At Home: Skylights, windows illuminate Sunset house 

A chance tour of an Inner Sunset open house on a slow weekend some four years ago had Frances Baca and her husband falling unexpectedly in love with an unexplored part of town.

“We hadn’t even considered living in this neighborhood. This is sort of like the other San Francisco to me, because I always lived in the Mission ... the sunnier areas,” said Baca, a graphic designer.

The couple now call that house home, and even on a soggy winter afternoon the sun manages to stream inside, thanks to carefully placed skylights and generous windows, the latter installed around a year ago.

“We get much better light and uninterrupted views now,” Baca said. “When you’re having breakfast, on a clear day you can see across to Marin.”

The house was built in 1946 but every past owner has done something to it, a neighbor told Baca. Downstairs, the previous owner converted a massive double garage into a guest room, bathroom and spacious office, and a former entryway porch is now an enclosed foyer.

The home has dark stained floors, recessed lighting and white walls throughout. Yet in each room, the white is also punctuated by little bursts of color — such as delicate dusty pink drapes in the master bedroom and a red Eames chair in the living room.
“We painted the house when we moved in,” Baca said. “We have a lot of art, so I thought, ‘We’re just going to let the art add color to the walls and see how we like that.’”

Much of the art, such as a collage by San Francisco-based artist Dennis Parlante, is by local artists.

Even the nursery is a combination of cheerfulness and whimsy and the clean lines and neutral colors elsewhere in the house. Baca says she basically decorated her son’s room with art and furnishings she already owned, although the sleek charcoal “Sparrow” crib by Oeuf and a charcoal suede microfiber glider also reflect the pared-down aesthetic elsewhere in the home.

“I definitely didn’t want any blues. I just wanted something a little more modern,” she remarked. “I don’t have a very frilly sensibility.”

So instead, the bright pop of an orange throw pillow and bedding lend color to the room, and a silver ottoman adds a gentle shimmer.


Style keys
Frances Baca

Favorite pieces: Three distinctively different pieces of art that together fill a long wall in the living room
Favorite room: Baca’s son was born at home, and she loves sitting in the nursery with him while he drifts to sleep at naptime
Colors: Charcoals, white, black with bright color accents
Design aesthetic: Spare, clean, modern

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Brigid Gaffikin

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