Inside Out: Dancing Through Life One Room at a Time

Inside Out: Dancing Through Life One Room at a Time

Jill Slater
Jun 7, 2006

Name: Katy, Yannis, Rob, Brett, Laurel
Location: San Francisco
Size: 2000 sqft
Favorite Element: "The living room with the sun pouring in at 4 in the afternoon--a perfect place for a nap." (Katy's)

Twenty years ago, Phaedra, a ballet dancer with the Oakland and Sacramento Ballet companies, inherited a rent-stabilized apartment from her father. Phaedra just moved out, but for the past two decades, this home has thrived as a communal household and a refuge for dancers in or passing through the Bay Area.

Located in the Mission District, the flat has seen close to a hundred wonderfully talented dancers enter its rooms, some staying for years, others for a few days.

Do you have an idea for a house tour? Let me know!

For the Inside Out, we usually deal with one or at most two people involved/competing for the design decision-making process. Here, we have 5 artistic soulsKaty the filmmaker, Screen 360 festival director and former dancer, Yannis the choreographer and director of a Kunst-Stoff dance company, Brett, a ballet dancer and son of two interior designers, Laurel, also a ballet dancer, and Rob the director of ODC theater and professional clarinetist—and almost 2000 square feet of combined space.

The challenge of course, is achieving a unifying style amidst all these different voices.

They try to be democratic. Each time someone wants to initiate a major interior intervention, everyone is asked for his or her buy-in. Sometimes it works out just as planned, and other times—as in the case of the yellow paint in the hallway--there are minor communication infractions. Paint colors are chosen to match natural elements such as the color of the bathwater as it fills the home's clawfoot tub.

Like many such flats in San Francisco, a loooong hallway cuts through the entire length, with small rooms off to each side. As a result, the unveiling is more of a seek-and-you-shall find exercise as opposed to the slap-you-in-the-face-as-soon-as-you-walk-in-the-door quality of the loft-style apartments so popular today. There are bedrooms, guest rooms, a library/office, a living room/dining room, and a soon to be exercise room. The cumulative impact is one full of surprises, self-expression, and serenity.

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