recently i was invited to consider my life-altering moments and share them with you here, and thought, ‘that’s not a typical ask for me’, but i thought it was an interesting subject to broach, given my recent big move from san francisco to los angeles. Blueprints is a new novel by New York Times bestselling author of Sweet Salt Air, barbara delinsky. in her new book, Blueprints she explores what happens when the path you’re on veers drastically from the plans you’ve made — the ones you thought would never change.
there’s a lot of things in life you can’t predict, but some of them you can pretty much count on. for instance, i really never thought i’d leave san francisco. i thought i’d live there as an old, eccentric lady and die there one day, gray haired and happy. but things changed — in my life, and in the atmosphere around the city that caused me to take a moment and pause — to really consider if i wanted to remain in a city i’d already lived in for 20 years, or if it was time for a change. other factors weighed in, too — i wanted to be closer to my mother, who’s been feeling unwell of late. i wanted to be closer to some of the people in my life that encourage and inspire me — good friends and family that offer a strong support system. and while i certainly have much cherished friends in san francisco, if i was honest with myself i’d say it was really the lure of an adventure i craved, and i knew that the lifelong friends i’d made in san francisco would understand and continue to share my life — in fact, happily a few have already come to visit in the short month i’ve lived here in los angeles. and maybe most importantly, i wanted to own something of my very own — a house i could truly call my home, so to be able to buy something i had to leave san francisco, too.
so i’ve revised my life’s blueprint, when i least expected to do so. i left san francisco, just as i launched my book about the city, and i think i surprised a lot of people in the process, including myself! and because i write the blog under the name sfgirlbybay, that’s a little confusing too — but had i predicted when i started the blog in 2006 that it would one day become my career, i would have no doubt considered a much more appropriate name — something that had to do with design at the very least — not some old email address i’d used over the years and chose on a whim one night. but as i’ve said, one cannot live by one’s URL alone and it’s too late to change it. anyway, i digress — quite unexpectedly i’ve uprooted myself and landed in a brand new place — in a home i’m happily adding my personality to, and creating a sanctuary all my very own.
in her book Blueprints, BARBARA DELINSKY explores the instinct for knowing how things work — and what to do when they break. An engaging novel from a master storyteller, Blueprints reminds us that sometimes love appears when we least expect it, and when we need it most. so maybe that’s my story too. i’d not been lucky in love in san francisco, and while i haven’t exactly come seeking it here in L.A., i do feel more open to finding it. even if that love just comes from friends and family, i feel more open to a lot of things. it was the same when i left los angeles, also on a whim 20 years ago and headed north to san francisco. i was wide-eyed and open for possibility. so maybe by being open to changing one’s blueprint, you open yourself up for a whole new world of experiences. and that’s what i’m hoping to do here now, and happy to have you along for the ride. happy independence day, everyone. see you back here on monday. xo — victoria
to enter to win a copy of barbara delinsky’s Blueprints novel, simply:
• comment here on the blog sharing your own life altering moment by friday, july 10th at midnight pst.
• yay! this giveaway is worldwide so anyone can enter to win!
• as always, please be sure to leave a way to contact you via twitter, facebook, your blog or email.
• we’ll announce the randomly selected winner the week of july 13th on my twitter, so be sure to follow along.
i’m delighted to take you on my first home tour and introduce you to windy chien—a vibrant and very talented product designer based here in san francisco’s mission neighborhood. victoria and i had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know windy during a recent trip to tulum. i was thrilled she was part of our camp, as i was already a fan of her edgy wooden spoons. with an interest in elevating the daily rituals of life, windy has designed her first collection of truly unique objects, which includes the hand carved wooden spoons with heavier ergonomic handles (which she nicknamed “fat bottomed girls”), a set of bad ass brass rings that go with every outfit, macrame dog leashes that are both stylish + durable, and beautiful macrame corded lamps (which hide the long plastic-covered wiring.) she originally made all these pieces for herself and then shared them with her friends, a creative bunch who have been honing their crafts for years and are a constant inspiration.
before launching her products, windy studied filmmaking (even presenting her work at sundance), owned and operated sf’s aquarius records for over a decade, and also worked for apple’s itunes and app store. in addition to being a product designer and maker, she’s also an iOS consultant.
i hope you enjoy getting to know windy and her very colorful home feature!
how long have you been living in san francisco and in your current home?
i’ve been in SF since 1989, when the city was full of freaks, punk rockers and artists. i have always proudly lived in the mission, first in a 2BR apt on bartlett street for 20 years, and now in my own house in a quieter part of the mission for the past 5 years.
what are a few things about san francisco that make you call it home?
my friends and my history here. i’m immensely proud of my 14 years with aquarius records, helping build it into the world-class music shop and telling the world about the great music we loved. the store is still there, proudly holding it down on valencia street.
what is the best way to get to know your neighborhood?
just walk. i like to see how folks have painted their victorians, who has dug up their sidewalk and planted, who’s walking their dog, and what kind of bikes are hip nowadays.
what has inspired/influenced your décor style?
the house is old, built before the 1906 earthquake, so its age tells me what to do with it. for example, i kept a section of the walls bare and raw when we uncovered layers of plaster and lathe found under the last paint job, and even put gold in the cracks. it’s my favorite part of the house. i also try to balance out the old victorian architecture stuff with mid century thrift scores, my own ‘70s-inspired macrame hangings, and lots of art made by my friends. there’s a mural painted directly on my dining room walls by the local artist amy rathbone. recently i’ve become obsessed with the memphis milano style, and am constantly on the lookout for crazy pieces in that new wave, primary color style.
what is your most favorite room and why?
i can’t pick just one! this is truly my dream house.
my closet, which is an entire room with a doorless hanging rail and tons of open shelving again made with the floorboard reclaimed from my attic remodel. i hate closets with doors —how can one see anything? so my closet is a proper dressing room with everything out in the open and natural light.
my attic bedroom. you get there from a circular stairway up through the dressing room on the ground floor. the attic is the entire footprint of the house in one gigantic room. here i have all my books and cds in the long, low open shelving i’d always wanted, and an open half bath with ferns and skylights. the attic is a perfect place to wake up.
my combined dining room/kitchen, because i spend all my time there. the dining room is filled to the brim with art made by my friends amy rathbone, virgil shaw, chris corales, jim haynes, and jeremiah maddock. the kitchen is a bright and happy place made more open by the open shelving i constructed with the floorboards from the attic remodel, which replaced the old and heavy closed cabinets that were there before.
where have you traveled recently and what did you bring back?
i have a beautiful white knotted hammock found in tulum, mexico, and a blue and white rug from morocco.
is there another talent or hobby you’d like to master?
i’d like to play guitar better. and learn to surf.
any secrets about the city you think we should know about?
the best chinese food in the city is not downtown, it’s in the other chinatowns in the sunset and the richmond. also, dog heaven, a.k.a. fort funston.
what bores you to death?
working on something i don’t care about.
future plans or projects for your home?
later this year we’re going to paint the front of the house just like the back of it already is — in a gradient probably in sunset colors, from yellow to coral to red. i’m always amazed that more people with victorians don’t do this! a great way to make an old facade modern. my inspiration for this is that beautiful rainbow-painted house on clipper street in noe valley.
to learn more about windy + get a peek inside her backyard studio, check out this feature here. and if you have any questions for windy, feel free to leave them in the comments section and she’ll happily get back to you.
thanks for joining me! i look forward to sharing another home visit with you soon.
• all photography by leslie santarina.
this is such a lovely space, created by finders keepers in copenhagen — a shopping destination to source original artworks by Denmark’s emerging artists. much like the apartment by the line in new york city, these kinds of pop-up concept stores are all the rage, and work quite well since you can see artwork in an environment close to home. The concept is simple — creating a stylish home environment, where everything is for sale. Whether it’s the towel in the bathroom, skin care products in cabinets, pots on the balcony, kimono are on the hanger rod – or hanger rod itself!
every once in a while i get invited to throw a party to help celebrate a new brand, and those events are definitely a favorite part of my job. so when SKYY Barcraft asked me to introduce you to their new line of flavored vodkas, how could i resist? pretty and delicious cocktails, gorgeous flowers, globe lights, fantastic food with great friends in a beautiful space — i’m in! last week we took over the lovely gallery event space AvenueSF and transformed it into a summer cocktail lounge — fine art by gail lehman created the perfect backdrop. complete with SKYY Barcraft’s Margarita Lime; Watermelon Fresca; and White Sangria flavored vodkas. SKYY Transforms the Process of Making Cocktails into Two Simple Steps – SKYY Barcraft plus Soda or a favorite mixer — so simple to make, we thought it’d be fun to let our guests get their barcraft on with a DIY Cocktail Garnish bar and dress up their drinks — so much creativity! so much fun!
to dress up our SKYY Barcraft cocktails we used gorgeous glassware from frances lane and i enlisted ashley rose to put together some super pretty garnishes — from your ‘must-have’ drink umbrellas and pretty striped straws to fresh fruits, like watermelon balls, lime & orange wheels, blackberries and raspberries, and fresh mint — but the pièce de résistance? edible flowers! they added the wow in some already really delicious and delectable looking SKYY Barcraft drinks! scrumptious appetizers like crab cocktail and empanadas from kitchit complimented our cocktails to perfection, christine herrin made our beautiful chalkboard menu, and the fabulous emerson and benjamin at ampersand flower shop and design studio helped bring our summer party to life — their arrangements were just over the top stunning — from big huge bouquets to wandering vines along our globe lights — everything looked magical.
Without needing additional bar equipment or the skills of a seasoned bartender, SKYY Barcraft is providing us the ease of enjoying mixology at home without a lot of fuss. SKYY Barcraft Margarita Lime delivers the tangy-sweet taste of a true margarita without having to slice a single lime. White Sangria captures the favorite libation of Spain without wine or a trip to the fruit stand. And, Watermelon Fresca allows you to experience the fresh, cool taste of watermelon all year long. essentially, SKYY Barcraft has hacked the modern cocktail! if you’d like to see more from our dressed up drinks, follow @SKYYVodka on instagram and check out the evening’s hashtag #barcraftbybay.
• photography by cindy loughridge for sfgirlbybay.
est magazine continues to be one of my go-to good reads for interior inspiration. they recently featured The White House, a charming guest hotel designed by Lynda Gardener of Empire Vintage in Melbourne, australia. her guest cottage, in Daylesford, is a lovely private studio apartment set back on a private lane and decorated in an über inspiring industrial vintage style. for the full tour, visit est magazine.
• photography courtesy of est magazine.