sneak peek: zoe johns & max catalano


Zoe Johns and Max Catalano live in San Francisco’s Mission District. A former textiles buyer, Zoe now works for a large retailer doing merchandising for their catalog, and in her free time she helps friends and family with their homes and collects vintage items that she sells on Etsy. The couple lives in a new construction building, which is their sanctuary from the excitement of the city. And despite a love of modern architecture, Zoe is still a bit of an old-fashioned girl, drawing inspiration from family treasures and items she and Max have collected over the years. But for every old “traditional” item, she tries to bring in something modern, humorous and unexpected. Thanks so much, Zoe, and thanks to Liz Daly for the fabulous photos, and to Kate for the tip! — Anne

Image above: This is our study. When we moved in, this was supposed to be the master bedroom, which came as a big white room. I wanted to create a dark and very cozy place to watch movies and for M to play music. I put a huge bookcase on one wall and a built-in desk and then painted the whole thing a really dark blue. It’s the room everyone ends up in when we have a party and where you will find Agnes, our eight-year-old Westie. The pillows are Jonathan Adler (I have a weakness for all things JA), and the cricket table we found at an antique store in Petaluma.

Image above: This is our powder room. I couldn’t land on a paint color I liked, so I ended up going with chalkboard paint with 10% white added. Over the years we have collected lots of art, and this was the perfect place to put it ALL up. The whole room is filled, and it’s very entertaining. The pigeons are my own work.

Image above: We love fizzy water . . . I’m not the sentimental type :)

More of Zoe and Max’s SF home after the jump . . .

Image above: This is our little bar area off the living room. We bought this console to store my vintage glassware collection and M’s mom’s wedding china, which she recently handed over to us (lucky us!). The large photograph was taken by our friend Debra Bloomfield. The fern is Max’s baby that he has had for 10 years.

Image above: This is our sitting room. The whole space is very modern, so I’ve added lots of soft textured and comfortable furniture to make you want to stay awhile. The sheepskins come from a weaver in Vermont (these sheep all died of old age), and Agnes loves to sit on them. The lamp and console are antiques found at flea markets, and the side table is from One Kings Lane.

Image above: The bookcase in the study. The small painting on the bottom left of my
dad and I was part of the Paul Ferney commission project. The throw was from a trip to Peru.

Image above: Our dining area is tight but perfect for small dinners. When we have larger parties, we move the table to the living room. It has four leaves and can seat up to 16.

Image above: This is my little desk in the bedroom that works double duty as a workspace and makeup table. The desk was my mother’s; she gave it to me when we moved in. I have so many memories of her getting ready here when I was a child. The lady on the horse print is by Iris Schwarz.

Image above: I bought this typewriter on my last trip to Austin right before we were married and ended up using it for all my thank you cards. I leave it with paper ready to go and always find hysterical notes written after parties at our house. The painting of the lady was made by my mother-in-law, who is an amazing artist. The Staffordshire dog is part of a collection I’ve had since I was young.

Image above: When I started our bedroom, my inspiration was a cloud (I know it sounds silly). I wanted a quiet, bright, and comfortable place just for us, and it is my favorite place in the house. I always stick with all-white bedding and recently added the kantha, which was a gift from a friend from a recent trip to Turkey. The lamp is from WS home, and I made the headboard myself — I love to sew and do home projects.

Image above: I absolutely love how modern our kitchen is. I’m not sure why, but it’s the easiest kitchen to clean I’ve ever had. The kitchen island is on wheels and moves around when we entertain. I love tabletop items and try to bring back one thing from each of my travels. The collection is eclectic, but it’s all pretty and sits nicely together.

Image above: The fridge started with just a few pictures, and I just can’t stop adding. I try to keep printing pictures as much as I can so they aren’t trapped on my phone or computer. Lots of wonderful memories that I’m reminded of every day.

Image above: We have a tiny balcony off our study that looks out to our building courtyard and has a view of the beautiful brick building across the way. It’s always sunny here in the morning.

  1. Susan says:


  2. Beth says:

    Love the traditional style in the modern space!


  3. I looooooooooove the bathroom !!!!!!!

  4. Megan says:

    Love it! Seeing your home just helped me make up my mind about a paint color for my own home.

  5. Rinconia says:

    I LOVE this home! So inspiring. I love the whimsy mixed in with more formal elements. Beautifully laid out. Just. Wow. Can you tell us the paint you used for the study walls, bookshelves and also for the bedroom?

  6. Freddy says:

    Love the bookshelves in the “blue room”, and the Art throughout the house!

    great job.

  7. Lovely home- I adore that kitchen.

  8. Mary Anne P says:

    Lovely and fresh! Powder room art wall is fantastic as is all the textures in the house. Sounds like a great home to relax, eat, drink and be merry in!

  9. kristen says:

    love it all, especially that rug in the second to last shot. any ideas where to find something like that?

  10. casacaudill says:

    This is one of my favorite sneak peeks in awhile – the powder room and office are some of my favorite images from recent tours. And I always love seeing fellow Bay Area residents profiled.

  11. Amanda says:

    I love the blue! Could you please share the name of that color?

  12. Carole says:

    I love the paint color in the study. Would you mind sharing what it is?

  13. What a fantastic sneak peak! Such a great mix of old and new, colors and neutrals. The bedroom and kitchen are my absolute favorites–thanks for inviting us in!

  14. ling says:

    i love the pics on the fridge, it manages to be full of stuff without feeling cluttered. it’s a big impact and personal.

  15. Joe says:

    Love your color palette. Cute dog. Great style.

  16. A beautiful and inspiring home indeed!

  17. sarah says:

    Where did you buy the console?! I too am interested in the blue color name.

  18. Their home is so beautiful & I love all the personal touches. I hope will be able to decorate my home with little mementos of our lives in such a lovely way!

  19. eileen waehner says:

    AHmazing. So inspiring… whimsical yet serious, modern and traditional, lovely art, cozy and an impeccable color palate. Just beautiful.

  20. donna says:

    Love this home. You have a great eye for colour and mixing things up.

  21. You have great things! I love your home. Especially that bar console – beautiful!

  22. Alex says:

    Not only do you have great stuff, you put it together seamlessly.

    I love the desk in the bedroom, and the color of the walls.

  23. Gorgeous color choices, art and textiles. sigh. love. I’m especially smitten with the bathroom.

  24. Ken Wetherbee says:

    Great decorating. Eileen has done some paintings that would look great there.

  25. Neko says:

    Amazing home, love the island on wheels, the fridge covered in photos, the teal, the exterior doors… Sublime but unstuffy!

  26. Patrycia says:

    Loving the calm colours throughout the home, just want to snuggle up on the sheep skin rugs with her doggie!

  27. Zoe says:

    Wow! Thanks everyone . Paint in the blue room is a 50/50 Gentleman’s Gray/Twilight from Benjamin Moore. Console is from HD Buttercup .

  28. Jessie says:

    Some people’s homes are really inspiring!I especially love the fridge filled up with pictures-dreamy!

  29. Patricia Gordon says:

    Made me feel just like a welcome guest who could share the love…..

  30. Aitana says:

    What a beautiful house!!!^^


  31. Julie says:

    I’ve been waiting for the name of the blue in the bedroom. We are searching for a light blue and the one you have used is very nice!

  32. I LOVE the pigeon art work! So Stellar!

  33. tere says:

    sleek, elegant but fresh and relaxed, really beautiful!! Congrats!

  34. Deb says:

    just delicious – I want to curl up and read on one of those chair (with a seltzer).

  35. Eileen 2 says:

    I like the gigantic C and where you chose to placeit on the bathroom wall.

  36. Andrea says:

    Can you tell me where you got your dining room table? Love it!

  37. Joanna says:

    Love, love, love this home! May be one of my favorite sneak peeks yet. All the beautiful textures and textiles have me salivating. And I want their Westie, too.

  38. Love the typewriter. Such a fun touch!

  39. i love love love these pics. i’m really into the dark walls lately. this post put me over the edge, i’m doing it :)

  40. Decofairy says:

    Ι have no words…elegance in all the details!!!

  41. Love this, such style. I love all of the artwork everywhere.

  42. Sandra says:

    What a gorgeous home – I particularly love your pigeon pictures in the bathroom.

  43. Susan Ingle says:


  44. Marion says:

    Beautiful home! Especially the bathroom looks like a very inspiring place!^^ Thanks for this sneak peak!

  45. kate says:

    So beautifully thought out.

  46. Bonnie says:

    Wow. I’d just like to move in. With the little dog, too!

  47. Bert Kraus says:

    Zoe, so cool….I love everything you’ve done. You,re the best….

  48. Eimear O'Connell says:

    I think others have asked the same question, but I really do love the paint colour on the study bookcase… any chance you could share what it is? (Beautiful house, also!)

  49. Stacey says:

    I really like how every room has its own personality. Great use of color, and accessories.


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