- Date published: 07.02.24
- Category: Home Tours
- Author: Nicole Kliest
A Visual Feast, Lisa Bühler’s San Francisco Home Is as Fun and Playful as Her Brand
The Lisa Says Gah founder peels open the historic doors of her 1905 Edwardian home.
Lisa Bühler has an exceptional eye. We’ve followed her business, Lisa Says Gah, for years, and have long admired her colourful curation of one-of-a-kind finds. As she puts it, the things that simply make you go “Gah!”
Just like her brand, Lisa’s historic 1905 Edwardian home in San Francisco’s iconic Alamo Square neighbourhood is every inch as inspiring as you’d imagine. A purveyor of patterns, Lisa extends her love of motif and colour throughout her space, where checkers, stripes and scalloped edges coexist in happy harmony.
After touring her beautiful home, we took a five-block stroll to Lisa’s brick-and-mortar retail store for another round of Oohs, Ahhs, and of course, plenty of Gahs. We hope you love it as much as we do.
Genevieve Rosen-Biller, Co-Founder, Bed Threads.
T here’s an ineffable feeling one gets when they spot something Gah-worthy. It could be anything, really—whatever halts you in your tracks, sets your heart ablaze, and evokes an audible Gah. For some, it might be a whimsical candlestick. Others, a ceramic plate adorned with, say, a hand-painted artichoke (ahem)—the more fun, flamboyant, and delightful, the better. And while this emotion arises as a happy coincidence for most of us, for Lisa Bühler, it serves as the very premise of her entire company, aptly named Lisa Says Gah.
Entrepreneur and purveyor of all things Gah, Bühler founded her company in 2014 with a focus on small, slow-fashion brands that evoke a similar sense of delight. Fast forward a decade later and she’s staying true to her ethos—plus a thriving in-house collection, expansion to categories like accessories and home, two brick & mortar stores (with another on the way), and several successful pop-ups around the US.
Bühler lives in San Francisco’s iconic Alamo Square neighbourhood (famed for its Painted Ladies) with her husband Louis and their two children, River Thomas (4) and Heidi (2). “I really love this area because it’s in the heart of the city and has that classic San Francisco residential appeal,” she tells Bed Threads.
“We moved in three years ago because we needed more space for baby number two,” she says. Like many house hunters during the early days of the pandemic, she and her husband were able to find a home that might not have otherwise been on the market. “I think if it was just a few years prior it would have been really competitive and tough, but we were the only ones who made the offer and it was under asking, which is really rare for San Francisco.”
This “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” (as Bühler puts it) was within a charming Edwardian-style home. “It was built in 1905, one year before the earthquake," she says. “Definitely feeling good it was able to survive that!” The architectural style is more modern than the Victorian homes that are peppered throughout the neighbourhood, but it still bears lovely original details such as stained glass and bay windows.
“The brass door handles are also all original actually,” she says, adding that these historic elements—though beautiful—don’t come without minor complication. “They’re very old,” she laughs. “I actually locked myself in the bathroom the other day right before a meeting was going to start. So there’s things like that where you just have to deal with the age.”
Home has a new meaning now because this is where our kids are having their childhood.
One decidedly new feature has become a focal point in the family’s home. “My husband is a contractor and so a year ago we were able to add a big window in the dining room,” she says, noting that before the renovation there was only a teeny, tiny window occupying the wall. “When friends come over most of them go straight for that city view.”
Now that Bühler and her family have settled into their new space, she reflects on what this home symbolizes for her from a creative and professional standpoint. “Home has a new meaning now because this is where our kids are having their childhood,” she says. “They’re always running up and down the hall and I feel like I just have this snapshot of them living out their childhood in this space we’ve created.”
Bühler is known for her penchant for all things fun and fantastical, but how does that translate to a home with two kids? “We don’t have a ton of stuff because we have toddlers and don’t want our things destroyed,” she says. “But I have been building slowly over time. I’m interested in the linens and rugs and lamps. I love fun patterns, like the tiled coffee table and striped sofa—those are things that feel LSG in some ways.” Her husband’s experience also had a hand in shaping the mood of the home. “He really wanted this light blue paint that’s now throughout the house,” she shares.
The stylishly striped sofa, specifically, is a testament to Bühler’s ingenuity. “It was originally a Crate & Barrel sofa but our cat, George, used it as his scratch pad and destroyed it,” she says. After covering it with blankets for almost two years she had an epiphany. “Finally I was like, this is silly! I’m a grown woman. I run a business. I can recover this couch,” she laughs. “I think that was probably the most I’ve ever spent on a furniture piece was recovering this silly sofa.”
Bühler now has brick-and-mortar stores in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and plans for an opening in New York City this year. Her retail space in SF is five blocks from her home, making the commute to work each morning a pleasant stroll through the neighbourhood.
Within the Lisa Says Gah store, she and her team sell unique finds aimed at combating fast fashion. She’s also introduced home as a category, which keeping in line with the brand’s playful tone, is stocked with feel-good items such as a Champagne-themed puzzle and coaster set cut from a quilted Fair Isle fabric. When asking her what prerequisites a home product must meet in order to be considered Gah, her answer is simple enough. “I think if it’s fun and delightful that’s very much an identifier,” she says. “Something unexpected like these fruit-shaped candles we carry or a blanket with an Italian summer print on it. It has to be that special and emotional purchase.”
There’s something about this popup we had in New York last fall that just really cemented how special and meaningful the brand has become.
Among all the achievements Bühler has under her belt after a decade in business (which includes helping shape the viral maximalist aesthetic that’s seen everywhere now), her biggest highlights tap back to the customer. “There’s something about this popup we had in New York last fall that just really cemented how special and meaningful the brand has become,” she says. “I was outside pouring wine while excited customers were waiting in line and it was just one of those moments where I realised it was so much bigger than me and bigger than what I even thought was possible. It shows there’s much more potential for the future.”