At Home: Publisher's Victorian home lets the light in

Thomas Reynolds and Barbara Kate Repa found their “exuberant” Scott Street Victorian in 1998 when he got a tip from the corner grocer that a builder had run out of money while renovating the house.

“We had wanted to buy a place, but who can afford to buy in The City — especially in this neighborhood?” recalls Reynolds, publisher of the neighborhood newspaper, “The New Fillmore,” and operator of a Pine Street gallery.

So the couple — she’s an attorney and journalist — took over the unfinished house, which sits just south of California Street.

Their recently completed renovation includes opening up the spacious third-floor “attic” — adding skylights and windows, introducing an open, airy feeling to the vaulted, cathedral-ceiling room. Running the length of the house, it opens onto a rooftop garden at one end, with windows looking onto Scott Street at the other end. Japanese shoji screens add a serene, Asian feel.

“We wanted a feeling of openness and Zen-like simplicity, with lots of light and air,” Reynolds says. “But also a sense of warmth and earthiness — a sense of being grounded.”

The spires of nearby St. Dominic’s Church are a focal point of the rooftop garden, Reynolds’ favorite part of the house.

Much of the artwork depicts local scenes, like a painting of Alta Plaza Park above the fireplace. The emphasis on local craftwork is echoed by a collection of copper lamps, pots and vases by Dirk van Erp, preeminent coppersmith of the arts and crafts movement.

Repa’s fondness of fabric and texture — she has a collection of sock monkeys and yarn — is reflected in the ultra-feminine velvet chair shaped like a high-heeled shoe adorning the bathroom.

Her influence is also evident in the dining room, with its dark purple-hued walls, topped by a vivid purple and white hand-painted glass ceiling lamp.

“She loves purple,” Reynolds says. “We wanted this room to be jewel-like for dinners — and the dark, rich color is wonderful by candlelight.”

 

Style keys

Design aesthetic: Art and craft of Northern California, incorporating local scenes and history from the Fillmore neighborhood. “Focusing on local artists and craftspeople helped create a sense of place. The arts and crafts movement in this country started here in our neighborhood at the Swedenborgian Church.”

Inspirations: Architects Charles and Henry Greene, Frank Lloyd Wright. “Greene and Greene married the simplicity of the arts and crafts style with an Asian aesthetic.” Repa’s grandfather was a woodworker for Wright in Wisconsin.

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