Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Couple Who Are Doing Up a 11,041 sq ft (!) Victorian in Oakland

My latest article for the San Francisco Chronicle is about a couple, Josh and Steve, who are doing up a 11,041 sq ft (!) Victorian in Oakland. For most people this would spell D-I-V-O-R-C-E, but for this couple it's been a labour of love. You can read the full article here.

All photos by Aubrie Pick.

Josh and Steve with  their dogs Kobe and Bacon
The men do a lot of the work themselves and as far as I can tell work on it into the evenings and all weekend. The house is really amazing in the flesh: it has six parlours alone.




This tremendous Staghorn Fern is 100 years old. It was given to them by their neighbours, who when they moved into the neighborhood in the 1960's, had stones thrown through their windows because they were gay.





Josh has done all the styling and finding furniture himself and the result is both elegant and cost-conscious. In the dining room he has used cheap painters' cloth for the curtains which he sewed himself.




What's fascinating about this home is that as soon as they bought it, they were contacted by a location agent about renting it out for photoshoots. In the last two years many home decor companies including Pottery Barn and Serena and Lily have rented it out for the day or week to shoot their products. Look at what Serena and Lily came up with in the parlour next to this one - I love this green floor-to-ceiling stripe.



Serena and Lily


This is what it looks like from the outside. Steve calls it "two shades of liver." They intend to paint it all white when they get the money.



This is what the inside used to look like. Some of the rooms were painted up to seven different colours.


They built a chookhouse for their 26 chickens. It's a cross between Martha Stewart's and Abraham Lincoln, apparently (Built by Matthew Hooven of Alhorn/Hooven.)



The spare room.


Steve says visitors either love or hate their kitchen, which remains very rustic and has only one drawer which is possessed.




Would you ever take on this project? Not me, I'm too lazy. Hats off to these guys.


31 comments:

  1. It's freaking fantastic!!!! And no, we are not renovators. Too stressful. LUFF THIS HOUSE. The garden looks amazing x

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    1. I did it once (not on this scale though!) but we moved out for a year. It was stressful finding the rental house and living there (the landlord was difficult) but not doing the re-model.
      Not sure I would take it on anytime soon though, the maintenance on our house is bad enough

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  2. Replies
    1. Isn't it Lake? Thanks for popping by and commenting

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  3. I think I would want to take on this project but would lack courage! It's amazing. I'll be pinning some of these pictures if you don't mind, I just love it. They have a great style, handsome and simple yet not minimal, it all looks like the perfect amount of layering and their colour choices are excellent. Interesting to see what the photo shoot people did, and they sound too funny "two shades of liver".
    Thanks for sharing this Jody. xo

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    1. I can see you doing this when the last of your brood are gone.
      The photoshoot people sometimes pain the walls, but restore it right back.
      Yes the two guys are hilarious

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    2. Also there wasn't space in the article about the whole thing about renting it out for photoshoots ...that was a whole fascinating thing in itself.
      Great way to fund some of the re-modelling as you can charge up to $2,500 a day.
      One of their agents Mr Baldwin, said their house was great as home decor companies could pretty much do what they want, paint it, whatever, lots of big rooms with high ceilings and light. Also could fit the whole crew (sometimes up to 12 people with stylists etc) and they could park their cars and trucks onsite.
      Oakland has generous laws surrounding locations as like the rest of the Bay Area, they want to attract more movies and adverts etc.

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    3. If you do tv commercials or movies the daily rate increases and could be $10,000 or more a day, not counting overtime at time and a half or even double time

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  4. Oh wow. That is my dream house style, right down to the peacocks (peahens?) But sooo big. Having come from a fairly massive place, I always think "nice, but what must their hydro bill be…" Still, it's a lovely dream.

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    Replies
    1. Yes they must be peahens as they don't have the colours

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    2. I can confirm they are rare albino peacocks :)

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  5. OMG!
    Get me into this HOUSE!I have seen that AD for LILY with the running girl.....
    Love everything THEY have done..........BRAVO GUYS BRAVO!!!!

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  6. STUNNING and so ME! I want to move in!!!

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    Replies
    1. Tons of room...they'll never notice you sllip in

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  7. I know this house from those ads but didn't realize it was all the same house! How clever and what sheer hard work. I have fatigue from my renos and as much as i thought i cared about decor now - i just don't care in reality but only in theory. but 10000sq ft? size of whiteleys!!

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    1. Now Im really missing Whiteley's esp the Indian from M&S

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  8. Wow, that's a big house for two guys! I'd never take on a massive task like that, so hats off to them for such making a stunning job of it! :)

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    1. I liked how they didn't cram it full of stuff, there are just one or two well placed pices

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  9. Gorgeous home! Massive too. I love their style and all the subtle colors they used. Do you know what the pretty white is they used on all the walls? Looks off white and soft. x Kim

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    1. Hi Kim, I will ask them. I know the grey in the Eqyptian room above was a mix of two paints, but I think the white was just one.

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    2. We use "Linen White" by Benjamin Moore :)

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  10. Wow, what a house and how stunning is the decor. These guys have incredibly good taste and style!! Helen xx

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  11. What a fabulous house! Love what they are doing with it and how they're approaching the whole, overwhelming project (I would be hyperventilating making decisions on that scale!).
    And loved your article - your voice shines through.

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    1. Thanks Jane.
      I can't wait to see what they do to the kitchen, they're hoping for a pizza oven that opens to the outside (apparently this is really desirable for the location biz, but also something they would love as well). There is a very old pantry that is not shown which is so intricate and cool with all sorts of tiling

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  12. Your article was superb - I sensed you appreciated their style and humour.
    What an undertaking for Josh and Steve but love what they have achieved.

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  13. Fascinating and mostly gorgeous but I have gone off animal heads on walls these days and the liver colour is what I call - to my sons' chagrin - penis pink.

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  14. It is an amazing undertaking; the beautiful changes they have done to the house. It's unfortunate that this beauty is marred by the owners who snobbishly look down their noses at the rest of the Oakland community that can't afford such lavish renovations. Community is about people, not property. They seem to have more of a vested interest in equity than equality. Poor folks need homes too. #keepOaklanddiverse
    -Peasants_of_Brooklyn

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  15. Just a follow up- the house is on the market for sale if anyone happens to be looking- https://www.redfin.com/CA/Oakland/1218-E-21st-St-94606/home/533933?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=instant_listings_update&utm_source=myredfin

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