Ayah’s Bicoastal Craftsman Bungalow

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Name: Ayah Wilson
Location: Oakland, California
Size: 1,800 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years; Rented

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To most of us, the process of moving to a new home is a daunting task. Aspects of it are filled with excitement (especially the decorating part!) as well as the unknown (moving rates!). For Ayah, born and raised outside of Washington, DC, a move to California’s East Bay afforded her not only an opportunity to pursue her professional passion in culinary arts (she moved there to pursue a Natural Chef degree at Bauman College), but to also explore the Bay Area’s vibrant decor and furnishing offerings.

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*Re-edited from a post originally published in 2015

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Although Ayah is formally trained in the culinary arts, her artistic talent easily extends into the way she has appointed her home. Ayah had a beautiful palette at her disposal when she moved into her 1.5-story Oakland bungalow; charming architectural details characteristic of California’s American Craftsman homes are present throughout. Multi-pane windows, walnut doors and window frames, and imposing fireplace masonry are a nod to that era’s finest design.

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Thanks to Ayah’s keen curatorial eye, she seamlessly worked these elements into the personalizing of her home; many of her furniture and decorative pieces were sourced from flea markets in the Bay Area, as well as on the East Coast. She has also collected many pieces from her travels around the world. It is impossible to overlook her stately dining room table, which sits before the equally as dignified built-ins. Their beveled glass doors add further dimension to the large room. To top it off, modern and global decorative elements lend Ayah’s home a contemporary sensibility that any self-respecting Bay Area resident would possess.

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern, rustic pieces of the world

Inspiration: Earthy, functional, colorful, warming, classic pieces

Favorite Element: I love the classic built-ins, original handcrafted hardwood floors and door knobs that I would have to hunt forever to find today.

Biggest Challenge: Finding enough counter space to cook larger meals.

What Friends Say: It feels and smells like “Ayah” in here.

Biggest Embarrassment: I have not figured out how to reupholster my favorite green chair with the exact fabric to make it make it funky.

Proudest DIY: Although it took me almost a year, I made myself sit down and reupholster my dining room chairs.

Biggest Indulgence: My custom made ceramic dishes by Tatiana Hunter. My parents have had her pieces in the house since I was a child and I have been fortunate enough to continue this tradition of beauty and functionality throughout my life. There is something about her pieces that makes every bite of food taste that much sweeter!

Best Advice: Don’t just add a piece to your space, make sure it makes sense. Love everything that comes into your home but know that they are just things, give them love and life, then let someone else give them life when its time for them to leave.

Dream Sources: Moroccan Rugs, Ruby Living Design Furniture, Pimped Out Textiles, Old Photographs

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Resources of Note:


  • Plants: Local garage sale finds


  • Umbrella Stand: Platinum and Ebony Pedastal Vase by Tatiana Hunter of Tatiana, LLC
  • Stackable Shoe Rack: Target
  • Mirror: Repurposed Gold Rimmed Closet Door
  • Chair: Eastern Market, Washington, DC
  • Pillow: Chevron African Wax Print, xNasozi
  • Shoes: A whole lot of Nikes…


  • Ottomans: Morocco
  • Wooden Carved Lady: Bangladesh
  • Wooden Chair: Ashby Flea Market, Berkeley, CA
  • Cowhide Rugs: Saddelmans of Santa Fe
  • Couch: Crate & Barrel
  • Pillows: Crate & Barrel/ Handmade with fabric from Malawi
  • Yellow Throw: Marshalls
  • End Table: Ikea
  • Tea Table: Morroco
  • Handcarved Kings Chair: Malawi
  • Colorful Mask: Belize
  • Tea and Hooka: Gift by my mother
  • Wooden Pregnancy Cast: Eastern Market, Washington, DC
  • Batique: Gift by my parents
  • Candles: Anthroplogie
  • Mirror: Home Goods




  • Bed Frame: Ikea
  • Lamp: West Elm
  • Quilt: Made by my grandmother
  • Rugs: Saddlemans of Sante Fe
  • Ottoman: Morroco
  • Pillow: xNasozi
  • Wall Hanging: Thailand
  • Red Velvet Chair: MiriamAmina
  • House Slippers: Serbia, Mother of Men
  • Danish Dresser: Garage Sale
  • Wall Color: Martha Stewart
  • Wall Art: Passed down from my parents


  • Rug: Crate and Barrel
  • Warrior Painting: Gifted by my mother
  • Photograph: Bahia, Brazil
  • Green Sofa: CB2
  • Lamp: Ikea
  • Pillows: Culinary School graduation gifts – Orange and Brown print, xNasozi
(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Thanks, Ayah!

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