Esteban Cortez


Oakland, California

Esteban is a photographer and writer in Oakland, California. When he isn't taking photos or writing for Apartment Therapy, he obsesses over his record collection and which antique store to visit next.
This Small San Francisco Studio Apartment Looks and Feels Like a Sunrise
This 560-square-foot studio apartment in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood is Dipa Halder's first solo apartment, and she's personalized this blank canvas with murals, DIY art, and furniture and decor that remind her of the colors of a sunrise.
May 17, 2022
This TikTok Star's Colorful Condo Is Packed With Fun and Fresh DIY Project Ideas
"The goal for my home has always been to make it feel like the most fun place you’ve ever been in, and I want every room to have a surprise in it once you enter," says TikTok DIY decor star Taylor BeepBoop of her "Pee-Wee’s Playhouse chic" San Francisco condo.
Jan 5, 2022
This 'Wild Eclectic Glam' Apartment Boasts Seven Wall Colors Across Six Rooms
When it came to decorating this Oakland apartment, interior designer and artist Sophia E. Aguiñaga painted the entire space, and surrounded herself with pieces that inspire and start conversations: like art by Black artists and artists of color, queer artists, and pieces purchased from Black- and woman-owned shops.
Aug 17, 2021
This Designer Uses Color to Create Distinct Areas in Her Small Studio
Instead of using heavy or bulky room dividers, Abigail was able to maximize all 415 square feet of her tiny studio apartment and create an entryway, living room, dining room, bar, bedroom, and office!
Mar 22, 2021
25 Smart Solutions For How to Store Your Stash of Records
From casual collectors to zealous vinyl nerds, it doesn't matter how many records you have, there's a storage solution here for you.
Nov 28, 2020
A Renter Found a Gorgeous Modern Loft (In an Former School) on Craigslist
House Tour
Ella Khan found this apartment listing on Craigslist for a 800-square-foot space: a spacious unit in a former elementary school that was built in 1915.
May 30, 2020
This Author’s Cozy San Francisco Apartment Is Bursting With Books, Color and Art
It's definitely maximalist, but not chaotic.
Apr 25, 2020
This Colorful San Francisco House Is Like a "Victorian on Acid"
It’s like a Wes Anderson movie that hasn’t been filmed yet or like a little Madonna Inn.
Feb 23, 2020
Every Paint Color in This Gorgeous Modern Mexican Home is Our New Favorite
From yellow steel accents, to a bold blue exterior, to pink bathroom cabinets, a green bedroom, and more, this modern Mexican home is serving of colorful, 1970s-inspired style vibes.
Feb 5, 2020
This Dark, Moody, Maximalist Apartment Was Inspired by Rihanna
The apartment is also inspired by "extravagantly rich white women."
Jan 26, 2020
‘Visibility is a Revolutionary Act’: How Our Readers Celebrate Pride at Home
We asked some of our readers what Pride means to them and how they celebrate at home or in their communities. Here’s what they shared.
Jun 25, 2019
A Storied San Francisco Home That Inspires Style and Spirit
You can Instagram every corner of this San Francisco rental apartment, where every element inspires and tantalizes your senses.
Jun 20, 2019
A Tiny, 370-Square-Foot Bay Area Studio Prioritizes Functionality
Name: Naimah and kitties Location: West End — Alameda, California Size: 370 square feet Years lived in: 2 years, rented Having spent the past few years at college in the South, Naimah didn’t expect the Bay Area’s competitive rental market when searching for the tiny Alameda studio apartment she now calls home. “The rental market in the Bay is wild, so this building was actually the first and only one that I saw,” she says.
Jan 7, 2019
A 400-Square-Foot Studio Makes Plywood Look Magical
Name: Becky Elfes-Terjung and Cliff Lance Location: Piedmont Avenue — Oakland, California Size: 400 square feet Years lived in: 6 years; rented When Becky took on a job as a display artist at Anthropologie, she would constantly bring home leftover scraps from work. This is where her love of plywood grew, as it provided her with a blank canvas that allowed her to be as creative as possible.
Aug 27, 2018
A Rule-Breaking Bay Area Home Proves the Best Color Inspiration Comes from Nature
Name: Nancy, Ken, and their little canine, Monty Location: Berkeley, California Size: 670 square feet Years lived in: 22 years; Owned Nancy says her home is a haven—it’s colorful, cozy, bright, and full of memories. Though the bright green walls help, it’s her collection of meaningful pieces that truly makes her Berkeley condo a home.
Jul 20, 2018
A Couple Shares the Most Organized, Functional 240-Square-Foot Studio Ever
Every item must have at least three different uses, be used three times a week, or be used for more than three years.
Jun 4, 2018
Take a Peek Into This Serene San Francisco Apartment
Name: Mohammad and Rachael Gorjestani Location: Western Addition — San Francisco, California Size: 800 square feet Years lived in: 3 years, rented Mohammad and Rachel’s San Francisco apartment is so cozy and serene, it’s easy to forget that it’s right next to a busy intersection at the center of the city. The original hardwood floors add warmth to the space, and the view of greenery in their spacious backyard (a true luxury in San Francisco) is beautiful.
Mar 20, 2018
A “Hippie, Rainbow-Boho” Apartment in Oakland
Name: Rachel Kaplan Location: Adams Point — Oakland, California Size: 1,000 square feet Years lived in: 1 year, rented Rachel’s friends know her as the person always wearing the outrageous, colorful, and sometimes stylishly clashing outfits. So clearly, she reflects that boldness of color, pattern, and texture all over her home.
Mar 16, 2018
A Colorful “Tongue-in-Chic” San Francisco Apartment
The number one rule is there are no rules!
Mar 14, 2018
A Designer & Musician Share a California Home with Creative Energy and Tree House Charm
Name: Alex Steele and Peter Wallner Location: Piedmont Avenue — Oakland, California Size: 500 square feet Years lived in: 3 years, rented For being in such a busy Oakland neighborhood, Alex and Peter’s apartment feels really calm, serene, and secluded. “We fell in love with its private tree house charm, and how seemingly hidden it was for being so centrally located on a main drag in Oakland,” Alex says.
Jan 17, 2018
A Playful Pasadena Apartment Where You Can Chill the Eff Out
Name: Aurora Lady and Ben Pringle Location: Pasadena, California Size: 830 square feet Years lived in: 1.5 years, rented “Our home is our everything — it’s our retreat, our workplace, and our safety net,” Aurora Lady says of the Pasadena apartment she shares with her partner Ben. It’s a place where Aurora can create, where Ben can work on his music, and where the couple can just chill out. But to Aurora and Ben, it’s more than just an apartment.
Jan 16, 2018
A Beautiful Bay Area Rental is a Great Match for a Cute Couple
Name: Walter and Adam Ryon Location: San Leandro, California Size: 950 square feet Years lived in: 1 year, rented Walter was working and living in Abu Dhabi when Adam first spotted the building they now call home. Finding a home from a distance was difficult, but when Adam drove by the building, Adam thought this one might be a good fit. It was a quintessential 1950s apartment building that was recently updated, and Adam felt their style was reflected both on the inside and outside.
Jan 11, 2018
A Couple and Three Dogs Share a 200-Square-Foot “Bitty Berkeley Bungalow”
The couple DIYed the whole thing using mostly recycled or second-hand building materials.
Jan 10, 2018
A Bright Industrial Oakland Loft with ’90s Sitcom Vibes
Name: Tam-Anh and Ricky Location: Jack London Square — Oakland, California Size: 1,100 square feet Years lived in: 1 year, renting At the end of 2016, Tam-Anh and Ricky decided to move in together, so they scoured Craigslist for apartments and began their search for a new home — an arduous task in the Bay Area’s competitive rental market. A few listings in, a description caught their attention: original loft, exposed brick, floor-to-ceiling windows, walk-in closet, fireplace.
Jan 3, 2018
Our Best Advice Of The Year For Fixing Up (& Loving) Your Rental
No rental home is perfect. Perhaps your landlord prohibits you from putting holes in the walls or altering the space in any way, so you feel like all your #housegoals are impossible to achieve. At Apartment Therapy, nothing is impossible! We gathered the best posts of 2017 highlighting how simple changes here and there can really make your home shine, and perhaps make you fall in love again.
Dec 29, 2017
A Berlin Apartment Inspired by Queer History
Name: Dean Sameshima Location: Berlin, Germany Size: 1,044 square feet Years lived in: 10 years, renting When Dean Sameshima came to Berlin in 2007 to put on an art show with Peres Project, he didn’t expect to stay put for so long. What started out as a one-month stay quickly became three months, and luckily, he found this gem of an apartment at the end of his trip.
Nov 30, 2017
A “Folk Modern” Apartment With Urban Cabin Vibes
Name: Steven Miller Location: Los Angeles, California Size: 750 square feet Years lived in: 2.5 years, rented Everything in Steven’s apartment has a story behind it: He can recall the thrift store each piece of art came from and can tell you the lengths he went to find a unique piece of furniture. “It makes me so happy that I have a space for all of the things that I’ve thrifted or collected,” he says. For Steven, thrifting isn’t just a hobby.
Nov 27, 2017
A Maximalist, Layered Lounge in Oakland
Name: Kristin Peters and Corey McLaughlin, cats Gracie and Zoey Location: Redwood Heights — Oakland, California Size: 1,500 square feet Years lived in: 13 years, owned When Kristin and Corey first looked at their Oakland home when it was on the market, they walked away from it. Kristin fell in love with the living room views, but Corey couldn’t get past the ugly facade and outdated design.
Nov 16, 2017
For the Record: 9 Turntables That Sound & Look Great
Not surprisingly, more and more people have been buying vinyl the past few years, and with that comes the important decision of investing in a quality turntable. There are quite a few things to consider: price, quality and user friendliness. But just as important is the overall look and design of the record player.
Nov 15, 2017
A Glamorous & Intriguing Los Angeles Apartment
Name: Erik Kenneth Staalberg Location: Miracle Mile — Los Angeles, California Size: 1,000 square feet Years lived in: 1.5 years, rented After searching countless websites every day for months, Erik finally found his dream apartment: A charming, pre-war historic building in Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile. Though it wasn’t perfect when he moved in, its been a complete passion project and continues to be everyday.
Nov 15, 2017
A “Europe-Meets-California-Modern” LA Apartment
Name: Danica and Robin Location: Highland Park — Los Angeles, California Size: 750 square feet Years lived in: 4 months, rented When Danica and Robin decided to move to Los Angeles from Oakland, their apartment search began with location in mind. Sure, it’d be nice to have a large space, but it wasn’t a priority — especially with a new baby and Los Angeles’ tight rental market.
Nov 11, 2017
A Los Angeles Musician’s Colorful, Playful & Nerdy Apartment
Name: Juan Velasquez Location: Highland Park — Los Angeles, California Size: 460 square feet Years lived in: 5 years, rented About five years ago, the house Juan shared with two friends in Los Angeles’ Eagle Rock neighborhood was sold, forcing him to move out. That’s when he stumbled upon this current apartment in Highland Park.
Nov 9, 2017
Before and After: A Living Room Stuck in the ’90s Gets a Gorgeously Dark & Modern Makeover
We showed off Timothy’s remodel of his inherited childhood home in a tour recently — it’s beautiful, modern and it perfectly illustrates what can be done with a limited budget. Timothy was kind enough to contribute family photos from the early ’90s showing the front room — or parlor — in its original state, complete with drab carpet and lackluster furniture.
Oct 30, 2017
A “Renovated from the Floors Up” Earthy California Bohemian Home
Name: Vera Claire and Sam Cheadle Location: Bayview — San Francisco, California Size: 1,200 square feet Years lived in: 3 years, owned For Vera and Sam, the past three years have been filled with the never-ending process of renovating and personalizing their home. The fact that Sam — the acting handyman and contractor — has no experience with renovating is even more impressive.
Oct 15, 2017
A Remodeled Mid-Century Eichler Home in Northern California
Name: Karen Nepacena & John Shum Location: Walnut Creek, California Size: 1,663 square feet Years lived in: Owned 4 years Karen and John knew they wanted to raise their family in not just any mid-century modern home, but one specifically designed by the renowned real estate developer Joseph Eichler. “We fell in love with Eichler homes and mid-century modern design after seeing a nearby open house for a thoughtfully restored and renovated Eichler,” Karen says.
Oct 1, 2017
How to Make a Bold Bed Statement With Just Fabric
In small studios, it’s common to hide or disguise a bed to save space. Stanley Lewis took another route. Instead of masking it, he opted to make it the centerpiece of his 500-square-foot studio. Rather than tucking it in the corner, he chose to celebrate it and make it the highlight of the room. There’s no expensive custom bed frame or headboard here, though. Most impressively, he did it all with just a mattress, a box spring, and fabric!
Sep 29, 2017