Interiorssneak peeks

Vintage Modern in San Francisco

by Amy Azzarito

Kate Davison and Jesse Hayes have only lived in this apartment for two months, but they’ve already created a home here in San Francisco’s Mission District. The house was built in 1908 and is imbued with a deep sense of history. The couple used the apartment’s bones as a backdrop for their own personal aesthetic – one that relies on inherited and thrifted pieces. Lately, they have also tried to incorporate more mid-century pieces as a way to tone down the formal feel of all the antiques. Kate has background in historical archives and before moving to San Francisco a year and a half ago, ran a booth in an antique store in Atlanta with her sister.  The booth was taken over by and friend and turned into a successful business, Brick+Mortar. She now works at a tech firm in San Francisco as an EA and dabbles in staging and art direction. Design always has been a passion and a hobby of hers. Jesse is a graphic designer at a medical software company and also does freelance and commissioned illustrations.  -Thanks Kate and Jesse! And a big thank you to Colin Price for the lovely photographs! (You can find Kat on her blog here!) –Amy

Image above: You enter into the flat through the living room, so we needed it to be inviting, as well as a well-organized space for foot traffic. The custom sectional sofa was a perfect fit and serves as a guest bed when needed.

Image above: Jesse had the brilliant idea to keep a white theme with the mantle in the living room. It was a little too proper for our taste, so we tried to pare it down and keep it simple. It’s a collection in process, but includes a gifted Jonathan Adler piece, a plaster cast of an old Clorox bottle and a bust of Napoleon Bonaparte (he has a reoccurring presence throughout the house).

what we love most

See all the photos of this San Francisco home after the jump!

Image above: The corner gallery wall in the living room incorporates pieces that are both of ours. The Castro Theatre print is from local artists, Lab Partners. The portrait was hand drawn by artist, Andrei Bouzikov. The Napoleon print and the hand-lettered French perfume box were both gifts from my siblings.

Image above: The dining table was a $45 Craigslist purchase. We painted the lower edge of the table with a band of white and added mix-matched chairs to break up the heaviness of the piece. Jesse’s great-grandfather painted the dog portrait that was placed in the dining room.

Image above: I salvaged this antique chest of drawers from a man who was hauling it out to the garbage back in Georgia. I talked to him for a bit and found out that it was handmade in Argentina and that he had imported it when he moved from South America to the States back in the “60s.

Image above: The vintage bookshelf was a thrift store find. The shelves hold Jesse’s collection of design books and his record player, as well as some of my history and English books.

Image above: The print on the wall is a Kime Buzzelli drawing, an artist from Los Angeles.

Image above: One of my favorite things about the kitchen is the open shelving. We have been able to collect so many jars and bottles to store food and supplies in. The vintage decanters were a Christmas gift that I found on eBay for Jesse.

Image above: Oh the kitchen! We (mainly Jesse) spend a fair amount of time here mixing drinks, cooking dinner or hand washing dishes, as we don’t have a dishwasher. The floor runner was a purchase from Crate and Barrel and the knives on the wall were a product of several trips to local swap meets and antique fairs.

Image above: This ledge serves as a mini coffee bar for us in the morning, as well as easy access to our cooking utensils next to the stove. Jesse used various Edison bulbs and an enamel base to craft the light fixture on the wall.

Image above: The cutting board was a very thoughtful housewarming gift from my “SFBFF” and is in the shape of Georgia, my home state
Image above: The dinosaur bookends were a handmade Christmas gift from my sister, a prized possession for sure.

Image above: Jesse has collected tons of vintage photographs that he has mounted behind his monitor at his workspace. Some are family photos, but most are random images he finds at antique stores and flea markets.

Image above: We decided to let the original wainscoting serve as our headboard in the bedroom. The “handsome men” above the bed were an Etsy purchase and the brass lamp was my great grandfather’s. The hardware on the nightstand is from Anthropologie and the flour sack was an estate sale find, lovingly made into a pillow by my sister.

Image above: The original soapstone sink and the six foot long wooden dowels in the bathroom was one of the many selling points of the apartment. 

Image above: The claw foot tub and the rainfall showerhead are truly a favorite of ours. We decided to just use clear shower curtains as to not block the wonderful light that the bathroom gets during the day.


Image above: Our garden space is a rarity in San Francisco and we have really enjoyed the extension of the apartment.  Having an outdoor area just makes you feel like you are a world away from our busy little city. The picnic table was thrift store find that I painted Shenandoah Taupe from Benjamin Moore.  It only had one bench, which actually works well in the space. When we need more seating, we just bring out one of the mix-matched chairs from the dining room.

our favorite thing

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