With paddleboards and pingpong tables, Stephanie and Tyler Mitchell transformed an industrial South of Market loft into a playful pad.
You won’t find gregarious San Franciscans Stephanie and Tyler Mitchell taking off for Napa Valley or Mexico on a typical Friday afternoon.
“On weekends we stay home in our loft, entertaining friends, watching classic films, relaxing on the terrace, skateboarding and cooking,” says Stephanie, an accomplished cook.
The couple love the low-key vibe of their airy new apartment, which includes an open terrace. The 6,800-square-foot space, with a skylit mezzanine bedroom, has soaring 18-foot-high ceilings in the living room and screening room, and 320-degree panoramic city views, from the Bay Bridge and the ballpark west to Twin Peaks. They’re also just around the corner from Bar Agricole and close to the Rainbow Grocery, where they find their favorite organic vegetables.
“We both value our friends and family more than anything, so we bought the loft as a retreat, and for entertaining and spending time with people we love,” says Tyler, a co-owner of the Wilkes Bashford stores.
The Mitchells’ first sight of the loft, which is situated near the rather gritty border of the Inner Mission, was not glamorous. The raw industrial space had been neglected over the years, but they saw promise amid the seemingly endless expanse. “We spent a full year gutting it, cleaning it up and creating new mezzanine rooms, glass partitions, and corners with privacy and tranquillity,” says Stephanie, who took it upon herself to decorate the vast interiors. The neighborhood, meanwhile, had improved, and every month a new cafe or grocery was opening.
“We wanted each area of the loft to be dramatic, to have grand scale and to maintain the interior vistas,” says Tyler. “We kept the long sight lines and protected the loft feeling. Our style is French vintage industrial with a twist, and we’ve found art and antiques from Paris flea markets and at Maisonry, a gallery and wine-tasting salon in Yountville. It’s owned and curated by a great friend of ours, Michael Polenske, so we often visit.”
They are also close friends with Restoration Hardware chairman emeritus and creator Gary Friedman. “We love the RH style, and it’s always a bonus to support friends,” says Stephanie. “Gary is a visionary, and even though it’s a commercial brand, the pieces seem custom-made, handcrafted.”
A menswear trendsetter, buyer and retailer, Tyler has become a favorite style consultant to leaders in the tech world. The Mitchell family (Tyler, his father and extended family) acquired the infamous Wilkes Bashford stores in San Francisco and Palo Alto in November 2009.
The couple married two years ago and have immersed themselves in the cultural and philanthropic happenings of the Bay Area since arriving from Connecticut in 2009. Any night of the week, they (along with Wilkes Bashford himself) can be seen at a gala, the new jazz center, a tech gathering, a hot new restaurant or a black-tie charity fundraiser.
“The moment I moved here, and especially after I met Stephanie, I realized I would stay on here and buy a house, settle here,” recalls Tyler. “But first we had to find our home base.”
“We have close friends who are artists, so we attend a lot of gallery openings,” says Stephanie. “The galleries are always in cool, edgy neighborhoods; we get a nice cocktail, and we enjoy awesome art and meet new artists and mingle with vivid new people.”
They may invite a top sushi chef for a celebratory dinner or, for a special occasion, hire the bartenders from Bourbon & Branch to create exclusive cocktails for their friends. The loft offers limitless possibilities.
“Believe it or not, throwing on a pair of ripped jeans and an old T-shirt and inviting some cool artsy cats over for a glass of whiskey or cocktails is our idea of a perfect night,” says Tyler, already planning their next gathering. The sound track could be reggae or rap and will probably include highly competitive pingpong—house rule number one, enjoy yourself.
By Diane Dorrans Saeks.
Photographed by Angie Silvy.