House Tour: Brenden's & Shannon's Pint-Sized Pad

House Tour: Brenden's & Shannon's Pint-Sized Pad

Monika Gromek
Jul 28, 2009

Name: Brenden & Shannon
Occupation: Brenden is a graphic designer at a large architecture firm and Shannon is project manager at a small graphic design firm while also pursuing voice over acting on the side.
Location: Hayes Valley, San Francisco
Building Type: 1920's San Francisco style apartment building
Size: 478 sq. ft.
Years lived in: 4 years, owned


Remember this Hayes Valley gem from our 2009 Small Cool contest? Shannon bought this apartment in the height of the real estate boom a few years back after falling in love with the beautiful 1920s details of the building, the open floor plan of the apartment, and the lively neighborhood. With Brenden's help, this apartment became a joint project, a melding of two individual styles to create a warm and comfortable home. Like most couples...

...Brenden and Shannon went though the initial process of cohabitation: weeding through their possessions, discussions about decorating, researching paint colors, determining what goes where... What they learned was that it all comes down to compromise. By coming to an agreement about their tastes, Shannon and Brenden have created a wonderful home that reflects their own unique style--and in less than 500 sq ft.

Because Brenden and Shannon are both very creative individuals, trying to settle on a cohesive style proved to be a problem. But by taking time with the decorating process and doing a thorough job of researching, they managed to find a perfect place for every piece--ideal for keeping things organized and under control in such a small space.

How do you choose what art is displayed on the walls when there's only 478 sq ft to work with? Mixing Shannon's love of comics with Brenden's art gives their home a look that is entirely unique. Check out even more of their home by visiting the


At Survey:

Our Style: A refined mix of Mid Century Modern classic pieces with an eclectic array of unique art.

Inspiration: Our apartment is inspired by nostalgia, whether it be classic furniture pieces or vintage art. We have an appreciation for the timeless nature of many of the items in our home and the way they still feel very modern and current when mixed with newer pieces.

Favorite Elements: We love the architectural details that our apartment has to offer. The building was built in 1928 and has a lot of charm and character that's difficult to find in new construction.

What Friends Say: It's usually something along the lines of "where's your storage?" or "it actually doesn't feel that small."

Biggest Embarrassment: Our kitchen needs updating. The countertops and sink are in desperate need of a facelift and the cupboards lack organization.

Proudest DIY: The selection of paint colors to furniture was truly a team effort. When I (Brenden) moved in to Shannon's place, we wanted the apartment to compliment both of our styles and personalities. With new furniture being moved in, we had to figure out how to maximize the space, without it feeling cramped or awkward.

Biggest Indulgence: Even though we got a killer deal on the authentic Eames Lounge Chair, it still hurt our wallets.

Best Advice: Using giant sheets of paper cut to the sizes of our furniture, we were able to try out different layout options before we actually purchased some of our pieces. This quick exercise calmed our nerves that our new couch and chair would fit nicely in the space given.

Biggest Challenge: Co-habitating in 478 sqft definitely comes with its challenges. We feel like we're constantly going through our closets and getting rid of clothes or household items that we no longer use. Since our storage is so limited, we've learned to live a very simplified existence.

Dream Source: Brenden: The Alameda Flea Market at least one hour before the other customers arrive. Shannon: The Mile High Comics Collection



Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore Pelican Gray and Chelsea Gray

Furniture and Accessories: Andre sofa, Room and Board; Mimosa Coffee Table, MOMA store; MCM wood and leather chair, garage sale; Eames Lounge Chair, DWR; Picture Rails in Natural Steel, Room and Board; MCM desk, Alameda Flea Market; Jake Desk Chair, Room and Board; Gallery Book Case, Room and Board, Leather Storage Cube, Crate and Barrel; MCM Credenza, Craigslist find of the Century, Eames shell chairs and bikini wire chairs, eBay and Alameda Flea Market

Wallpaper: Wilderness (Black Lacquer) Wallpaper, Ferm Living
Lighting: Adjustable Metal Floor Lamp, West Elm, Jason Miller Antler Chandelier, Propeller Modern

Floors: Original hardwood floors

Art: Original 1967 James Bond Poster, Vintage European Posters; Original 1959 Professor Alba Poster, Vintage European Posters; Wayne Pate Flock print,; Original paintings by Tara Smith,; Framed kitchen posters, Sci-Fi move poster calendar, Original bathroom poster, designed by Brenden himself.

Window Treatments: Ikea curtains and hardware

Rugs: Thomas Paul Damask Rug, Design Public Sample Sale; Coir Carpet Tiles, Flor

Thanks, Brenden & Shannon!

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