House Tour: Meet Jenifer and Bob Lake

I have a special treat this week--I'm taking you inside the hearts and home of artists Jenifer & Bob Lake. I'm very intrigued by the work/ life balance and, perhaps, most intrigued when that balance collapses and work, home, art, family, and recreation are all assembled into one big beautiful heap. There are so many stories I'd love to share about Jen & Bob but you should definitely know this--they bought their home in October 2010 and are working their way through a complete foundation-to-rooftop renovation that Jen lovingly refers to as their, "10-year-renovation-plan".

Profile: Jenifer & Bob Lake
Professions: Jen--art educator, artist, owner of sprout studio and the gleaner project 
Bob--artist, photographer, Inspector Gadget homeowner, image-maker
Location: Butchertown, Bayview neighborhood, San Francisco, CA
Square footage: 900 sq feet + garage + attic studio
Owned or rented: Owned since 2010.
Residents: Jen, Bob, and beloved pup, Dixie Loo Doggie.

Your house is such a beautiful collision of your art practice and your lifestyle--you are really living the philosophy "art + life" at every turn. Given that there is very little separation between your artwork and your home, who is THE most influential artist on your work? (And, Bob, I'm sorry but you totally failed the editing challenge of this question. Don't worry! We're still friends.)

Jen: The overriding artists that come to mind are Margaret Kilgallen and Yoko Ono. I have a tattoo on my wrist combining a small homage to both of them so I guess that qualifies as influential. 

Bob: Harray Callahan, Lee Friedlander, William Wegman, Bruce Nauman, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Erwin Wurm, Richard Prince, Banksy, Tony Labat, Paul Kos, Richard Wentworth, John Cage, Lou Reed. These are only the giant dinosaurs that are standing the test of time. Wow, that's a real dude fest.

Most inspiring artist of the moment?

Jen: Miranda July. She's knocking it out of the park in all sorts of areas--film, writing, and visual pieces. Her public art gifts are just super inspiring.

Bob: Banksy. He is as important to us now as Bob Dylan was--a voice for today's generation. It doesn't matter if he is a "real" person or not.
Tell us the story of how you were married. C'mon, what did you drive? What did you wear? It's such a good story.

Jen: I rode on the handlebars of the Mister's bike down to the Justice of the Peace. I donned my vintage dress and flower flip-flops, hopped on the handlebars, and we rode down to the courthouse along Norfolk's waterfront (of course, we did stop at the local diner, The Donut Dinette, for breakfast). We exchanged plastic crown rings from the candy machine and our witness bought us a proper wedding cake, a Honey Bun, out of the vending machine.

I have to know, where did you get that beautiful Wedgewood stove?

$200 on Craigslist. A lady had been baking in it every day and was just ready for a change.

I know you love the Mission School artists, skate culture, VW buses, and frequent road trips but if you had to choose what would you say has been THE biggest influence on your overall aesthetic. I know--that's so hard, right?

Jen: I think it stems from the thrift/ recycle everything/ DIY ethics of my maternal grandparents who lived through The Depression. She had Ziploc bags in her drawer I'm sure from the original package of Ziplocs whenever they were made. Obviously the environmental and ecological ramifications are a huge consideration for us as well. Plus, older things were simply made better.

Bob: Skateboarding and punk rock. The do-it-yourself mentality--if you want to make something you do it yourself. And things that have meaning are the most important so any former object already has a built-in life and mission.

Favorite renovation project to date?

Jen: The build out of the attic and the addition of three gleaned windows that let in an incredible amount of light. I'm also fond of the ever-evolving backyard--I'm in love with having my very own piece of paradise back there.

Bob: The elevated deck we built in the backyard to see the Golden Gate Bridge and watch the fog roll in.

Demolition tool you could not live without?

Jen: My mister.

Bob: Toss up between PBR and the battery powered sawzall. 

Thank you for sharing your ever-inspiring, absolutely DIY to the max, art-filled, love-filled home. I wish you the best of luck as you tackle your long list of renovation to-dos and your house dreams. I know your space will continue to be incredible no matter what you alter along the way. Though, I must admit, I cannot wait to see it at the end of your 10-year plan!

Thanks, friends. You two are treasures.



  1. So sweet. Makes me excited about all the DIY projects to come. (And it makes me ache for the west coast just a little.)

  2. A large piece of our heart goes to our home as well. We paint. we measure. we cut. we hammer. we tape. we re-do. It's a definiite labor of love. It's all ours. What a wonderful project your friends have underway. It's all theirs.
    Everything from let's build a wall there to the frame shoudl go here not there. I love it.
    And 10 years? Sounds about right.

    BUT! no picture of the Wedgewood stove??? Why not??? Just a name drop?

  3. You know I love you guys. The best part? The last question: Jen needs Bob, and Bob needs beer & tools. Perfection :)

  4. So fun to read Katrina. :-)

  5. Ooooh, I love having peeks into Jen's house...i've dreamed of going there and checking out all her nooks and crannies :) love her. so great to hear the backstories.

    love this...hope you do more Katrina!

  6. two GEMS of human beings.
    thanks for sharing !!

  7. marcie: come back and visit! and yes, the thought of being a homeowner does fill me with too many ideas to even list.

    beth: oh, gosh. no name dropping intended! no, no. more simply, i just forgot to post a picture of the stove. i'll get better at these interviews as i go along.

    christine: hello to you! i agree that jen & bob are totally and completely lovable for ever and ever. the end! (and yes, funny about bob's tools and beer.)

    shash: thank you!!! so glad you liked it. kind words are appreciated, dear you.

    stef: hello! welcome to my blog. yes, her home and studio are filled with all sorts of treasures. i hope to do more interviews too.

    lisa: agreed! happy to share.


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.