

One young couple reinvents their San Francisco home with help from designer Leanne Ford.

An antler chandelier lends an organic touch in the sleek dining room of a San Francisco home owned by Jessica and Matt Farron and designed by Leanne Ford.
An antler chandelier lends an organic touch in the sleek dining room of a San Francisco home owned by Jessica and Matt Farron and designed by Leanne Ford.

Deadlines are meant to be missed—except when said date involves a baby on the way. Such was the case for Jessica and Matt Farron, a young couple who were expecting a little one just seven months after closing on an 1885 Victorian in San Francisco’s tony Pacific Heights neighborhood. To infuse the historic space with a contemporary dose of personality—and help meet their cutoff while making the process as stress-free as possible—the Farrons turned to Los Angeles designer Leanne Ford.

A Family-Friendly Victorian House That Blends Warmth and Modern Style
The 1885 Victorian home features many of its original details, including a pair of light-filled bay windows.
The 1885 Victorian home features many of its original details, including a pair of light-filled bay windows.
Jessica and Matt Farron, as well as 10-month-old daughter, Azie, pose in front of pieces from the couple's enviable art collection.
Jessica and Matt Farron, as well as 10-month-old daughter, Azie, pose in front of pieces from the couple's enviable art collection.

It turns out Ford was uniquely qualified for the position: she and Jessica first met in 2003, while working at a fashion recruiting agency in New York City; they’ve maintained a close friendship ever since. In the end, that intimacy proved beneficial both logistically and aesthetically. “Initially, we weren’t sold on needing an interior designer,” says Jessica, who is senior director of digital marketing for Banana Republic. “But as we thought about all of the things we wanted to do, it became clear that Leanne could help us. I loved a lot of the work she had done, and I trust her eye and style. She pushes me in a way I wouldn’t let anyone else.”

A Family-Friendly Victorian House That Blends Warmth and Modern Style
A Milo Baughman étagère has become a place of honor in the living room, where Matt's record collection and extensive stereo system takes center stage. A stack of pillows replaces an accent table in the living room to provide additional seating when guests arrive. Ford found this vintage bar cart on one of her first shopping trips with the Farrons. The couple created the appearance of a gallery wall with an eclectic arrangement of books and objets.
A Milo Baughman étagère has become a place of honor in the living room, where Matt's record collection and extensive stereo system takes center stage. A stack of pillows replaces an accent table in the living room to provide additional seating when guests arrive. Ford found this vintage bar cart on one of her first shopping trips with the Farrons. The couple created the appearance of a gallery wall with an eclectic arrangement of books and objets.

The designer’s guidance began from the get-go. While Jessica had pulled colorful images for inspiration, Ford convinced the Farrons that the elevated yet comfortable look they were seeking was achievable with a neutral color palette and chic metallic and textural touches. The trio maintained the house’s hardwood flooring, characteristic wall molding, and basic layout, opting instead for cosmetic fixes, including fresh paint and a mixture of new and vintage furnishings to add warmth and style. A pedestal table in the dining room lends contemporary whimsy with its tree-trunk base and sleek white-lacquered top. “It was such a statement piece that we built the room around it,” says Jessica. In the living room, a gold Milo Baughman étagère is the obsession of her husband; the piece has transformed a traditional living area into a 1970’s-inspired listening room that houses Matt’s extensive record collection. “We knew we wanted a glamorous Studio 54 vibe,” says Ford of the space, which has become a regular landing spot for friends. “As soon as you open the front door, you hear the music, you see the people, and you want to stay and mingle.”

The guest room is reminiscent of a suite in a boutique hotel thanks to rich eggplant walls and a prominent four-poster bed. Opposite the bed, a discreet desk is nestled between two louvered-millwork closets. Ford created a soothing haven for baby Azie with girly peach walls, cozy white furnishings, and the original window valences. A streamlined bookcase counters the room's traditional details.
The guest room is reminiscent of a suite in a boutique hotel thanks to rich eggplant walls and a prominent four-poster bed. Opposite the bed, a discreet desk is nestled between two louvered-millwork closets. Ford created a soothing haven for baby Azie with girly peach walls, cozy white furnishings, and the original window valences. A streamlined bookcase counters the room's traditional details.

In fact, every decision in the house was made with the goal of entertaining friends, from the stack of extra floor pillows in place of an accent table in the living room to the additional sofa off the kitchen, where loved ones linger as Jessica preps impromptu meals. “We spent so much of our lives traveling,” says Jessica. “We really wanted a house where we could just live. And we wanted the house where friends just show up because they’re in the neighborhood.” Everywhere, the modern lighting casts a flattering glow, drawing the eye upward to the house’s soaring ceilings while creating a jewel-box feel. A guest room evokes a cozy boutique hotel room, with moody eggplant walls and an inviting canopy bed. But perhaps nowhere is the atmosphere more welcoming than in the girly, peach-hued nursery Jessica and Ford created for the Farrons’ new baby, Azie, who arrived right on time. Ford’s housewarming gift: a mini Bertoia chair—a fitting gift for a house that blends comfort and style in equal measures.

Top row: With its driftwood accents, Midcentury Eames chair, and vintage Mongolian fur rug, Ford describes the master bedroom as "California meets Paris." Middle row: A modern brass pendant adds contemporary flair that contrasts nicely with the greenery and stately molding in the Farrons&squot; bedroom. The designer commissioned a custom clothing rack for the master closet, which replaces an additional bedroom. She also relocated the couple&squot;s pre-existing dresser for additional storage. Third row: A seating area off the kitchen provides a landing area for friends to gather while Jessica prepares impromptu meals.
Top row: With its driftwood accents, Midcentury Eames chair, and vintage Mongolian fur rug, Ford describes the master bedroom as "California meets Paris." Middle row: A modern brass pendant adds contemporary flair that contrasts nicely with the greenery and stately molding in the Farrons' bedroom. The designer commissioned a custom clothing rack for the master closet, which replaces an additional bedroom. She also relocated the couple's pre-existing dresser for additional storage. Third row: A seating area off the kitchen provides a landing area for friends to gather while Jessica prepares impromptu meals.
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