It may not be the typical start of a relationship, but Seth Spalding knew his partner Barbara Gnos was special by her reaction to a painting in his old Mission apartment. The image, a rendering of a naked woman that Spalding’s mother had found at a nearby garage sale, was one of Spalding’s favorite pieces, but had already provoked negative reactions from visitors.
“She really saw the artistic elements in it,” Spalding says. “It was kind of a litmus test.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Spalding, an investor specializing in tech companies, and Gnos, the head of marketing for Repairpal.com, now live with their 1-year-old son, Luke, in a two-level Noe Valley flat that has the bones of a Victorian and the high, airy ceilings of a loft. The space opens out onto a sweeping deck overlooking much of The City, from Bernal Heights all the way to the Financial District and the Bay.
Although they kept much of the color scheme the previous tenant had painted, the details of the home are all theirs: Spalding and Gnos have seamlessly combined their two aesthetics for a style they call “modern organic” (Spalding’s the “organic” one; Gnos is more “modern,” according to the couple). “We have a bit of an eclectic side as well,” Gnos notes.
Work by local artists such as Carol Aust, Jessica Dunne and Richard Perri, culled by the couple at SFMOMA Artists’ Gallery and the Hunters Point Artists’ Colony, adorns the walls, as do pictures drawn by another up-and-coming new artist, Spalding’s 6-year-old daughter, Eve. The furniture is decidedly modern, with a focus on whimsical, striking white lighting pieces from the likes of LIMN and online store HiveModern. Accents, including lime green Knoll chairs in the kitchen, orange pillows on a white leather couch, add splashes of color.
Given the size and scope of the deck, there’s also a balance of the indoors and outdoors and a focus on bringing the outdoors in. Spalding, an avid cook, grows various fresh herbs on the deck, and snips flowers from his plants to display inside in clear spherical vases mounted on the wall.
The painting from Spalding’s old apartment still hangs front and center in the dining area, showcasing both their combined aesthetic, and the life they’ve built there. “Because we have a family, we really try to combine design with function,” Gnos says.