Annie’s Harmonious Oakland Studio

updated Dec 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Name: Annie Oxenhandler
Location: Adams Point; Oakland, California
Size: 624 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Rented

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Though a challenge at first, Annie managed to create a harmonious space with the illusion of having separate rooms in what would otherwise be an open studio. Her small apartment is a mixture of modern furniture and items that tell stories of her favorite memories: decorative bones from when she lived in New Mexico, gifts from friends and family, and books she loves that line a shelf from Ikea.

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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Annie doesn’t consider herself a “crafty” person, so she has no problem taking advice from her friends, many of whom have eyes for design. Her dining room area, which was originally a bedroom nook, came to life after following the advice of a friend, and the rest of the layout just fell into place. “My friend really nailed it and I love that I have four distinct ‘rooms.’ She inspired the layout and provided me with a tool box I didn’t know I had,” Annie said.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I lived in Santa Fe, so skulls/bones, nature, earth and the Southwest snuck their way into my life. I like a variety of clean and modern. “Clean with texture.”

Inspiration: For this space, I started with the rug in the living room and the sky blue lamp in my dining room and it grew from there. In general, I have gathered ideas throughout the years from friends, and places I have lived, shopped and visited. Catalogues, magazines and Pinterest have also been very helpful. I feel like my style is a mix of many different loves of style.

Favorite Element: The textures, colors and patterns that have come together in my space.

Biggest Challenge: Creating separate spaces that all tie together into a smaller studio apartment.

What Friends Say: My friends are so gracious and kind. They say they love my space. They find it to be bright, simple, inviting and warm.

Biggest Embarrassment: The “unseen” spaces like my closets and drawers.

Proudest DIY: Finding amazing, talented and helpful friends to help me create my space. I have never been very crafty.

Biggest Indulgence: My entire space really, it is the first time I have lived on my own and I was able to really take the time and invest in things I love. If I had to choose, I would say my buffet from West Elm that sits in my dining room.

Best Advice: Be open to other people’s ideas and try to think “outside” the box. When you have a smaller space, you make do. I love entertaining and wasn’t sure how to incorporate a dining area into my home. One of my best friends, Lindsey Hatch, who has amazing design and style sense, recommended turning my bedroom nook into a dining area and adding a mirror to open up the space. My friend really nailed it and I love that I have four distinct “rooms.” She inspired the layout and provided me with a tool box I didn’t know I had.

Dream Sources: West Elm, Pinterest, Domino and friends.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Resources of Note:


  • I rent, so unknown regarding paint color. Greys, creams, whites, yellow, metallics, and a touch of pastel.


  • Rug: West Elm


  • Book Shelf: Ikea
  • Coffee Table and Chair in corner: West Elm
  • Rug: Home Goods
  • End table and curtains/rod: West Elm
  • Pillows: Homegoods and Target
  • Couch and Entertainment Console: Ikea
  • Lamp: CB2
  • Painting next to chair: gift from my Aunt. A print of a “Walter Keane,” even though his wife painted it
  • Mismatched Paintings behind couch: Painted by Olivia Smartt
  • Animal Spine: Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Sheep Skins: Ikea


  • Table: CB2
  • Dining Chairs: Westelm
  • Art: Gift from friends (small canvas-3 years old created canvas) (photograph by Kelly Nicolaisen)
  • Buffet, Mirror and Rug: West Elm
  • Lamp: Homegoods
  • Vintage Fan: Gift from a friend


  • Fruit Bowl and Apron: Sur La Table
  • Salt and Pepper containers: Anthropologie
  • Large utensil holder: Target
  • Stainless Steel Table and Chrome Bar Stools: Friend


  • Bedding: West Elm, Target and Homegoods
  • Vintage Respiratory Medical “map”: Gift from a friend
  • End tables: Salvaged stools from a Montessori School
  • Lamps: Target
  • Book Shelf: Ikea


  • Linens: Ikea
  • Tray: Mudd Pottery
  • Glass Containers: Homegoods
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Thanks, Annie!

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