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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.