Perhaps anyone who’s lived in a post-college house part of a certain era knows this story: Roommates (and their pets and significant others) come and go—often they’re Craigslist strangers or friends of friends—and their mail will go to the address for eternity. And most of all, no individual roommate is too concerned with the design decisions of what will surely be a transient living situation.
For San Francisco-based designer and architect Anand Sheth, a split-level Mission District apartment set on the upper floors of a classic Victorian home was his version of the post-college home story, and it turned out to be a pretty classic one. (and actually SF one) at that.
“We had crazy parquet floor tiles popping up everywhere,” he says of the space when he arrived in 2011 (after his friend responded to, yes, a Craigslist ad). “We had the original lath and plaster wall construction. We have peeling paint everywhere. Every room is lit with hardware store lighting.” Anand and his friend lived with a life coach and a yoga-tech entrepreneur – ages ranging from 22 to 40 – and all went about their own lives at their own pace.
And it is precisely at this point in my conversation with Anand, dear reader, that I realize that I, someone who also lived in a post-college share house in the Mission when I was 22, was in fact at a party at Anand’s . home where the life coach read my tarot cards while I held his pet boa constrictor. It is most likely that Anand and I met that night in the early 2010s, but what should be noted is that the version of the house you see today is nothing like the house I visited back then. It is entirely due to Anand’s vision to see the potential of the house—that it had to be something more.
In 2013, the older guys moved out (and took the snakes with them) while Anand, who specializes in commercial, hospitality and residential interiors (and recently started his own firm), invited friends to move in. Using the fact that he is a professional architect, he entered into an agreement with the landlord that allowed him to undertake some serious renovation projects and act as a project manager for the construction. In other words, he brought his work home.