This Colorful House in San Francisco May Be Boxy, but It’s Anything but Square

This Colorful House in San Francisco May Be Boxy, but It’s Anything but Square

By Sallie Lewis
Interior designer Regan Baker used bold wallpaper and clever storage to liven up her Forest Knolls home.

There is nothing square about interior designer Regan Baker’s newly-renovated home. That is, other than its shape. Baker renovated the 1,800 square feet midcentury home in San Francisco’s Forest Knolls neighborhood and made it an oasis for her family, including her husband, Jace, and their 11-year-old twins, Everett and Amelia. 

Baker modernized the living room's pre-existing fireplace by encasing it in sheetrock and bringing it forward for a modern, minimal feel. The stationary louvers outside the upstairs window add texture to the exterior and shadow play to the interior when the sun hits them just right.

"I love challenges," she says. "I wanted to take this box-like, cookie-cutter home and make it amazing and show people what you can do with a square." 

 Built in 1961, the Bakers bought the house in 2016, and renovated it from 2018 to 2019. Despite its boxy shape and questionable peach-colored exterior, the interior designer recognized its good bones. Furthermore, she and her husband were drawn to the property’s forested surroundings, thanks to UCSF’s Parnassus campus, located right across the street. 

The linear quality of the living room's wood slat divider echoes the cedar planks on the home's facade, and contrasts with the curves of the couple's Estudio Persona side chair.

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Baker drew unexpected colors from this abstract landscape painting by Matthew Frederick, which hung in the home prior to their remodel. Shades of hunter green and pale lavender harmonize with the range of neutral tones, including the walnut wood from the floating cabinetry.

Baker reinterpreted the floorplan to reflect the personality of her family, maximizing space and opening the interiors by raising the ceilings, lifting the door frames, and converting one of the parking spots in their 2-car garage into livable space. She also reworked the façade, adding cedar plank louvers, and moving the original entrance from the front door located at the top of a staircase leading up the side of the home to the first floor.

The sleek stairwell features a restrained color palette. A range of textures comes into play with the milk glass pendant light by Formagenda and the wall of powder-coated steel mesh. 

Between the twins’ active schedules, and both Jace and Regan’s busy professional lives (she is the founder of her eponymous design firm, Regan Baker Design, and Jace is employed at Google) having an open floor-plan that allowed for easy coming and going was crucial. Custom millwork and strategic storage solutions added another layer of spacial efficiency. "Everything has a place – I am a huge proponent of organization," she says. 

The entry boasts built-in cabinetry and four wall hooks by Lostine—one for each family member to hang everything from jackets to backpacks.


The kitchen tiles are by Heath Ceramics with barstools by March SF and pendant lights by Allied Maker.

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In the kitchen, a full wall of custom cabinetry not only conceals a full-sized fridge, but also a large appliance garage with a coffee station, microwave, and a cubby for storing cooking pans and bakeware.

The kitchen is a central gathering place for the Baker family. The custom cabinetry was painted white to make it feel like a part of the wall.

Upstairs, in the twins’ bedrooms, both Everett and Amelia have their own built-in desks, a design element that has been heavily utilized during the pandemic. Each of the rooms is reflective of their distinct personality, be it a love of horses or Star Wars.

Amelia's room  features a hidden horse motif wallpaper by Cavern Home with bold equestrian art and a pouf by Clic.

Amelia's desk is home to collected treasures and mementos and flanked by a mint-green chair by Industry West.

A milky way mural by Warp Collection reflects Everett's love of Star Wars. The Sutro Tower coat rack is an homage to the iconic landmark, which is visible just outside the window.

Everett's desk features sports trophies, a colorful globe, and a chair by Urban Outfitters.

While every space was considered with functionality in mind, Baker’s playful, colorful, and lighthearted style permeates the 3-bedroom home—this is easily seen in her abundant use of artisanal wallpapers, tiles, and layered textures. Many rooms have a colorful accent piece, like the emerald green sofa in the living room or the unexpected Veg Tan tile in the master bathroom. "I get ready in that bathroom every morning and it puts a smile on my face," she says.

A geometric, peach-colored tile in the master bathroom adds a joyful jolt to the home. The walnut cabinetry is an ode to the home's mid-century roots.

The colorful Porter Teleo wallpaper and custom shower curtain in the kids' bathroom is offset by a funky white and charcoal tiled floor.

In the master bedroom, a custom channel-tufted headboard is offset by floating nightstands and a painterly wallpaper by Porter Teleo.

The effect is a relaxed California vibe that is both contemporary and comfortable, stylish and effortless, and most importantly, personal. Thankfully, the renovation was completed mere months before the pandemic, and Baker and her family have a renewed appreciation for their home’s natural surroundings. A bi-folding door leading to the backyard brings the outdoors in, creating the sense of a lush, private sanctuary. "We’re literally surrounded by trees, so it’s pretty Zen-like," she says. "It’s been very calming and peaceful."

Related Reading: A Massive "Megacabinet" Hides a Secret Room in This San Francisco Home 

Project Credits:

Consulting Architect: Medium Plenty / @mediumplenty

General Contractor: E F McGuinness and Sons 

Landscape Designer: Jay Thayer  

Structural Engineer: Townsend Brown 

Interior Design: Regan Baker Design@reganbakerdesign 

Cabinetry Design / Installations:  Ukiah Custom Cabinets

Photographer: Suzanna Scott Photography / @suzannascottphoto


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