In the heart of Haight-Ashbury, among so many iconic Victorian homes, hides an extroverted interior that could double as an art museum if the owners would just throw open its doors.
Home to a design-world insider and her finance-world husband, a pair who has traveled the globe, the three-story dwelling is a living album that tells the story of their many treasure hunts throughout Europe and Asia over the past two decades.
But art has always been her passion: A home stager who specializes in installing original art works, she first fell in love with the textiles of Vietnam as an American graduate student there, and then she had a dalliance with literature—she's co-authored a Vietnamese dictionary and conducted oral histories of Vietnamese-Americans.
(Photography by Daniel Triassi)
Her love of Vietnamese culture, and of so many different art forms, is evident throughout this urban sanctuary, where the eclecticism of the couple's taste is announced the moment you enter thanks to a bold black-and-white mural recently installed by San Francisco artist Rodney Ewing, who is notable for his public art installation Human Beings: Sanctuary City on view in kiosks along Market Street through August 2018.
As fierce supporters of Bay Area's artists, the homeowners fell in love with Ewing's Days and Occasions series at the Mission District art space Southern Exposure, and commissioned him to reproduce a similar work for their home. (Ewing also happens to be their son's art teacher.)
If you were seated in one of the plush velvet chairs beneath the sparkling chandelier in the dining room—a social area where a tall wooden chair marks the place of prominence for the father according to Vietnamese dining etiquette—you could read some sentences scrawled across Ewing's mural in the hallway. That is, of course, if you were able to look past the very eye-popping The photo on the wall is by in the room, as well as the wallpaper fabulously printed with images of theater balconies.
The home transcends any one style, drawing inspiration from her love of Vietnamese heritage as well as from modern design for a kind of melting pot aesthetic—and of course the art collection follows suit.
In the living room, the old Victorian's stately original fireplace, an ornate crystal chandelier, and tufted velvet furnishings lend a bit of old-world charm; but tomato-red walls, a few midcentury design details, and whimsical-to-say-the-least paintings stop that vibe right there. This is a thoroughly modern residence.
The art collection continues upstairs on the second floor, where a wall of eclectic works leads into the library, a playful room designed in collaboration with architect Chip Minnick, of Oakland-based F36 Design. Almost shocking teal paint coats the walls with joy; and political works by Mexican artists Fernando Guevara and Enrique Chagoya, combined with black-and-white photography, creepy-cool taxidermy, and matching turquoise furniture enhance the emotive vibe.
The bedroom occupies the whole of third floor. And if you're invited up, you'll see instantly why this is the couple's favorite spot in the house. Airy and bright, the room sparks a dialogue between ancient treasures and modern pleasures, where a glass shower stands smack in the middle of the space, while four funerary statues from the central Vietnamese highlands are settled before the bed, as if to catch up at the end of a long day while taking in the devastating views of downtown SF.