A Light Filled and Lovingly Decorated San Francisco Apartment

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Claire has been in her one bedroom rental for three years. (Image credit: Erin Conger)

Name: Claire
Location: Mission District — San Francisco, California

The light in our apartment is incredible; warm and abundant. When we came to look at the listing it was mid-day and I didn’t have to do more than open the front door to know that I wanted to live here. I’ve lived in San Francisco for about eight years, when my partner and I found (and then were picked to rent) this apartment it felt like a gift from the city, encouraging us to keep putting roots down here.

My style reflects inspiration from my friends and family, growing up in Southern California, textiles and art. I love Mid-century modern design and clean minimalism, I’m also drawn to rich, overgrown coziness that looks like stacks of books and layered rugs. My favorite thing is when surroundings match a personal style or reflect a creative personality. I’m so inspired by the homes of my friends and family, so many of whom have a unique space that looks like their life. It’s the best.

I love that the space reflects my partner and I both; either of us alone would have decorated in really different ways, but the space is too small to segment into mine/yours. We both like changing the space around to try new layouts and had a lot of fun Craigslisting and flea-market shopping to find the furniture items we needed, one by one, when we first rented the space. For at least the first year we lived here we didn’t have a coffee table— I finally found one at the Alameda Flea Market and then promptly received one (the mid century piece we have out) from my Grandmother! We’ve slowly collected the right pieces for the space.

I also love the period details- the apartment building has six units total and was built in 1917! Not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate the glass doorknobs or the light fixture in our bedroom. The french doors between the living room and bedroom mean that we can open up or close the space off easily, which helps it to not feel too small.

I love the ikat printed armchair in our bedroom ( I affectionately named the chair Charlie when I was 11). The wingback armchair was a piece from my childhood bedroom and I recently had it reupholstered- it took years to find the right fabric, I wasn’t in a rush and I’m so glad that I picked judiciously. I knew that I wanted something in a muted palette and a classic print, and a print that felt special enough to be paired with one of my most valued possessions. My mom told me that classics will always pair well together, even if they’re from seemingly dissimilar aesthetics; which is why I think the traditional ikat and the antique wingback design pair well together. And now the piece is one of a kind, which is always special.

I’m proud of the instruments on the wall, my partner is a musician, the guitars are his, and my dad made us the mandolin that’s hanging for our wedding, so it’s a particularly special piece and I love seeing it every day.

Invest in art that you love, and don’t hesitate to swap it out when you want to look at something new. Sometimes I forget and leave a piece on the wall for years, and once it’s changed it feels like such a relief- even if I still love the piece itself. Art should be moved around and lived with. I also love having art that our friends have made, so many framed photos in our apartment were shot by my friend Erin, who also captured these images of the apartment itself!

Thanks, Claire!

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