San Francisco Design Center's Historic Preservation on Pause

San Francisco Design Center

San Francisco Design Center

About a month ago I had discovered that the San Francisco Design Center was in a land development pickle. Now I am pleased to see that district supervisor Malia Cohen has stood her ground! 

She also agrees that the design district buildings deserve landmark designation but not at the cost of its current tenants. 

While I love Pintrest, this issue has nothing to do with them except that they were the big name tech company in the running for this space. These couple of blocks of street was named after Henry Adams for a reason, and that history for the design center is key for all in the remodeling industry and homeowners too. 

This follow-up story by SF Gate is clearly stating everything. Check it out. Oh and if you are in her voting district, I hear she is up for re-election, please consider supporting her in the polls for doing there right thing for her community and yours!

San Francisco Design Center's and Historic Preservation

I have only recently become aware of the San Francisco Design Center being considered for historic preservation. My first thought? Excellent! These buildings need to be preserved, lets not lose them! But upon being more informed I am deeply saddened at the loop-holes that will tear apart this great institution. This article by the San Francisco Chronicle gives a balanced report, but ultimately it does mean the demise of something only large cities provide.

San Francisco Design Center

San Francisco Design Center

I'm not the most political person, I agree with the historic preservation of these buildings on Henry Adam's at the Division Circle and I love Pintrest. I don't agree with misuse of the historic preservation trailing policies that are allowing the building owners to force the San Francisco Design District into chaos. There needs to be balance. While I value Pintrest as a tool for homeowners and designers a like, to displace those who are in the building industry will only make things more difficult for homeowners in the along-run. The beauty of having a design district is to simplify and reduce the time it takes to visit showrooms, thus increasing the likelihood of higher costs to homeowners. Digital images are not something to be trusted when making the ultimate purchase for your kitchen or bathroom projects. You need to see, feel and operate if possible the items that you will be investing in and installing into your home.

What we need is to incorporate the building industries' technology partners and mesh showrooms and offices together, not push out. We need showrooms and office spaces integrated so that designers, architects and contractors as well as technology tenants can cohabitate and collaborate to being the best built homes to the public. 

We are San Francisco, would the New York Design district put up with this? Neither should we.

Muppet Theory

Last week at All Soul's Episcopal Parish in Berkeley, I listened to a sermon referencing Muppet Theory, based on the article published by Slate, in relation with the workings of the Holy Spirit . I started wondering "what kind of Muppet am I". Do I bring chaos or order as I interact with people?

Okay, I admit it, I took the Zimbio quiz previously via Facebook and it thought I was Gonzo. Yes, that lovable blue creature with the hooked nose who is somehow in a relationship with Camila the chicken. In general I'd say he brings chaos to the Muppet stage. Out of curiosity I retook the quiz and I was now the very organized stage manager Scooter. Oddly enough, all of this actually makes sense. 



As a kitchen and bath designer I bring both chaos and order to the lives of homeowners and contractors on a daily basis. Remodeling one's home is inherently going to bring chaos by losing the use of one or more room and simply moving out so as not to live in a construction zone is stressful. 

Designing a fresh new space also brings chaos. Some things I am continually balancing in my mind include: Can I relocate plumbing? Can I relocate walls? How can I increase storage and function in a small space without changing the walls? What new and efficient technologies can I introduce and what will be the impact on the budget and installation? So how do I find balance and relieve the remodeling stress for both the homeowner and their contractor? Through listening, checklists, documentation and clear communication.



I was recently working with two different clients who happened to work with the same architect and both found that he didn't provide adequate assistance in moving their project along so that the general contractor could provide an accurate budget and start construction with-in their timeline. Each had decided that they would take his incomplete materials list and "go shopping" on their own and both were quickly overwhelmed.

One, happens to be a personal friend, and started telling me her story and how stressful it was with her frequent travel schedule and her husband's long work hours. We quickly pulled together a plan to accomplish selecting the items she would need so that she could provide all of the necessary details and pricing to her contractor before she hopped onto the next plane. My other client let her contractor know the circles she was moving in without the results she was hoping for. He referred her to me, as we have worked together on previous projects. 

Decision making is often more difficult than we imagine. As we worked together to narrow down the possible options, through a process of elimination of style, taste, cost and comparison, their shoulders relaxed, their disposition was more cheery and over all, they had a better experience than they had ever imagined. And the bonus was that their contractors had less "work" to do to prepare their final budget and construction schedules because we were able to provide them detailed information and ready to purchase quotes.

Order brings a sense of peace to the chaos that is remodeling. This is the balance that a professional designer can bring, and maybe a Muppett too.