Saints & Sin­ners

Country Sampler - BOHO Style - - TABLE OF CONTENTS -

Col­lec­tions of bib­li­cal pro­por­tion fill a San Fran­cisco home with­out mak­ing it feel clut­tered. What’s the se­cret?

Hayes Val­ley, Cal­i­for­nia, was just out­side the orig­i­nal San Fran­cisco city lim­its when it was first set­tled in the 1850s. By the turn of the cen­tury, the area was part of the grow­ing city and attracted well-to-do res­i­dents liv­ing in im­pres­sive houses. Fifty years later, a dou­ble-decker free­way bi­sected the area’s streets, and Hayes Val­ley was no longer con­sid­ered a de­sir­able place to live.

Not long there­after, how­ever, artists, bo­hemi­ans and hip­pies look­ing for bar­gain real es­tate dis­cov­ered the ne­glected houses. In 1989, an earthquake de­stroyed part of the free­way, and the rest of the road was dis­man­tled. Since then, Hayes Val­ley has become one of San Fran­cisco’s trendi­est neigh­bor­hoods.

Kim Devine moved into an 1898 Vic­to­rian home in the area with her then­hus­band, artist Michael Bren­nan, in 1982. The cou­ple was attracted to the neigh­bor­hood be­cause its houses had soar­ing ceil­ings and tall win­dows that flooded the over­size rooms with light—per­fect for an artist’s stu­dio. Al­though the cou­ple later di­vorced, Kim, a col­lec­tor of varied in­ter­ests, still lives in the house she and Michael pur­chased.

A home built more than 100 years ago is sure to show its age, and to Kim, that’s not nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing.

“I’ve al­ways pre­ferred fur­ni­ture and house­wares from the past,” Kim says. “In ear­lier cen­turies, hum­ble ev­ery­day items, in­clud­ing bot­tles, bowls and flow­er­pots, were made by hand with metic­u­lous at­ten­tion to de­tail.”

Hous­ing and dis­play­ing her as­sorted pos­ses­sions fu­els Kim’s dec­o­rat­ing schemes. From metal­lic crowns to images of skulls and hands, and from an­tique tex­tiles to re­li­gious sculp­tures and paint­ings, Kim is the first to ac­knowl­edge she knows what she likes—and col­lects it!

“Tak­ing a fo­cused ap­proach is nec­es­sary in or­der to keep chaos at bay,” she ex­plains. In her kitchen, for ex­am­ple, there’s a 1940s sink that came with the house, but no dish­washer.

“I’ve never lived in a house with a dish­washer, so I don’t miss hav­ing one,” she says. “Be­sides, it would re­duce the space that my col­lec­tions could pop­u­late. No one ever ac­cused me of be­ing prac­ti­cal.”

There are a few modern de­vel­op­ments Kim does ap­pre­ci­ate. “The in­ter­net has made it al­most too easy to find new ac­qui­si­tions from any­where in the world,” she says. “And Craigslist has turned nearby neigh­bor­hoods into one gi­ant tag sale!”

Col­lec­tions of bib­li­cal pro­por­tion fill a San Fran­cisco home with­out mak­ing it feel clut­tered. WHAT’S THE SE­CRET?

OP­PO­SITE: A Ja­panese silk ta­pes­try cre­ates a dra­matic back­drop for a French wal­nut daybed. Curved steer horns and a Noguchi lamp, rem­i­nis­cent of tra­di­tional Ja­panese pa­per light­ing, frame a small Madonna ta­pes­try. ABOVE: Kim was thrilled to dis­cover a French wed­ding dome at a Paris flea mar­ket. “It trav­eled home with me on the plane, rest­ing in my lap,” she says. LEFT: Yoko, a short-haired Per­sian ap­pre­ci­ates Kim’s taste in Per­sian car­pets. RIGHT: A French red toile pil­low co­zies up to its flocked, em­broi­dered and tas­seled kin.

ABOVE LEFT: Artist Kellie Mck­in­non’s scis­sored, lay­ered and wrapped cor­ru­gated-pa­per sculp­ture was com­mis­sioned by Kim’s mother as a gift for “a sig­nif­i­cant birthday.”

LEFT: Sparkling gold leaves and faux berry sprigs in­ter­twine on an iron chan­de­lier hung from one of the home’s orig­i­nal Vic­to­rian plas­ter ceil­ing medal­lions. ABOVE: What be­gan with a few pic­tures has blos­somed into a full-fledged stair­case gallery of van­i­tas, still lifes fea­tur­ing ob­jects sym­bolic of mor­tal­ity, and other re­li­gious-themed art. OP­PO­SITE: A 19th-cen­tury French mir­ror and a pic­to­rial linen ta­pes­try of un­known ori­gin form the back­drop for a large Madonna, em­bel­lished by Kim, and San­tos fig­urines pur­chased at Polanco, a Hayes Val­ley gallery of Mex­i­can art.

COL­LECT GOLD FRAMES be­cause you never know when you will need one to frame a post­card or a page from a mag­a­zine.”

OP­PO­SITE: Kim’s kitchen is an ode to mid­cen­tury-modern de­sign and bright early Cal­i­for­nia pot­tery. Stone coun­ters host a col­lec­tion of glove molds. A Ger­man ed­u­ca­tional wall chart from the 1960s is based on by­gone botan­i­cal il­lus­tra­tions. The floor looks as if it might have been orig­i­nal to the house, but the tiny hexag­o­nal tiles were ac­tu­ally in­stalled in the 1980s. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Shelves of Bauer and Fi­estaware bowls are mainly for show. Kim stores small items in­side, in­clud­ing chip clips and rub­ber bands. A Formica ta­ble in the break­fast nook con­tin­ues the kitchen’s ’50s theme. Rub­ber gloves in vivid col­ors keep pace with the room’s cheer­ful hues. A glow­ing Belfast Sparkling Water ad­ver­tis­ing clock is a throw­back to the days when the house was filled with neon decor. The cab­i­nets were all in situ when Kim and Michael bought the house. They added wired glass door in­serts to the ones flank­ing the stove.


Kim de­scribes the sec­ond-floor mas­ter bath as her most re­strained room. A study in black and white, it ap­pears to be dou­ble its ac­tual size thanks to a tall mir­ror. LEFT: Open shelves hold bot­tles ar­ranged to evoke the Paris beauty sa­lon de­signed in the 1930s by the French au­thor Co­lette. A photo of Co­lette stand­ing in front of her short-lived beauty shop is on the shelf that is sec­ond from the top. RIGHT: “My dress­ing ta­ble is an­other ex­am­ple of choos­ing the pretty over the prac­ti­cal,” Kim ex­plains. “At least, its two small draw­ers man­age to hold most of my beauty aids.”

OP­PO­SITE: Ex­posed rafters, sky­lights and a pale blue floor be­stow the bed­room with a lighter feel than the rest of the house. A lad­der, left be­hind by a work­man, is use­ful for reach­ing books on high shelves. ABOVE: A paint­ing of a be­atific saint par­tially cov­ers a wall niche that once held pink neon rods. LEFT: One of a pair, this fire­side chair was crafted in India. RIGHT: “A door-less closet isn’t very prac­ti­cal un­less you are fond of con­tin­ual tidy­ing,” Kim notes. “An­other dis­ad­van­tage is that the backs of all of my shoes on the open shelves have faded from the in­tense sun­light that streams into the room.”

An ETHEREAL COLOR PAL­ETTE and re­li­gious images cre­ate a bed­room that re­sem­bles a PRI­VATE SANC­TU­ARY.

For a heavenly night’s sleep, you can’t do bet­ter than us­ing a panel from a French choir stall as a head­board. Bed­side domes shel­ter tiny lambs orig­i­nally cre­ated to be part of Na­tiv­ity sets. Kim has col­lected dozens of lambs, and they line the room’s wide win­dowsills.

“Spring Ahead, Fall Be­hind,” a paint­ing by Michael Bren­nan based on a Thomas Eakins mo­tion study, hangs over a tex­tile­draped bench in the Vic­to­rian home’s front room. Kim Devine trans­formed com­mer­cial-size olive and cherry jars from a lo­cal bar into reli­quar­ies for some of her fa­vorite me­men­tos.

Cre­ate one-of-a-kind dis­play jars us­ing found ob­jects and a hot glue gun.

Large, heavy pieces used as head boards or placed be­hind seat­ing should al­ways be bolted to the wall to pre­vent ac­ci­den­tal in­jury.

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