Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Bohemian Restraint: Lena Corwin’s Tranquil Home in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset

Search

Bohemian Restraint: Lena Corwin’s Tranquil Home in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset

February 25, 2019

One of our favorite house tours on Remodelista in recent years? The Brooklyn brownstone duplex of Lena Corwin, a textile designer, photographer, and the author of two books (Printing by Hand and Made by Hand)—and her husband Josh Dreier. What we loved about their apartment was its offhand style, modest furnishings, and quiet restraint. Nothing felt belabored.

Then, in 2013, the couple relocated to San Francisco, where Lena grew up, and bought and renovated a 1913 Craftsman-style house in the Outer Sunset. The neighborhood is residential and modest, bordered on one end by windswept beaches. “Where we live—the last avenue before Ocean Beach—feels like the fringe of the city,” says Lena. Aside from a shared bohemian sensibility, it couldn’t be more different from Brooklyn.

The same can be said of their new four-bedroom home: “After living in a very ornate brownstone I was ready to swing in the opposite direction to modern and minimal,” she tells us. And yet, there’s something distinctly familiar about the interiors: Its focus on humble materials, a calming neutral palette, and a less-is-more ethos feels like a natural companion to and extension of their former Brooklyn apartment.

All of which is to say, we now have another favorite home tour to add to our list.

Photography by Maria del Rio, courtesy of Mother Magazine (go here to see more images of Lena’s inspiring home).

&#8
Above: “Leaving New York was hard. We agonized over the decision and worried for the first year that we had made a mistake. After buying our house, things clicked,” says Lena. In the living room, a simple day bed from The Futon Shop in San Francisco provides extra seating.
&#8
Above: “It took a full year to renovate. We didn’t intend to do a gut renovation, but the house needed extensive earthquake upgrading, so we ended up stripping the entire house down to the studs. We worked with architect Mason St. Peter.” The wall-to-wall bookshelves are composed of custom wood planks on brackets from Home Depot.
The interiors are painted Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace (on walls) and Sherwin-Williams Ghost Pines (on trim) throughout the home. The rug is a 0 percent wool remnant from California Carpet, cut to size and bound. The wood floors here are original to the house.
Above: The interiors are painted Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace (on walls) and Sherwin-Williams Ghost Pines (on trim) throughout the home. The rug is a 100 percent wool remnant from California Carpet, cut to size and bound. The wood floors here are original to the house.
Lena wrangles her 4-year-old, Abe. The artwork above the custom plywood bench by Jay Nelson was a project she did with her 8-year-old, Eli: &#8
Above: Lena wrangles her 4-year-old, Abe. The artwork above the custom plywood bench by Jay Nelson was a project she did with her 8-year-old, Eli: “He wrote words and I patched them together.”
In the powder room, Lena plays with scale, opting to lean a petite mirror on a ledge instead of installing a full-sized one. The peach-colored pedestal sink was a Craigslist find.
Above: In the powder room, Lena plays with scale, opting to lean a petite mirror on a ledge instead of installing a full-sized one. The peach-colored pedestal sink was a Craigslist find.
One of the couple&#8
Above: One of the couple’s priorities when it came to the renovation? “We wanted an open kitchen with seating for large groups of friends and family,” says Lena, cooking here with the two boys. The Douglas Fir kitchen cabinets are by Liz Dunning Design and Woodworking, the Mesa Suspension Lamp is from Industry West, and the refrigerator is by Liebherr.
Abe perches on the island, which is topped with an off-white Corian. The rest of the kitchen counters feature a light gray Corian.
Above: Abe perches on the island, which is topped with an off-white Corian. The rest of the kitchen counters feature a light gray Corian.
&#8
Above: “We had hoped to keep the existing doors [in the kitchen], but after raising the ceiling height in the kitchen, the scale of the old doors didn’t work. We splurged on larger doors with more glass and a thinner wood frame (Marvin’s Integrity series) and they’re one of my favorites parts of the house,” shares Lena. The floors in the kitchen are Marmoleum.
Simple hooks under the open shelf provide hanging storage.
Above: Simple hooks under the open shelf provide hanging storage.
Their -plus-year-old Crate & Barrel bed moved with them from Brooklyn. &#8
Above: Their 10-plus-year-old Crate & Barrel bed moved with them from Brooklyn. “We added windows and skylights to maximize natural light. We prioritized spending money on the shell of the house, and our finishing choices were mostly simple and utilitarian,” says Lena. To her point, the flooring in their bedroom is simply painted plywood.
A rocking chair from a family friend and a vintage dresser occupy a corner of the master bedroom.
Above: A rocking chair from a family friend and a vintage dresser occupy a corner of the master bedroom.
The view into the master bath, which features a vanity also built by Liz Dunning.
Above: The view into the master bath, which features a vanity also built by Liz Dunning.
Abe exiting his closet. The boys&#8
Above: Abe exiting his closet. The boys’ rooms both have wall-to-wall carpeting: “We decided on it because the ceilings are peaked in the kids’ rooms, and we thought carpet would encourage us to lie on the floor—and it does.”
The door on this side of Abe&#8
Above: The door on this side of Abe’s bedroom connects to Eli’s room. Abe’s bed was a Craigslist score; the inflatable pea pod is by Ablilations; and the play kitchen is by Hape.
Lena poses next to a peace towel that she designed and sells on her website; she donates a portion of the proceeds to nonprofits that work toward &#8
Above: Lena poses next to a peace towel that she designed and sells on her website; she donates a portion of the proceeds to nonprofits that work toward “peace, justice, and non-violence.”

For more spaces designed by architect Mason St. Peter, see:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

From our network