San Francisco native, socialite, and activist, Francesca Vietor had the unique experience of growing up in the Jackson Street Julia Morgan designed home featured for this year’s Decorator Showcase. She shared memories with us of milk and honey, sounds of the Presidio cannon, and an old world lifestyle now gone.
When did you live in the home? For how long? With who?
I lived there from 1964 to 1984 with my blended family—my father, Jack Vietor, had two children from his previous marriage, and my mother, Lita Vietor, had one from her previous marriage. They had four more together when they married, my twin brother Christopher and I being the last two. There were seven children total in the house for twenty years. I was six months old when we moved there.
Do you have some favorite memories in the home?
Of course, many. My pink room upstairs was connected to my twin brother’s room. He had a bedspread that looked like a car and we would sit on the bed and drive it.
My parents entertained a lot. We had to help serve hors d’oeuvres and charm the guests which I sometimes liked and sometimes didn’t. Lots of famous folks came through the house, Carol Channing, Ethel from I Love Lucy, Tennessee Williams and Jacques Cousteau are first that come to mind but many others.
I spent practically every afternoon at JK and in the Presidio woods. We had to be home by the 5:00 canon.
Has the house changed since you lived there? How so?
Yes, very much so! I can barely find the back stairs or much else. What happened to the sewing room? What happened to the original bricks in the driveway and front that were so worn and cozy? The views felt like the only familiar thing left.
They flipped my twin’s room and mine upstairs and made the girl’s room the boy’s room. The downstairs (basement) floor is completely different.
Did you have a favorite redesigned room? Why?
I guess I’m glad they kept the laundry room in the same place upstairs, though it was wood-paneled and had a washboard when I was a kid. There was also a little inset space next to it in the hall that had a stovetop and where our nanny made me milk and honey when I didn’t feel well, which I miss as it gave me comfort.
How would you classify your personal design style?
I grew up in a world and lifestyle that is now gone and live in style now that is about comfort and ease.
The Jackson Street home in San Francisco.
Francesca Vietor opens up to APR about living in the Jackson Street Julia Morgan designed home featured for this year’s Decorator Showcase.