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.
"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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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."
General Contractor: E F McGuinness and Sons
Landscape Designer: Jay Thayer
Structural Engineer: Townsend Brown
Cabinetry Design / Installations: Ukiah Custom Cabinets
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