A "Modern Bohemia Meets West Coast" Apartment in Oakland

A "Modern Bohemia Meets West Coast" Apartment in Oakland

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Esteban Cortez
Jul 25, 2017

Name: Jimmy Brower, Damien Merino, and their dog Joey
Location: Gaskill — Oakland, California
Size: 700 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

Jimmy and Damien instantly fell in love with their Oakland apartment. The bond was so strong that they signed the lease before they even looked inside. Risky — yes — but they don't regret a thing about the decision, as they find themselves drawn to the natural energy of the space more and more each day. The apartment used to be a storefront, so it comes with huge floor-to-ceiling windows, warm wood tones, and slate concrete floors. How can anyone not fall for the space?

Aside from those enviable features, the apartment provides just enough space for Jimmy to set up a cozy work area to create products for his brand West Perro, which specializes in jewelry, leather goods, wall hangings and plant holders. "I've always been creative, and had that equal balance of left and right brain, and now the creative forces in my life are starting to take over," Jimmy says.

Jimmy and Damien are both visual people — they both work in upper-level positions at locally-rooted Levi's and Old Navy, respectively. "It's one of the things that supports our relationship," Jimmy says. "We both work for locally-based retail companies, we both love our jobs and the San Francisco Bay Area. It just works!" Those good vibes resonate throughout their home, evident in every corner of the space. "At the end of the day, we both love each other and everything we share in common."

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Modern Bohemia Meets West Coast

Inspiration: Our time spent outdoors have allowed us to grow closer by having a shared interest in nature in its most untouched environments. Other inspirations include earth tones, the Redwood Forest, the American Southwest, the jungles of Mexico, local road trips + international travel

Favorite Element: The natural sunlight that pours through our single-pane windows that surround our space towards the tops of our shop-front windows and side entrance. High time from noon to 5:00 p.m. gives us the perfect amount of light, not to mention our plants get to bask in the rays...until we see golden hour around 6:30 p.m. peak over the Golden Gate Bridge, where our front door and windows face. It's magical when the rays beam through and the dusk settles into night.

Biggest Challenge: Dog hair and learning how to take care of all these plants. It's a steep curve but we're up for the life-long challenge to become proud Plant People. We joke that if we're not walking Joey that we're watering our plant kids. We adopt them, we watch them grow, we see them graduate from one sized terracotta to the next and bet each other on how tall or full each one will get. "Look! That one just had a baby!"

What Friends Say: Well, we love to host small dinner parties and the few holidays that allow us to decorate, where our closest amigos call our digs cozy, green, and warm. We instantly fell in love with the space, and interestingly enough we signed the lease BEFORE we even peeked inside. We know; pretty risky we realize now. But we could just feel ourselves pulled to the natural energy of the space; the multitude of natural light portals, the warm wood tones, the slate concrete floors with moments of exposed natural brick.

Biggest Embarrassment: The space is big, but so small at the same time. Last Christmas morning, we attempted an overnight Crock-pot breakfast, but instead as we woke, it turned into a Crock-pot disaster, resulting in these odors filling the space and breakfast tasting not-so-great. Long story short, we scratched the meal and made our signature breakfast of fried Spam, scrambled eggs and rice. The best for us.

Proudest DIY: It's a DIY that has been almost one year in the making... literally making all the things. Our home has become the epicenter and showroom for West Perro. Inspired by the American Southwest, shaped by West Coast Modernism...pretty much sums up my POV on my creative output. Damien and Joey continue to be my touchstones, providing support to juggling work, life and my passion in addition to being my focus group on all things aesthetics. Couldn't imagine being where I am now without them by my side.

Biggest Indulgence: With no hesitation, plants! We just can't get enough green life in our space. Call it an addiction, but hey — the worst is we open up a plant shop, right? Joey too has an affinity for them, as he spends a good part of his days around the loft giving them a good sniff as if he's sharing secrets, whispering the day's dealings or simply helping keep their leaves a little bit more clean as his whiskers brush up against them. You can feel the plant love here.

Best Advice: Surround yourself with people and things you love, and don't over water your plants.

Dream Sources: Apartment Therapy, Dwell Magazine + Studio, Loom + Kiln, and all of our local maker and artist friends

Resources:

LIVING ROOM & DINING AREA
Tea-stained canvas flag — BcBurnings
Custom buck-stitched leather dog leash — West Perro
Vintage bamboo rattan tower — Found item
Hand crafted pom-pom string — Sayulita, Mexico
FJALLBO TV unit — IKEA
Vintage peacock chair — Found item
Standing Ojo wall hanging — West Perro
Ceramic nude woman vessel — Julia Ballenger
Vintage leather chair and ottoman — Urban Ore in Berkeley
Acrylic nesting tables — CB2
Turntable — Ion Audio
Vinyl record storage w/ natural wood + crystal clear acrylic — KAIU
Barrel cactus pillow — Plantillo
Slatted table and arm chairs — IKEA
Vintage Eqipale chairs — Found in Sebastopol, California
Mexican blankets — Bought in Tulum, Mexico
Sun Hat — Local Shop Manyana Co. in Sayulita, Mexico
Sonoran Sunset wall hanging — West Perro

KITCHEN
Bar stool — IKEA
Table lamp — IKEA
Custom wood tile — Nicole Sweeney

BATHROOM AREA
Shower curtain — Target
Candles — Maker of Waxed Goods
Ceramic sage dish — Samantha Carter
Desert Dunes wall hanging — West Perro

WORK SPACE
Potting table in red cedar — Target
The New Desert Bolo wall hanging — West Perro
Soló Duna Vessel — West Perro
Tall cactus and terracotta planter — Cactus Jungle in Berkeley

BEDROOM
Patterned ceramic hanging planter — Little Paper Planes
Esférico Unknown wall hanging — West Perro
Mattress — Tuft & Needle
Duvet cover — Urban Outfitters
Jungle Vibes tapestry — Chelsea Victoria
Macrame plant holder — Oak & Arrow Design Co.
Desert Milkweed macrame and clay plant holder — West Perro
Various plants — Home Depot
First Date diorama — Lisa Swerling's Glass Cathedrals

Thanks, Jimmy and Damien!


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