the good news and the bad news.
by victoria comment


i’m back from my little sabbatical, and refreshed and excited about some really fabulous new home tours i have to share, as well as some fun new, and hopefully inspiring posts i’ve been working on! but, as you may have read last friday, i was hit with some rather unpleasant news this week and found out my landlady has put my home on the market and i will have to move. that came as quite a shock. i curled up in a fetal position for two days trying to get my head wrapped around it, but now i’m slowing coming out of the “oh no, i have to move again” coma and have begun to look for a new place to live.

so, the good news part? well, i get to have an all new decorating experience and share that with you guys, which i always find to be a fun challenge. i will be scaling down considerably, because any new home i find is bound to have much less space — the san francisco rental market is bleak, and expensive. but, i am trying to look at it as a fresh lease on life and i love decorating a new space, so there’s that. i plan on selling a lot of my furniture and accessories, and living a lot more minimally. my dining room will probably double as my home office, the living room will be much leaner, and much less ‘stuff’. i’m okay with that. i don’t require a lot of space to be happy. let’s just hope i find that special place that feels good to call home. fingers crossed as i forge ahead. i hope you enjoy the challenge and the changes ahead.

oh, and in other news — if there’s something you’ve seen in my home that you’ve been coveting, please let me know in the comments below and i’ll let you know if i’m selling it. thanks!

• photos elle decor UK, via french by design.

67 responses to “the good news and the bad news.”

  1. Oh Victoria, this is awful.

    And may I say I DESPISE your greedy landlady-she should at least give you a cut of the profit she’s going to make on the house that nobody was looking at before your divine intervention!


  2. I am a quiet reader of your blog (I think I might have commented once) but reading your Friday post over the weekend made me feel for you.
    The housing market in some cities is crazy – I live in London where there is no rent control (apart perhaps from a tiny number of very old tenancies) and buying is a scary and expensive prospect for all but a tiny rich minority. It always strikes me as such a shame that something that is as intrinsically emotional and personal as a home is muddled by money making. Your post today shows remarkable resilience. I like your idea of living a simpler life with less stuff; it’s something I’ve been moving towards this year, albeit driven by a different type of crisis. I hope the stuff you sell finds good homes but more importantly I really hope you and Lucy find a new home that brings happiness. Good luck.
    (And I never said thank you for helping me see new things when I was in San Francisco last September; I’ll say thank you now.)

    • thank you so much, liz. i really appreciate you reading, and reaching out this time to comment. everyone’s support really helps put things in perspective and lifts me up! and you are most welcome for the SF tips!

  3. Well done to you! I get really frustrated trying to find an affordable place to live that has some soul – i’m from Australia, there are lots of 90s houses :( Wishing you luck for the search, and definitely keep us in the loop when you makeover the new pad! x

  4. Oh Victoria, I’m so sorry! I’m in SF too and know how difficult the market can be. I think you have the best attitude – luckily, there are so many lovely buildings here, I’m sure you’ll find someplace really special. Best of luck!

  5. Victoria, I’m so sad for your personal upheaval but looking forward to the day that you find the next gem and grin at all of the fresh possibilities :) I’m absolutely sure that you will take this big bowl of lemons you’ve been handed and make some delicious lemonade. Along the way, all of your readers will reap (timely for so many) benefits from your posts on ‘the hunt’ for a new spot, the paring down process you’re already starting to share and the exciting new beginning you’ll make. You put so much good out into the world that “even better than good” is surely heading your way! Best Wishes :)

  6. You might not have to minimize much. I’m just hoping you find exactly what you and Lucy deserve. Lot’s of light, good floors, a cute gas stove, lots of windows and an awesome view of a great neighbors’ awesome dwellings.. That is why S.F. can be so great. So many nooks and crannies that capture the minds imagination. Maybe you will find an in-law house behind a Victorian. There are a lot of those in the Cow Hollow area. Imogen Cunningham owned one at Green and Polk. Think Palm Tree’s!

  7. oh and this spread is great. I dig how these old rustic hues of grey’s and light blue’s work against fresh white paint. Anything black really pops out! Beautiful.

  8. I have the feeling new and bigger doors will open. That soon-to-be EX landlady needs a makeover though — who sells a house right after the renter garners a deal to get it painted? Ugh. I wish I had a home, perfect and wild, to rent to you! Are you really going to sell of furniture then? Gosh — I’d drive up to SF from the South Bay if you thought you’d part with the (teak?) sideboard in your dining room? In the meantime, I hope this unexpected change leads to fabulous and BETTER bolder steps onward. Yvonne :)

  9. eeeeeeeeek victoria . . . that SUCKS, but change can be good. have you ever thought about moving to the EAST bay ?! after living in the city for 23 years, moving out here was a welcome change. there is more room, better weather, more affordable, more peaceful, lucy would LOVE it, and it only takes me 10 minutes to get into the city (with no traffic). you could get a cute cottage out here with a garden, i’m SURE. plus you’d STILL be the “girl by bay” !

  10. Victoria I wish you all the best, I hope you find a place that you and your dear Lucy can call home and when you find it ( because I know you will : ) ) is going to look more beautiful than ever.


  11. this is the perfect opportunity to create and be fresh! i am the person who usually is excited about that stuff (sudden moves, new job, new people, new everything!). imagine – you will have a new place to decorate and make a home BUT also you will have a new community! new coffee shops around the block, new markets, new sites… ahhh! embrase the change and allow yourself to fall in love with the new :) good luck!

  12. Vic!!

    NOOOOOOO!! Seriously?! So sorry you have to move!!! :( That’s such a bummer… I didn’t get to visit your beautiful house, either… but my fingers are tightly crossed for you and you will find the new place and you’ll make it awesome!!! I’m excited to see that, always. Sending LOTS OF good thoughts and hugs!!! xoxo

  13. Oh MAN that sucks!! Sorry to hear this Victoria.

    I think the only reason she could 950k for it now is because of the work you’ve done to it.

    While it’s always fun decorating a new place, your particular circumstance warrants some emotion.
    When I lived in San Francisco many years ago, my landlord refused any improvements whatsoever, so my partner and I took it upon ourselves to pull up every last fiber of carpet and refurbish the wood floors ourselves. Once he saw how nice we’d made the apartment (over two years time), he decided he wanted his mother to move in.

    What a yucky situation.

    Good luck with your search.

  14. Hi Victoria. I’m also a quiet reader of your blog, but I’m so sorry to hear about your predicament. Especially after sinking a lot of heart-felt energy into your home.

    I second Rae Dunn’s comment, above: Have you thought of the East Bay? I live there with my family. We’re in North Berkeley, very close to the Thursday Farmers’ Market and Chez Panisse. In fact, my husband works at the Cheese Board. It’s a lovely place to live, very lively but also peaceful. We live in a two-story house (three bedrooms, one bath, a HUGE yard) and pay $2500/month. I commute to the city every weekday, and it’s about 25 minutes on Bart from N. Berkeley to Montgomery station. Not bad.

    On the other hand, I can totally understand how moving yourself to a new town in addition to just having to move at all might be too much to think about. But we’d LOVE to have you in the East Bay!!

    Hang in there. Things will most likely end up being better than you could have possibly imagined. Life is funny that way.

    • thank you jennie. i am considering it. i don’t know the area very well, so it’s hard to know from craigslist quite what’s nice and what’s not so nice.

      thank you for the kind support! :)

  15. Victoria,
    I was so mad for you in your last post (and I apologize for my angry comment toward the situation), but I’m glad you are looking on the bright side. Good luck finding a new place. I can’t wait to see how you decorate a smaller space. :)

  16. I’m so sorry to hear about the bad news, but I love that your embracing the spirit of a new challenge! Funny thing… I was on Craigslist searching for furniture for sale in my neighborhood, and I came across a few of your posts (I’d of course adore the pink chairs, but my boyfriend would quickly veto). Anyway, I didn’t see the white leather bench for sale, but if you’re willing to part with it, I’d love to know how much. Merci!

  17. I too am so sorry to hear of this. I though that the sf rent board protected the tenants when the building sold? That makes me scared too! I am sure you looked into the legal issues with the situation. I live in the mission near dolores and will keep an eye out for rent signs!


  18. I wish that you gonna find a place with a lot of light and good neighbours!!!! Best of luck!!! Iin Quebec city, there are very nice parisian style apartments to rent near to the river ;-)))))

  19. oh no! Oh Victoria I’m SO sorry….I was so preoccupied with my crazy “hit and run” pedestrian body checkin’, that I completely missed this. Ugh. I love your attitude, trying to see the positive in this situation, and finding a ray of sunshine in being able to redecorate and transform a new space. I can only imagine how shocking and frustrating this is (and not to add salt in the wound, but your yellow door with that grey is gorgeous. We have a poppy red front door, and i loooove it….but the yellow is a refreshingly fun take on it! I say you need to bring that “Sunshine” with you wherever you go!)

    I will absolutely keep my ears and eyes open, lady. Sigh. Damn.

    (I know this probably isn’t even a possibility…..but eeeeeeasy baaaay????? Piedmont? Lake Shore? Rockridge??? SUPER doggie friendly and a mere BART ride away!!!!)

  20. great attitude for a good change. I too downsized “involuntarily,” (it was not my first preference) and will downsize again for the next move. The stuff that lets me do what I need to do most is what I am keeping. LIke you say, multi-purpose rooms. I really hope something great for you and your pup pops up soon, so you can relax and enjoy the transition.

  21. Oh, this is a huge bummer. I’m so sorry to hear this, but hopefully your good karma and strong network will serve you well during a time like this. Let me know if you need an agent’s help, I’d be happy to refer you to someone. Fingers crossed for you.

  22. thank you all so much for the encouragement, ideas and support! it’s been hard to keep up with all the comments, but please know that all of your kindness really helps when i feel so kind of fragile and stressed. you guys are the best!! xoxo, victoria

  23. Hi Victoria.
    I know at least two people have already said this, but I would really encourage you to come to Oakland, Emeryville or Berkeley. There is so much happening over on this side of the Bay, and the weather is sooooo much better. Rent is still not cheap (at all), but I think there is way more inventory. If you want a rundown of neighborhoods to look in or just the flavor of different areas, feel free to email me off-line. I would be happy to help you!

  24. Hi Victoria,
    My name’s Annie and I’m the web admin at Leftovers- and I love your blog :)
    Sorry to hear about your having to move. Sometimes a change like that helps you move into a new phase and make room for newness in your life! If we can be of any help, please let us know- we’d be happy to consign pieces you’re looking to sell or help you furnish your new space- you get a special VIP discount ;)

  25. i’m sorry to hear of your situation! make sure you know your rights when you are asked to move out. luckily sf renters have a lot of protection. friends of mine have been through this and have been paid to move out or signed a new lease with the new owner.

    good luck!!!

    and if you do end up having a sale…i will be there!

      • oh no! i’m sorry to hear that. well what’s for sure is that wherever you call home next will be beautiful and blessed i’m sure. good luck!

      • I rent a single family home in San Francisco, and I went through this a few years ago and wound up getting to stay. Maybe I had a loophole because there’s an in-law unit in my garage, but I don’t think so…my understanding is: The new owner can only evict you if they plan to move themselves or a member of their immediate family into the house, and they can only do so if they are staying for a minimum of 2 years (if your new owner is not a US citizen, this is relevant), and, if they do evict you, they have to pay a renter’s relocation fee of almost $5000 per person.

        Yep, I just double checked–single family homes are not protected against rent increases in the same way, but all other rules apply! Good luck! And remember–they have to provide you with everything in writing–all I did was insist on that, and they dropped the (verbal) eviction notice!

  26. Victoria — ‘Ya know what just hit me!? Maybe the new owners, whenever that time comes, will be grateful to have a fabulous renter in place, especially if they’re buying it as an investment property. I know, right… like who can afford $1M for an investment property, but you never know. And even if it’s for them to live in as their primary residence, perhaps they need 6 months or more to move or sell their “other” house and would again be totally grateful to be able to get some rent and buy themselves some time. Your landlord should consider showing the house with you living in it or else she will have to pay stagers to furnish it. Places never sell as well empty. I don’t know. Am I grabbing for straws? Just a thought. Sorry :(

  27. People only sell these days if they really have to. Property values aren’t what they used to be. My mother in law is up in Vallejo, her Victorian isn’t worth the $300k she paid for it.

    My great aunt passed recently, she lived in Noe Valley. They sold her house for $500k, and are selling the cottage in back for $450k it’s possible to find places such as that. Find an agent, at the very least they can find you a good rental, with possibilities later to buy. There’s always a foreclosure, or something right around the corner.

  28. Hi Victoria,
    So sorry to hear about your housing situation. I live in SF too so I know what an ordeal that can be especially in light of the tough rental market here. I know so many people in SF (including myself!) who have made cozy homes out of their rentals only to be kicked out of them. Be strong and positive and accept the change with an open heart. A few years ago a woman that I worked with was kicked out of her flat that she had lived in for many years and ended up finding a sweet little cottage in Tiburon of all places. It is small but is a free standing cottage with tons of outdoor space for gardening and views of the bay. I believe she pays around $1800! So it’s not only the East Bay but just north of the GGB that could possibly be your new home. And definitely don’t give up on SF. There is something incredibly beautiful and rewarding to me in living without all the “stuff” we think we need. Best of luck to you! –p.s. love your blog!

  29. Hi, Victoria,
    You might want to check on whether you can legally be kicked out…typically in SF renters canNOT be kicked out when the building is sold:

    They’ll have to pay a hefty buy out fee in the event that evicting you is legal. Just FYI!

    • thanks aimee – i’ve talked to the tenant’s rights people. a single family dwelling (with no other rental units) does not have to adhere to the rent control laws. but thank you.

  30. Condolences Victoria. As someone who moved 3 times in 1.5 years in SF, I know what a drag it is. You don’t have to downsize if you are willing to compromise by moving to the Sunset. Yes, I know it is the most un-hip area of the city, but I have a big, light, white, clean space w/ hardwood floors for less than a king’s ransom. Of course I have to rent out 2 rooms to be able to afford it, but the trade-off is that I have a big yard, washer & dryer and space to move around without tripping over myself. If you like Asian food, there is lot’s to choose from and you can always take MUNI to other parts of the city if you feel too isolated out here in the boonies.
    There is a house for rent across the street from me on 34th Ave., if you are interested I can get you the landlord’s phone #.

    • thank you nancy! i’m trying to stay close, only because i have such a great network of friends at our dog park, but i will check in if i decide to look out there. thanks!!

  31. So sorry to hear this news Victoria but I wonder if this doesn’t mean a new great adventure is ahead for you…didn’t you have a post recently about getting out of SF? Hmmmm…and you are always coveting those Swedish apartments. I don’t know…maybe this is a sign.

    I would always LOVE to have you come down south to LA – not that rents are much better.

    If you are set on SF I say you have to sing from the top of the hills that a fabulous, famous interior design whiz bang is on the look out for a great place. There are landlords out there who would LOVE to have you as a tenant.

    Better yet give HGTV a call and they can make a whole new show for you – House Hunters by the Bay. No better reality show I can think of.

    Seriously, wishing you happy hunting and would love to see what you find out there. I live vicariously in SF via your blog…I wish I could come up there and search with you!!

  32. I am sorry to hear this – it’s tough to be at the mercy of the whims of a landlady. I do think the house you live in has been improved out of sight by your work on it!

    But I hope that, in the way of these things, a new door opens onto a lovely new place for you and Lucy to live.

    If you are minded to… it would be really really interesting to follow you through the thinning process, as you decide what you want to part with – how to decide what to keep, what to ditch, what to sell, what (and how) to scale down. I long to do this but have no idea where to start…

    Best wishes

  33. Hello Victoria,
    I am sorry to hear this news, moving is always a big headache specially in an expensive area, but it seems you have embraced the idea, well not options isn’t? but to move on and create a new home for yourself, Lucy and your business. I am going myself through a huge change in my life personally and professionally, can’t tell much about yet but a very good opportunity has come up and I am going for it, too bad my current boyfriend doesn’t seems to share that with me, but men come and go and we have to create our own future and life, so from here I send you a lot of good luck, life sometimes test us, I guess for the best. kisses and go for it!

  34. Hi Victoria,
    Moving isn’t easy on a gal. We’re nesters after all and you – well you’ve nested quite a nest. I bet though that you will find an even more fabulous home that will be a labour of love. Now on to me :) I’m not sure if you really do want to sell any of your fantastic stuff but I’ve been eyeing your white leather mid century chairs and bench. Let me know if you are interested in selling those to a happy sfgirlbythebay inspired home in LA. :)

  35. 3 days.
    feels like an eternity I’m sure.
    i wish i could talk you into looking in the sunny suburban outreaches of silicon valley where dogs park are abundant, but i know — it’s not sf (my home town too!)
    are you selling the sweet sideboard in your dining room?
    it might be a family heirloom, in which case my apologies for even asking.
    i hope you find a new nest soon :)

  36. It is tough out there. Same thing happened to me. Had an amazing top floor in Twin Peaks and owners of the building said buy it or get out. I had neighbors who had lived there for 30 years, and had to leave the city as their rent was controlled and they paid next to nothing. Oh how I loved that apartment. Well happy hunting, I hope you find a gem!

  37. Vic- I’m sorry. Your house looks so amazing. Your land lady is an expletive. I have a guest house in, ahem, Bakersfield. You know if you’re like ridiculously desperate. We take dogs.

    I’m sure you will find an amazing an better place in SF. All of your homes have always been so lovely, in no small part to your touch. I remember I think I cried when you left the little pink casita. I know I was more upset than you, but your apartment afterwards was so wonderful. Moving sucks, but I think it’s going to lead to something wonderful for you!

  38. Victoria, I’m in the process of moving, and I’ve also given away or sold a lot of my stuff. I just wanted to tell you that it feels great – less stuff to pack and unpack, and more space in the new place. Best of luck, I’m sure everything will turn out just great for you and Lucy!

  39. I’m glad you’ve got all these previous comments offering support–I do the same! You have such a fabulous sense of style and great blog posts. I wish you all the best with this latest and hope that something really wonderful will come of it.

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