Lauren Barr is a freelance graphic designer who specializes in packaging and dabbles in printmaking and ceramics. Her modest circa 1910 apartment is north of the panhandle, on the edge of the fog belt in San Francisco. Lauren is forever battling between accumulating and paring things down, while learning to deal with a major lack of storage space. With a love of color, pattern, texture and old things, a lot of her “stuff” comes from flea markets and estate sales, or are items she’s collected from her travels, from family or from art-school friends. I’m majorly jealous of her wall of “paint-by-number” paintings that she’s found over the years. Thanks to Lauren and Stefanie Renee for the photos! — Anne
Image above: This is my office. I love the patina on the old filing cabinet. The boxes and folders on top of it hold printed samples and art supplies. The packages tacked to the wooden shelf are from the now-closed Shadowshop at the SFMOMA. The top one is “San Francisco Fog, an authentic Bay Area experience.”
Image above: The other half of my office, which doubles as a craft area/dining room. The black and white portrait is by my friend Kristy Overman, the pinch pots on the mantel were made by me, and that wacky tiger was a gift from my uncle.
More of Lauren’s SF home after the jump . . .
Image above: The paint-by-numbers collection started when I lived in NYC. At first, I got only landscapes. When I moved to California I expanded to sailboats, seascapes and lighthouses along with anything with a local theme: the SF cable car turn-around, the Bay Bridge, generic California missions. Then I started collecting birds and animals. Generally, I try not to get anything without a frame, but because there are some standard sizes, I can sometimes switch out a painting and keep a nice frame. I’ve pretty much stopped collecting them now, although I love to get them as gifts. I think it would be fun to have a whole wall of the same paint-by-numbers painting. And no, I’ve never actually done one myself. Because they mostly use the same color palette, they work well in a group, almost like one big painting. I like that someone designed this “artwork” product for the general public to make.
Image above: This gun pillow belonged to my dad; I think my grandmother must have made it for him when he was a boy. On the shelf is my mom’s old set of Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia, the 1952 edition. The entry on the moon says, “Men have long dreamed of journeying to the moon. If this were possible, we should find the experience anything but enjoyable.” (Because of the lack of atmosphere, etc.) The collection box reads “Lifeboat” on one side and “Volunteer” on the other. I got it at the always-surprising Portobello Road market in London.
Image above: The living room looking into the office. My grandparents had a similar pair of 1960s gilded Italian candelabras over the couch when I was growing up, but they disappeared years ago. The botanical drawing is by Elizabeth Blackwell from her 1737–39 book, A Curious Herbal. This is Plate 76, Croftswort: “It is reckon’d among the vulnerary plants, being of a drying and binding nature; and is particularly commended for ye swelling of ye scrotum, which is caused by ye falling down of the Intestines into it.” (I am not making this up.)
Image above: This is my hallway gallery. The little blue and yellow painting is by SCUBA. The little fish painting is by my college friend Rachel Bacon. The radio is by Greg Pnut Galinsky. I like vintage umbrellas. This very old wobbly mirror is one of my favorite things in my home.
Image above: That clever little lady’s Derringer is a foamcore prop made by a friend for a sort of vaudeville-type show. I keep adding stuff to this area, as I find little paintings and things I like. I love the tiny trophy fish.
Image above: Bedroom with painting by Paul Wackers, an arrow from Vogstsmith, and my old girlhood dresser that I will repaint as soon as I can decide on a color. Coral? Teal? Robin’s egg blue? Maybe yellow . . .
Image above: This great 1930s (?) Ruby Queen cigarettes poster is by the Shanghai illustrator Hang Zhi Ying. The handmade lampshade is by my college friend Jil Smith.
Image above: A view from the kitchen. The drawing over the flowers is from Southern Exposure Gallery’s Monster Drawing Rally and is by Weston Teruya. My dad made the wooden shelf/counter/island. It has worked perfectly in five different kitchens.
Image above: The colorful paintings are by the Creativity Explored artist, Vincent Jackson. The pink picnic table stencil drawing is also from Southern Exposure Gallery’s Monster Drawing Rally and is by Nathaniel Parsons. The cut-outs are leftovers from my printmaking process that I sometimes like better than the actual prints.