Found: A San Francisco Apartment

After weeks of hunting for an apartment, we finally found a little place to call our own.  And when I say little, I do mean little.  It’s a studio space with about 600 square feet.  But it does have plenty of San Francisco charm, like this gorgeous arched window

Plus an eat in kitchen complete with built in shelves to display wine glasses or tea light candles or a collection of porcelain cats (kidding, only kidding)

The kitchen has granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and just enough storage space

The bath has a classic tile floor and a pedestal sink, plus an actual bath tub perfect for chilly San Francisco nights.  Not sure how I feel about the blacked out window.  Can’t wait to find a window treatment that conceals the dark glass.

Last but not least is the walk in closet, in the process of becoming our ‘master’ bedroom.  I know it looks small but it can actually fit a queen bed with a little room to spare.  I have big plans for this small space!

Over the next few days I’ll post some decorating ideas I’ve used to make this space feel like home.  If you have any ideas or suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

XOXO, Andy

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The Victorian Homes of San Francisco

San Francisco is lined with Victorian houses built on narrow plots of land creating tall, thin homes distinctive in style, the most iconic of which are the row of ginger bread gems set against the expansive skyline of this one of a kind city.

There are four distinct styles of Victorian homes beginning with Gothic Revival which was predominant in San Francisco from 1850 to 1880.  Homes of this style are easily identifiable with pointed arches over windows and doors, gabled roofs, and porches that extend the entire length of the home.

Italianate homes are best recognized through one distinctive feature, a tall cornice.  A cornice is defined as: the molded and projecting horizontal member that crowns an architectural composition, which you can see in the example below.

Stick style homes (yes, you heard it right) came onto the San Francisco scene around 1860 and may be the most prevalent type of Victorian homes in the city.  Decorative gables, wide bands of trim, and vertical lines are key features of stick style architecture.

Finally, Queen Anne architecture refers to homes combining elements from various styles of architecture, rather than homes from a particular time period as the name suggests.  Marked by towers and rounded window frames, this type of home has intricate details that make it one of a kind.

Many Victorian homes blend features of more than one style of architecture to create beautiful facades and opulent interiors. When I look in the windows, I can almost see gentlemen in crisp black overcoats and ladies in extravagant gowns moving through the shadows of a different place and time.

I Left My Heart in San Francisco

In another life, I lived in San Francisco and never dreamed I’d have the chance to live there again.  Fast forward eight years later to a cute husband with a new job, and I’m headed back to the city by the bay.

Between the beautiful hotels and the fantastic shopping, design inspiration is all around

I’m looking forward to strolling (ok climbing) the hills and taking in all the interesting architecture

And wandering through Golden Gate Park with its’ Asian influences and endless, lush emerald gardens

When I first visited San Francisco, it was to see my friend Kristi who lived there at the time.  We were twenty-one years old (was I ever really 21 years old?!), and the day I arrived she took me to see The Palace of the Fine Arts Building.  I stood in awe and vowed I would live there one day.  (Thank you Kristi! You changed my life that day!)

When I visited with my husband a few years later, he looked around in wonder and said, “Promise me we’ll live here one day.”  I promised.  Even though it was a difficult decision since we just got settled in Florida, there is something magical about helping make one of the dreams of the person you love come true.

Even though I didn’t leave my heart in San Francisco, I do hope we’ll find more love for everything we do, big and small, in San Francisco

House Much House Can You Get for $300K?

Well that depends greatly on where you live.  We all know the real estate market isn’t what it used to be and 300K can buy you a lot more than it could five years ago, but I can’t help wondering how much more?  Let’s check out a few cities across the nation to see what $300K can get you in today’s market.

First up, this listing in one of my favorite cities in the world – SAN FRANCISCO

According to Realtor.com, the median sales price of homes in San Francisco is $825,002 but you can score this guy for $299,000, well below the median sales price:

It’s not in perfect condition, but this place actually has loads of potential.  It already has hard wood (or likely laminate) floors in the main living areas, so with a little paint, a cute office nook under the stairs defined with some graphic wallpaper, and a few great area rugs you could really brighten up the space.  But why is it only $299,000?  First off, you can see from the map that it’s not exactly in the center of the city and that’s probably a big part of why it’s listing price is so low.

But if you want to live in close proximity to some great little neighborhoods like the Marina, Russian Hill, the Mission and Pacific Heights, plus have easy access to some great areas in the South Bay like Burlingame, one of my favorite spots in all of California, you can have it for less than 300K!

Next up – this listing in CHICAGO

I have always loved Chicago.  Despite the frosty winters, it has that Midwest charm you just can’t find anywhere else, plus beautiful historic buildings and some of the most amazing food I’ve ever had.  You can find a lot of condos and lofts for 300K in Chicago, like this one in the West Side neighborhood:

It’s an uber industrial space, but you could really soften it up with sheer flowing fabrics and long, floor to ceiling drapes.  I love all the exposed wood, which adds a layer of warmth you don’t always get with city lofts.  Not too bad for 300K!

Finally, check out what you can buy for 300K in CHARLESTON, SC:

Built in 1880, this 977 square foot 2bd/1ba is pretty endearing, but without any interior pics you can’t be sure what you’re getting.  Then again, with close proximity to the water and a great park/water view, 977 square feet isn’t too much space to renovate if you’re looking for a little place near the sea.

Plus, Charleston is an enchanting Southern city with great shopping, stretches of warm, sandy beaches and Southern hospitality you can’t find anywhere else.  With Cobblestone streets, hidden galleries and rooftop restaurants, Charleston is one of the best place in the SE to call home.