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Leilani Labong

Small Spaces: Great Apartment Design in 900 Square Feet or Less

Who says you need a mansion (or even a house) to show off design sensibility? Not these city dwellers, who've made their apartments, all less than 900 square feet, into showcases of urban style.

Secret Garden: 750 Square Foot Duboce Triangle Apartment

Mamie Rheingold Duboce Triangle 750 square feet

Mamie Rheingold, a 25-year-old program manager at Google, wasn’t the first to claim dibs on a new Duboce Triangle garden apartment designed by Boor Bridges Architecture, but she was definitely the most enthusiastic. "I have a background in architecture, so I really marveled at the design," says Rheingold, who moved in six months ago. "My landlords really wanted a tenant who would appreciate it."

Design Match in Heavens: A 850 Square Foot Potrero Hill Apartment

Kelly Waters and Peter Judd Potrero Hill, 850 square feet

"Is it silly to be so sentimental over a chair or a sofa or an autographed doll?" asks intern architect Kelly Waters of the storied contemporary furniture, art, and other treasured keepsakes in the 850-square-foot flat she shares with her husband, Peter Judd, in Potrero Hill. Their classic Eames lounge, for instance, was inherited from Judd’s mother, who would while away many an afternoon upon it while pregnant with her son. The midcentury sofa was acquired from a porn distribution center in Los Angeles. And a collection of action figures from ’70s and ’80s TV shows was acquired via Judd’s addiction to eBay.

Nesting Instinct: A 400 Square Foot Lower Pacific Heights Apartment

Five years ago, design consultant Frances Weiss and her then-fiancé shared an apartment in Bernal Heights with some pretty rotten mojo. "Someone overdosed and died there shortly before we moved in," says Weiss, 35. The couple’s relationship irrevocably soured soon after they took up residence. The newly single Weiss sought safe harbor in a light-filled, 400-square-foot studio in Lower Pacific Heights. "It felt warm and safe from the moment I stepped foot in it," she says. "It was such a welcome relief coming from a bad relationship and a haunted apartment."

Weathering Heights: An 850 Square Foot Apartment in the Mission

"We like to describe the decor as ‘faded Cuban glamour,’" says stylist and designer Monique Ramos of the Mission apartment she shares with her boyfriend, artist Richard Colman. The intriguing tableau, a sunny 850-square-foot space, arises from the most unexpected medley of nostalgic travel mementos (jars of sand from all over the world), moody works of art (seascapes and taxidermy installations), and enchanting timeworn furnishings (chandeliers and vintage leather seating).

Chatting With The Love Guru: A Q&A with Spiritual Teacher Ram Dass

Ram Dass won’t be appearing in person at Book Passage in Corte Madera on Nov. 7 to promote his new book, Be Love Now: The Path of the Heart (HarperOne)—a follow-up to his 1971 bestseller, Be Here Now. He suffered a debilitating stroke 13 years ago, and now stays put in Maui, so he’ll be appearing by teleconference. But that won’t stop local metaphysical junkies from showing up to talk spiritual bliss with the iconic author and teacher.

2010 Hot 20: Michelle Blade, Painter, 2010 SECA Art Award Finalist and Owner of Sight School Gallery

Artist Michelle Blade is the first to admit that she has rightfully earned her role as the token black sheep of her family. Instead of staying in LA to join their restaurant business, she fled to SF in 2006 to pursue a master’s of fine arts in painting at California College of the Arts. Soon she was organizing social experiments such as group hugs with strangers in Golden Gate Park and a full moon feast and fire ceremony that entailed burning bits of paper scrawled with people’s wishes and burdens. “In grad school, I started painting large groups of individuals going out into nature and doing crazy things,” says Blade, whose canvases nod to Romanticism and German Expressionism. “A teacher of mine asked, ‘Michelle, why is this just a painting?’”

Hot 20 2010: Jane Kim, President, SF Board of Education and Candidate for District 6 Supervisor

If Jane Kim looks familiar, it could be that you recognize her as the SF Board of Education president, not to mention the leading candidate in the race for District 6 supervisor (a post held by controversial legislator Chris Daly since 2000). Or you might know her as the electric-bass player in a female indie-rock band called Strangely, which performs at venues such as Brainwash. “After politics, my second love is definitely music,” says the Stanford grad.

Inside the Kitchen of Michelle Polzine, Pastry Chef at Range

Range pastry chef Michelle Polzine's retro home kitchen is a feast for the senses. Read about her kitchen below and browse hundreds Bay Area kitchens for inspiration for your next rennovation project on our sister site,

Hot 20 2009: Sean George, COO of Navigenics

Photography by Jen Siska.

Given that Sean George is a self-confessed “great admirer of women,” it comes as no surprise that a girl named Claire is to blame for the biotech executive’s lack of sleep. “I work a lot, so I don’t get much sleep to begin with, but with my 2-year-old daughter (shown here), I get even less,” says George, COO of Silicon Valley darling, Navigenics. The company provides genetics screening and prevention guidance for 28 common chronic conditions, including diabetes, breast cancer and heart disease—all you need is a dab of saliva and $999. “Our customers are interested in long-term health, and I’d say that having Claire definitely makes me think more about sticking around for another 50 years.”

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