At Home: Haight Victorian a stately work in progress 

Becka Robbins’ Upper Haight home is a creative fixer-upper’s dream: the house has perfect “bones” and beautiful fixtures, and Robbins has plenty of great ideas.

Robbins, a learning specialist, shares the pre-quake, classic Victorian with her roommate and her two dogs, Zero (pictured) and Sparky. Life is full of energy and art in this house, and the decor reflects that.

A perfect example is the threshold to the bathroom, which Robbins designed and built with her contractor. This feature may be unique in the literal sense of the word: The threshold is LED lights under mosaic glass, giving the impression that one is stepping over stars. Robbins is proud of that, and excited about more possibilities. But she’s realistic about the amount of work an old house takes.

“There’s always something to work on in a Victorian,” she says.

The next project is painting the outside a vibrant turquoise blue, and after that? Robbins has a dream of “a disco kitchen,” she says. The first step is already in place: a disco ball hanging from the light fixture. She wants to run electricity from a wall switch to the ball that will start it glowing and spinning — and have disco music cued up on a CD player or iPod.

It wouldn’t be out of place in this quirky home, where a collection of vintage cameras sits on the mantel of a working fireplace tiled in exquisite burgundy and gold, and where breathtaking chandeliers illuminate a very realistic human skull that rests on a vintage red Singer sewing table. The skull came from a medical school, and the sewing table — which has a working sewing machine inside — came from Robbins’ great-grandmother, who bought it “right off the boat from Russia.”

The mixture of classic San Francisco architecture plus a slightly offbeat design sensibility means Robbins’ house can never get boring, and — as she happily attests — will always be evolving.


STYLE KEYS

Likes to decorate with: Quirky, old objects
Favorite place to shop: Craigslist, Goodwill, Freecycle
Looking forward to: Working on the outside facade
Cherished feature: Bedroom alcove

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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