Golden Gate Heights is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in San Francisco, and for good reason. With panoramic views of Golden Gate Park and the landmark bridge, not to mention a fairly central location in the heart of the city, it’s a great place for families. Here, Angela Scaletta of Angela Grace Design tackled a full-gut renovation for her clients, a young growing family. Read on to find out how she took it from dark and closed off to airy and elegant…and kept family-friendly design at the forefront every step of the way. 

First, we’d love to know about your clients! What were their hopes for their new home?

The clients are a young family with a toddler and baby on the way- it was incredibly important to have durable materials for their little ones without sacrificing the design. For example, we all really wanted marble countertops, but they were nervous about the maintenance. We opted to treat the marble with an anti-etch formula to ease their worry around staining and etching. Another example is we used wool rugs (which are easier to maintain than synthetic materials) as well as performance/outdoor-grade fabrics for their upholstery. 

These clients already lived in the city and wanted to maintain that lifestyle and the proximity for their downtown jobs. They moved from a small condo to this single-family home so that they could keep that lifestyle but have more room to grow their family. 

The home had to be taken down to the studs. How did you change the layout to better suit their needs?

The biggest change we made was opening up the kitchen and dining room; with little ones this was bound to be the heart of the home and making that small change totally transformed how they could use the space and take care of their children. We also modified the bathrooms a bit to add a tub in the kids’ bath and a large shower in the primary suite.

Finally, how did you use a “high/low” approach in the furnishings? Can you share where you think folks should splurge, and save?

I suggest investing in the pieces that are part of the foundation of the home—quality cabinetry, tile, lighting, and plumbing fixtures will be long-lasting and anything custom truly lets the client optimize for how they are going to live in the space. Performance-grade fabrics can be costly but in a home with small children, provide a piece of mind which is priceless. My clients also were very open to investing in pieces that they fell in love with, like original artwork and some dinnerware. For just about all of the other furniture and decor, we actually saved quite a bit since some retailers (like CB2) had a style that resonated with the clients. Generally, I tend to suggest investing less in accent furniture since there are so many stylish options out there for less, and quality is less key on items that are used infrequently. While we opted for durable materials like wool rugs, I kept the rug budget down because with kids, it’s better to know that if they spill their juice, that it’s not on a $15k vintage rug but rather a $2k retail rug that could live a good life and be replaced when the kids are older.