Moving cross-country from New York to San Francisco, our designer Annouchka Engel took a tired 1876 Victorian townhouse in the Pacific Heights neighborhood and restored it into a gorgeous family home.
Photos by Julia Robbs.
Good interior design not only serves the role of creating stylistic beauty, it also tells a story of the people who daily occupy the space. When our designer Annouchka Engel moved across the country to San Francisco with her husband David, the couple landed on a 1876 classic Victorian townhouse. So visualize perfect San Francisco, one of those beautiful row houses lining the sloping streets. But unfortunately, the interior of the house did not reflect that beautiful history. In fact, Annouchka described it as a “glorified frat house.” It didn’t even have heating, and most of the lighting was creepy fluorescent tube fixtures. Not exactly the vibe for a growing family.
In the style of a traditional Victorian, the layout was long and narrow with tiny boxed-in rooms. Annouchka was determined to revitalize the space by opening up the floor plan and refreshing the unique architectural elements, some of which had been demolished. Once the foundational elements (not to mention the Parisian herringbone flooring) were completed, Annouchka began to impart her particular brand of European design sensibility into the space. She is, after all, French and Swiss.
Almost a year and a half since moving in, the couple are truly feeling at home. They’ve modernized the townhouse without making it feel like a cold white box. There’s still soul in the space. Soft hues give a slight hush over the home… beiges, grays, blush pink, and sea-foam green. At the ground floor, this makes for serene welcome, whether at the farmhouse-style communal table or in the reinstated parlor. On the stairwell, a cascade of peony petals leads you to the bedrooms. Other additions: Chloé, their newborn, and their dog Marlowe have since joined the couple. The change from frat glam to sophisticated family home is complete.
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