When Miriam Schneider first stepped into her future home, she was instantly charmed. With natural light beaming in, the old Victorian was a quintessential San Francisco space. Miriam, or Mir as she’s known to her friends, found herself enamored with the history (“Hello, original crown molding!”), the backyard, and the instant feeling of comfort. Of course, she admits much of this was the potential she saw underneath the dated and confusing architecture.
Many would find an instant renovation challenging or intimidating, but Miriam had no trouble getting right to work. She removed the pea green fireplace, gutted the bathroom, updated the kitchen, and downsized the number of doors in the bedroom (from an inexplicable seven to four). As anyone who has completed a reno knows, patience can be the biggest hiccup. Miriam observes “I was just so eager to move in and start making it home, that I had a pretty tough time waiting for things…whether it was for construction to be done or for the spray paint on something to dry before moving it.”
With the mention of spray paint, it’s important to note that not all of the changes were too intrusive. Miriam admits that finding the perfect gray paint was the biggest obstacle. “I realize I sound like a crazy person,” she explains, “but it was a real struggle! I knew I wanted white ceilings and trim to make the original moldings—one of my favorite things about the space—really pop. I went through a few dozen shades of gray until I finally discovered Nimbus. Thank you Benjamin Moore!” And in the bedroom? A moody blue hue steals the show. She wanted to create a calming retreat, and the contrast of the trim eliminated the need for added artwork or clutter.
Lastly, Miriam was faced with the daunting task of landscaping the outdoor space. “I was so drawn to it the first time I saw it at the open house, mostly because there was just so much potential! It was literally a concrete lot with pockets of grassy weeds [surrounding a weird hot tub] when I moved in, so I have definitely invested a lot trying to create that space. There’s still quite a ways to go, but luckily I found a landscaper I really trust. He’s been great at helping me approach design in a whole new way since I’d never really worked with outdoor spaces before.” The result? The perfect setting for a party! A gorgeous outdoor dining table sits atop exposed brick and two classic lounge chairs accompany a fire pit—perfect for keeping warm once the fog rolls in. The ideal finishing touch, of course, is Miriam’s hand-lettered place cards to welcome guests.
It’s true, the space is a reflection of the artist within. In addition to creating her dream home, Miriam has an impressive 8 year career at Google. However, while she loves the the fast-paced tech industry, she found herself constantly craving a creative outlet. “I’ve always been a big fan of good penmanship, well really just anything crafty basically, and have a pretty unnatural fondness for cards and stationery.” Being the go-getter that she is, she took a few classes and began to teach herself through trial and error. Before long, Snail Mail Shop was born! “As all my friends—and their friends—started getting married, having babies, all that good big life stuff… they started asking me to help them with their invitations. I’d say it’s still more of a hobby than a full-on business at this point, but it’s something I love doing. [I love] getting to be a small part of the special moments for the special people in my life.”
As we look at her growing portfolio, it’s easy to see her aesthetic represented in all areas of her life. Cohesive styles are reflected in her stationery and her home. You’ll find a touch of elegant whimsy, bohemian patterns coexisting with clean neutrals, and an overwhelming feeling of comfort. In regards to the home, she explains “I wanted it to be a place where someone could walk in for the first time, kick back on the couch, look around and go “Oh yeah, Mir definitely lives here.’ ”
Of course, she admits the best is yet to come. “I’m so looking forward to SF’s Indian Summer, which means more grilling and wine drinking in the backyard. With some music and the fire-pit going, it’s a little bit of magic out there.”