Articles

S.F. Residents Who Live the Best of Both Coasts

S.F. RESIDENTS WHO LIVE THE BEST OF BOTH COASTS By Blake Green, San Francisco Chronicle

BothCoast1Ira Yeager’s New York loft is an assemblage of his and friends’ art as well as antique furniture. For years, Yeager, who works and lives in a warehouse-turned-studio South of Market, as well as a house and barn/studio in the Napa Valley, had traveled back and forth between San Francisco and Corfu, in the Greek Isles, consciously avoiding New York whenever possible. “I thought it was awful.” One day about three years ago, after the Corfu house had been sold, Yeager, who was born in Washington, decided that “I wanted to have the experience of knowing New York.” So he bought a loft in Tribeca, a neighborhood in lower Manhattan, with a view of the Hudson River. A lifelong collector of antiques and interesting household furnishings, Yeager made a selection from his San Francisco collection, including a mantel for a fake fireplace – and had them shipped east. Arriving at his new digs before the furniture, he found the empty loft “so huge, and there was all the noise of the city. I thought I’d made a terrible mistake.” But living in New York a month at a time, he discovered that “I really liked it; I realized how important it is, that it’s the art center of the country.” Yeager’s work, too, is conducive to bicoastal living as he has found that he can paint in New York, San Francisco or the Napa Valley. He works on sometimes as many as 30 paintings at a time, seldom on any one continuously. BothCoast2His San Francisco home has a huge room upstairs in which he paints at one end and, in the other, hosts seated dinner parties for as many as 50 guest. He doesn’t adhere to a schedule. “I watch the 11 o’clock news (in San Francisco) and if the weather is good back there (in New York), I go back,” usually for two or three weeks at a time. Whenever possible, he tries to coordinate his trips with his friends Jeanne Allen and Marc Grant, of the fashion team of Jeanne-Marc, who live in Berkeley and have an apartment in the SoHo section of Manhattan. (Allen and Grant are in New York as often as a dozen times a year, and their apartment is also used when their employees are in town on business.) “Mostly my going to New York is for fun,” Yeager says. “When I first started, I thought I would have new goals, and then I realized that I should enjoy the goals I already had. I decided that I didn’t want to get involved in that New York pushy world but just to enjoy the city and my work. I actually find it easier to paint there – there are fewer distractions.”