Green Home Tour: Erica Tanov's Secondhand Beauty

Green Home Tour: Erica Tanov's Secondhand Beauty

Stephanie Kinnear
Mar 10, 2009

Name: Erica Tanov
Location: Berkeley, CA
Size: 3,500 sq/ft
Years lived in: 2 yrs. (owned)


Erica Tanov is most well-known as a women's clothing designer, with stores in Berkeley, San Francisco, and New York City. But we were first introduced to Tanov's eclectic, organic style through these photos of her home, which is decorated and furnished almost exclusively with secondhand items.

Yes, we'd certainly wear the clothes she designs (they're beautiful) — but if we had our choice, we'd live in her house.


Tanov shares her home with her husband and two children. Although it is large, all of the well-worn secondhand items give the house a cozy, welcoming feeling. We've fallen for Tanov's small touches, her playfulness, and her ability to create captivating vignettes out of flea market items. We've been told that even her dishes and flatware are vintage.

"Our house is definitely a work in progress," says Tanov, "and probably always will be. I don't think I'd want it any other way, though. What fun is a 'finished' house?"

AT Survey:

My/Our style: Relaxed. Refined hippie.

Inspiration: Nature. Things with a crumbling elegance.

Favorite Element: Light.

Biggest Challenge: Dealing with the intense light/direct heat in the dining room. Finding the time to work on projects.

What Friends Say: Nice view!

Biggest Embarrassment: We still have a huge (semi-patched) hole in our dining room ceiling due to a pipe that burst over 2 years ago. We just haven't gotten around to fixing it — typical! Also, while I'm at it, our front yard is pretty embarrassing. It's mostly dirt right now, with the beginnings of some landscaping. I'm a wannabe gardener. I've planted some trees (dogwood, magnolia, akebono flowering cherry, chinese fringe tree). We haven't (again) gotten around to re-landscaping (nor re-stuccoing), since the overwhelming foundation work was done a year ago, which involved a lot of large machinery trampling over and destroying our yard. Argh!

Proudest DIY: Painting our hallway "Dark Basalt."

Biggest Indulgence: Chinoiserie wallpaper in bedroom.

Why do you buy second-hand/vintage rather than new? Vintage things usually feel more special to me and are often one of a kind. Quality is generally better for the price. I also love the history attached to vintage pieces.

Best advice for anyone who wants to furnish their home with second-hand/vintage finds: If you love it, buy it. Don't worry about clashing styles. Go for quality, lasting pieces.

What other green things do you do in your home? We recycle and compost religiously and have a vegetable garden. We use eco paints. I use leftover fabrics/scraps from my clothing collection for curtains, pillows, tablecloths, and napkins.

(Thanks, Erica!)


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