Hannah & Her Home
When house hunting, people always say that you’ll know when a house is “the one” shortly after stepping foot through the front door, and that’s what happened when Hannah Pobar first laid eyes on her San Francisco apartment. It was the abundance of natural light that caught this photographer’s eye and pretty much sold her on the place before even seeing all of it. The black-and-white elements and fun designs seen throughout create the simple, yet creative, space that’s a reflection of her personality and that has also served as the inspiration for her successful business, Home Studio. This photographer’s advice for other young aspiring entrepreneurs? Get as much exposure as possible (no pun intended!). Find out more about Hannah and her picture-perfect home below!
So, you are a young entrepreneur living in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Sounds like a dream! Can you tell us more about your day-to-day?
Home Studio keeps me super busy. I usually wake up early and check emails from bed to help me wake up. There’s a coffee shop one block up the street from my house that I love popping by for a change of scenery! Right now, I’m a one-girl team, so my daily tasks include managing the current Home Studio reservations, sending out invitations to users who have signed up for our wait list (no small task—there’s a few thousand people waiting), and connecting with brands and businesses who are interested in working with our hosts! It’s important to not just stay on top of the day-to-day, but also be planning into the future and working on projects that keep the company growing!
What is your favorite part about living in such a fun city like San Francisco?
I am so inspired by the people I’m surrounded by in San Francisco. The city is full of people who are equal parts dreamer and do-er, and it’s exciting being around so much energy for creation and innovation. When I moved here, I didn’t know anybody—I had literally zero connections! So I really feel like I grew up and became myself here, which will always be close to my heart.
You originally started out in User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) design, and now own your own company! Can you tell us the inspiration behind Home Studio List and how it got started?
It actually starts a little before that! When I was in college, I started dabbling with photography, and went on to start a small business photographing weddings and portraits. I was really pleased with the business, but you don’t know what you don’t know, and I was particularly interested in learning how to scale and operate a business that wasn’t just myself. I moved to San Francisco to join a startup as a product and UI/UX designer after graduating.
I actually started my company, Home Studio, in this apartment! Home Studio is a platform of styled homes and curated spaces available to rent hourly for photoshoots and creative productions. With my background in photography, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to find unique photoshoot locations. All of the spaces on Home Studio are vetted by the best local creatives, and then ranked by their natural light score (the average is A+)—a very important detail for a creative production! Our handpicked community of hosts enjoy working with trendy brands and photographers, and earn money on each rental of their space.
Brands love it because the spaces are so curated and styled. There are endless opportunities for picture-perfect moments with minimal additional styling needed. We currently are in beta in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver, and even more cities soon. Home Studio is invitation-only, and you can request one at homestudiolist.com!
What is your number-one piece of advice for young twenty-somethings looking to launch their own business?
The best advice I could give is to just go out and get exposure to as much as you can. I don’t think there is a “perfect moment” to start, but more so, start doing what you can with what you have at the time. If you have an idea, think of a way you can test it with super-limited resources first. There’s no use in building something only you think is a good idea, right? The goal should be to do something, and that becomes a success in itself. The more you build, the more luck you open yourself up to!
The natural light in your home is incredible. What else is on your list of must-haves when hunting for the perfect space?
It seriously is! When I went to the apartment showing, I walked into such glorious natural light that I didn’t even actually look at the whole unit because I was sold already and wanted to get the first application in. The apartment manager was so confused like, “Don’t you want to see the kitchen and dining room?” Nope! San Francisco is very competitive for apartments, so I was super fortunate I got this place. It is a photographer’s dream!
In addition to great light, natural character and charm is definitely high up on my list of must-haves. You can’t buy character, and fortunately this space had so much; big bay windows, original hardwood floors and charming detailing like the built-ins and wall detailing.
What were your goals and inspirations when designing your home?
The whole place oozes that iconic SF charm, and I decorated it intentionally to express my personal style, meaning lots of natural colors and textures, minimal décor and typography. My space is entirely a reflection of me and the things that matter most to me.
I sought after classic furniture that would be versatile and timeless, and looked to décor and finishings to make the space feel like a personal reflection of all the things I love the most. In particular, I have a vintage camera collection from my grandfather. The cameras are sentimental not only because I love photography, but also because they were used to take photos of my family back in the day and all still work!
I’ve always had an obsession with typography, which I’ve also incorporated a lot of in my space. I made all the typography posters in my house (and actually sell them at prettytechieshop.com)! I’m particularly drawn to classic typefaces. A lot of people think those are the boring ones, but my personal opinion is that a good designer is someone who can take something that’s overused and boring and make it interesting!
The best advice I could give is to just go out and get exposure to as much as you can. I don’t think there is a “perfect moment” to start, but more so start doing what you can with what you have at the time. If you have an idea, think of a way you can test it with super limited resources first. There’s no use in building something only you think is a good idea, right?
Who are some of your favorite female entrepreneurs out there right now?
- Ilana Stern, Weddington Way: Not only has she built an incredible multi-channel shopping experience, but she’s brought together an extremely inspiring and dedicated team of people obsessed with customer delight. And she gave me my first job out of college! As soon as we started talking, I knew I wanted to work for her and was pumped she had a company in an industry I was interested in. Although I probably would have worked for her even if it wasn’t! She’s been an incredible mentor to me over the past few years.
- Katie Thurmes + Jenna Walker, Artifact Uprising: I love that Katie and Jenna are also photographers (and sisters)! We worked with Artifact Uprising in our spaces for its launch of gorgeous new frames, and the whole team is brilliant and super creative.
- Jen Gotch, Ban.do: She’s created a company that oozes fun, and she is also the most interesting human on the planet to follow on Instagram stories! She really lives and breathes her brand.
- Lee Mayer, Havenly: Lee has built a company of mostly women, and she’s been a strong voice for women in tech. I applaud her for asking one of her investors to step off of the board after allegation of sexual assault. Her background is inspiring—she even taught herself to code to create the first version of Havenly!
- I’m always looking to photographers for inspiration, too. Some of my all-time faves are Mandee Rae, Jess Onesto, Kassia Phoy, Rebecca Slaughter and Natalie Franke.
You’re such a busy lady! How would you describe your personal style? Has it evolved since becoming a business owner?
I really value balance, order and simplicity in all things and I feel like these are inherent to my personal style. I’m inspired by classics, and I find myself gravitating toward quality craftsmanship and curation over anything overtly trendy.
Since I started Home Studio, I’ve realized that a lot of these elements are at play in the business itself. The site is extremely curated with a focus on spaces that are just downright amazing to shoot in—there isn’t a bad choice in the lot, and the standards are high. Everything I do is focused on the user experience and making it as frictionless as possible for both guests and hosts. I think, naturally, that’s the expectation I would have for anything I work on simply because it’s my style and in line with my values!
What does your ideal Sunday look like?
My ideal Sunday is likely pretty boring to most people! There is a coffee shop just one block up the street from my house, and it is my favorite place to tuck away and work on whatever I’m up to lately. At this point, I’m kind of a local, so it just feels like an extension of home when I need a change of scenery!
It’s important to me to make time to work on side projects, I think they keep you inspired and thinking about new ideas!
Love this home tour: Check out more San Francisco apartments: A Light, Bright And Airy Apartment In San Francisco // Ashley Kane’s Sophisticated Gray And Gold Home Tour