I Could Live Here: Erin’s Urban Takeover

For weeks you’ve gotten a view into the domestic fantasies of Editor in Chief Sarah Lynch through her “I Could Live Here” posts—properties with lots of trees, a turret room or two and plenty of places for private sunbathing. Well, as Sarah is on vacation this week, I thought I might throw one of my own dream houses into the mix.

But before we cruise off into fantasyland, let’s start with a little reality check that might lend some insight into our divergent choices. Sarah lives in bucolic Mill Valley. She has a yard, her own garage and a back deck complete with a grill and a very comfy lounger. I live in San Francisco’s Civic Center in a hundred-year-old masonry building that has been gutted and filled with teensy little loft condominiums. Mine is one of the largest in the building and clocks in at 507 square feet. It’s got tall ceilings, open steel shelving and I lock my bikes up to exposed pipes in the basement. Situated directly above the BART and Muni, as well as a twice-a-week farmers market, I couldn’t be more central and I absolutely love it.

So no matter the size of the soaking tub, a country estate isn’t what I’m after at the moment, nor is a four-story single-family in Pacific Heights, new top-of-the-line kitchen be damned. So when I spotted this 2,900-square-foot loft the Cape Horn Warehouse (built 1892) in South Beach, it was the kind of place I could immediately see myself in. My life—only better. Three elements won me over right away: The spacious private deck with views of the city; the reclaimed gymnasium wood floors; and the almost obnoxiously long built-in dining room table in the kitchen. Oh, what diner parties I would throw (but would it be an awkward Alfred/Bruce Wayne moment if it was just me and my husband eating there?).

I adore the spacious double office, the luxurious bathrooms and all the exposed pipes and beams, but what also attracts me is that I don’t love EVERYTHING about the place. Not only would I have a pimp new pad, but I would have projects to keep me busy for a while. For example, seeing that it’s not 1992, the Shoji screens would have to go and the condo-white walls would benefit from some whimsical wallpaper. The uninspired staging (taupe couches and Barcelona chairs) is only fuel for my creative fire, and I’m already picturing the reupholstered vintage furniture, graphic art and reclaimed wood pieces that would warm the place up. 

Maybe it’s a good sign that Sarah and I dream in visions that don’t veer too radically far from the lives we are actually living—that while it’s doubtful our fantasies will come to fruition any time soon, we are at least living in a way that fits our personal styles and makes us happy ... but a little dreaming never hurt anybody.

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