This Berkeley Home Has Bold Tiles, Stained Glass, and Awnings Made from Airplane Wings

This Berkeley Home Has Bold Tiles, Stained Glass, and Awnings Made from Airplane Wings

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Name: Breeze Braunschweig (she/her), Kartik Ramachandran (he/him), and Bayou Bee, our 11 year old Catahoula Leopard Dog. (And oftentimes Brook Braunschweig (she/her), Breeze’s sister; the guest bedroom is called “Brook’s room”).
Location: North Berkeley, California
Size: It was originally 2300 square feet, but we finished the basement and it’s now 3,000 square feet
Type of Home: The house is technically a duplex, but can be used as a single family, duplex, or triplex, each floor having its own private entrance. We designed it this way to have flexibility.
Years lived in: 8 years, owned (The renovation took two years to complete!)

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After two years in Chicago, my husband Kartik, our catahoula leopard dog, Bayou, and I were moving back to California. We knew we wanted to live in the East Bay, so we looked at 34 houses in multiple neighborhoods over the course of two weekends. As soon as we walked into the this house we knew it was the one. More specifically, the moment we took in the expansive view over the Bay and experienced the sun setting over the Golden Gate Bridge, we realized we would never tire of it.

The house is an older one, built in 1923, and we liked that we would celebrate its 100-year anniversary in 2023. The housing market was particularly competitive and we had to submit a love letter to the homeowner stating who we were and why we wanted to live in the house along with our offer. To our delight she chose us, stating that the house belonged to a newlywed couple as she and her husband had been when they purchased the place years ago. It was a “home for lovers” she said.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I have a deep love of historic architecture and gravitate toward buildings with an inherent thoughtfulness. People say, “they don’t make ‘em like they used to,” for a reason. I work in New Orleans a lot and I’m in constant awe of a 28” wide piece of barge board framing in a Creole Cottage, or the ornamental iron on a French Quarter beauty. When it comes to “my style” it always involves color, and incorporates vintage and antique architectural elements and furnishings. I loved the bones of the Berkeley house and wanted to open it up to that stunning view. Every element of the house features something that was found, or fashioned. The concrete kitchen utility sink, for instance, we found at Urban Americana salvage in Long Beach; we media blasted it to clean it up, then brought it to a coring facility to have a modern-sized drain hole cut into the basin. Alan Call, my business partner (who can fabricate anything!), welded a custom steel stand for the 200 lb sink to rest upon and then I sealed it. Lugging that thing around was no small feat.

Inspiration: Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Mexico City. We visited while we were working on the house and decided then and there we’d paint her blue.

Favorite Element: We were in a construction meeting one day discussing what materials to use for the awning and someone made a joke about airplane wings. I loved the idea and found an aviation salvage yard in Sacramento called Faeth Aircraft. I drove up and brought back a pair of mid-century Cessna Skymaster wings, which now serve as the upstairs awning, complete with recessed lighting. We installed them on my birthday and it was the best gift.

Biggest Challenge: We lived in the house for six months while it was gutted; the west wall was completely open to the elements save for a tarp. We had one hot power outlet in our upstairs bedroom (which was not gutted) and no lights. We had a microwave set up and battery operated lights. No heat, no kitchen. The upstairs bathroom was operable, which made staying in the house possible. A few times curious neighbors walked in thinking the place was empty and Kartik gave one couple a tour. We are pretty outdoorsy, but roughing it for that long together did have its challenging moments pre-coffee!

Proudest DIY: I stripped all 21 of the original interior doors in the house and finished them all with linseed oil. I can’t stand to cover up that beautiful wood grain with paint. I love how each one is unique. Also, we hung antique doors including the basement bathroom barn style door, which is an old metal elevator door. We had to strip years of paint off of it. Alan designed and fabricated the custom barn door hardware and I found elevator door rollers.

Biggest Indulgence: The 12×12 structural redwood post in the living room was a splurge — it’s from the old East Span of the Bay Bridge. Material became available as they were dismantling the bridge. I had meant to clean it up some, but it was installed before I got to it, so the post still includes the original nails and patina.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? So much of the home is unique — but it’s the small details I love. The star cut-outs in the kitchen cabinets lined with copper mesh, the single hand-painted dog tile in the range hood that the master builder Agustin placed himself. It’s the relationships that I have cultivated with talented artists such as Mercedes Austin of Mercury Mosaics. This is what brings the house to life and makes living so much more enjoyable; every little detail has a story.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Finishing the basement was a huge value-add. It was a drafty, unfinished space housing the old boiler. It’s now a 700-square-foot studio, which comfortably houses our friends and family. My friend Ramon Cornejo (RAMCO cabinets) built the custom sofa and bed nook at the window, which have pull-out drawers built in for storing linens, etc.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? My best advice is to incorporate what YOU love. Don’t worry so much about trends or what anyone else will think. It’s your home and a great opportunity to reflect your personality and to surround yourself with things that make you happy. Also, venture outside of the new furniture stores and go to estate sales, antique shows, etc. Look on Craigslist or FB Marketplace, Etsy, eBay, for second hand furnishings and local artists. Mix in the antiques and vintage, things that have a history. They’re typically built to last, add character, and you can pat yourself on the back for reducing that carbon footprint.


Special Credits to Agustin Velazquez, a master builder not phased by any unusual request and an outstanding creative builder


  • Exterior stucco paint color — Behr “Electric Blue”
  • Window and door casings paint color — Sherwin-Williams “Fireweed” (color match of Golden Gate Bridge)
  • Window sashes paint color — Kelly Moore “Tandoori Red”
  • Custom star stained glass window — San Diego Stained Glass
  • Gas Lamp “the Ritz” — Bevolo
  • Garden design — Farallon Gardens
  • Entry Tile — Arto Tile
  • Entry Chair — Vintage
  • Star lamps — Meyda Lighting
  • Corten steel pattern for front gate laser cut by Lasernut in Norco, California. Fence design Alan Call.


  • Wall color — Benjamin Moore “Coventry Gray”
  • Trim Color — Benjamin Moore “Simply White”
  • Ceiling Color — Benjamin Moore “White Dove”
  • Velvet Sofa — Mod Shop MJD fabric in Patriot Blue
  • Ceiling lights living room —Swarovski; custom layout of Breeze, Kartik, and Bayou’s star
  • constellations
  • Moroccan Rug — Vintage from Etsy
  • Coffee table — Nick Alain
  • Sofa pillows — Round Top Antique Fair
  • 12×12 wooden support column — From the East Span of the Bay Bridge while it was being
  • dismantled
  • Gus modern Chair — Pendleton fabric
  • Antique and vintage books — Collected from local estate sales over the years
  • Antique wooden chair — Omega Salvage, Breeze reupholstered in Pendleton fabric
  • Hearth tile seconds — Heath Ceramics in Sausalito
  • Wood Flooring reclaimed 10” Douglas Fir — Vintage Timberworks


  • Moroccan rug — Vintage from Etsy
  • Dinding chairs — Vintage from Craigslist
  • Dining Table — Finished in linseed oil, slab from Wane + Flitch
  • Chandelier — Nick Alain
  • Folding Door system — Nanawall
  • Wood Floors reclaimed 10” planks— Vintage Timberworks in Temecula, California finished in tung oil
  • Custom bookshelves and handrail at stair — Designed and installed by Alan Call


  • Kitchen cabinets — Ramon Cornejo of RAMCO
  • Kitchen island reclaimed lumber — Vintage Timberworks in Temecula, California
  • Concrete Counter top — by It’s Concrete, Nick Relampagos
  • Island pendants — Vintage Hungarian from Nomadic Trading Company
  • Kitchen Tile — Popham Tile Martyn Lawrence Bullard Eastern Promises
  • Refrigerator — Sub Zero
  • Cabinet Color — Farrow and Ball “Stiffkey Blue”
  • Pantry Doors — Antique glazed with antique chicken wire glass found at Urban Ore, Berkeley
  • Antique O’Keefe and Merritt stove — Found on Craigslist and restored by Reliance Appliance in Berkeley
  • Copper faucet — Waterstone model 4410
  • Fats Domino painting — Karen Ocker
  • Vintage stools — Erik Buch from Tom Gorz collection in Seattle, Washington
  • Wooden Countertops — Home Depot maple butcher block


  • Yellow chair — Vintage Herman Miller from FB Marketplace
  • Shades — The Shade Store Pink Lemonade, color Sunshine
  • Vintage Artworks — Alameda Antique Fair and local estate sales
  • Vintage Vanity from — Alameda Antique Fair
  • Red fan — Vornado
  • Wall paint color — Benjamin Moore “White Dove”
  • Original Oak Floors
  • Closet door — Stripped and oiled by Breeze


  • Original 1920s bestagon tile
  • Original porcelain sink and tub
  • Towel hangar — Rejuvenation
  • Floral tile table — Antique from Breeze’s aunt and mentor, Melanie Woods (M Woods Design)
  • Linen shower curtain — Anthropologie
  • Original medicine cabinet
  • Custom stained glass window — San Diego Stained Glass
  • Original porcelain light fixture, bulb from Rejuvenation
  • Hand towel — Coyuchi


  • Droplet tile — Popham Tile, colored grout to match from Etsy seller, Chromacrete
  • Steel shower door — Antique. Stained glass glazed by Breeze’s dad, Daniel Braunschweig owner of Aluminum Window Systems, Inc.
  • Floor Tile — Andy Fleischman Fantastique
  • Brass shower fixtures — Watermark
  • White linen curtains — Etsy LUMIO studio
  • Brass curtain tie back — Vintage from Alameda Antique Fair
  • Wood plant stand — Vintage from Alameda Antique Fair
  • Clawfoot tub with mermaid feet — Antique refinished by Cermacoat
  • Shower ceiling tile — Bizazza tile
  • Brass curtain rod — Restoration Hardware
  • Glass pendant above tub — Seattle artist Russ Morgan
  • Brass clawfoot tub — Filler by Sunrise Specialty the Sink Factory, Berkeley, CA
  • French doors to WC — Antique cypress, glazed by Breeze, hung by Alan
  • Double basin laundry sink — Antique
  • Sink faucets — Rohl
  • Tile backsplash — Mercury Mosaics Medium Moroccan Fish Scales in Light Kiwi, Peacock
  • Green, Sea Mist
  • Brass fish towel holder — Antique
  • Brass sconces — Antique
  • Custom walnut medicine cabinet with wire glass — RAMCO cabinets
  • Custom steel sink stand designed and fabricated — Alan Call
  • Light switches throughout house — LeGrand


  • Tile inlay — Popham Tile, hex star in azure/indigo
  • Redwood slab table — Surfridge Design based in LA
  • Yellow stools — Bay Home Consignment Furniture
  • Blue Pendants — eBay antique
  • Utility sink original — I copper plated the legs
  • Counter top/work bench — Alameda Antique Fair
  • Carnival Art Print — From Havana
  • Pendants at sink — Nomadic Trading Company
  • The Great Lavante vintage poster — Framing at Sherman Art Gallery Venice CA
  • Bedframe — From the Wooden Duck in Berkeley
  • Articulating light — Antique
  • Kitchen faucet — From restaurant supply
  • Antique elevator door at bathroom
  • Daewoo mini refrigerator
  • Shelf brackets — Etsy
  • Original steel handrail — I sandblasted the paint off of it
  • Glasses —Anthropologie
  • coffee mugs — Heath Ceramics
  • Plant — Flowerland Berkeley
  • Star quilt on bed — Justina Blakeney
  • Basement High Voltage door — Reclaimed and modified-houses the media equipment
  • Coffee table — Arhaus in Chicago (when we lived there)
  • Sofa fabric — Pendleton, custom sewed by my bestie Jason Estala
  • Artwork — Gamera Eric Rewitzer linocut
  • Custom sofa with drawers — RAMCO cabinets
  • Blue Gunlocke chair — Vintage
  • Green chair Durham Armchair — Everly Quinn
  • Wall color — Benjamin Moore “White Dove”
  • Trim color — Benjamin Moore “Simply White”


  • Floor-to-ceiling tile in different lengths — Heath Ceramics. “Seconds” that I collected for a year.
  • Catchpole and Rye The Deluge high level cistern toilet
  • Clawfoot tub — Found at Rosebowl and restored. Feet copper plated
  • Copper tub filler — Newport Brass
  • Custom Copper tube tub surround — Alan Call
  • Pendleton towels
  • Green cabinet — Salvaged in New Orleans at the Bank Architectural
  • Small sink — Salvaged in Austin TX at Uncommon Objects
  • Salvaged mirror from Seattle at Earthwise
  • Pot filler — Watermark
  • Tub overflow and waste — Sunrise Specialty
  • Ceramic wall mount fixture — Home Depot
  • Vintage wood stool — Alameda Antique Fair


  • Utility sink — eBay (from old Chicago Firehouse)
  • Faucets — Re-built by The Sink Factory Berkeley
  • VIntage Moroccan Rug — Etsy
  • Two black pendants — Nomadic Trading, rewired by Alan Call
  • Waste bin — Antique store
  • Farmhouse table — Alameda Antique Fair
  • Grinding wheel — Oklahoma Antique store
  • Antique bench — Alameda Antique Fair, refinished and reupholstered by Breeze
  • Counter rolling — Alameda Antique Fair
  • Black Smeg refrigerator —
  • Antique Wedgewood stove — Craigslist restored by Reliance Appliance in Berkeley
  • CAUTION Men at Work sign — Vintage
  • Vintage suitcase — Found at Alameda Antique Fair
  • Antique brackets — Etsy
  • Bonjour canister — Anthropologie


  • Yellow wall color — Farrow and Ball “Dayroom”
  • Two antique Venetian mirrors — Alameda Antique Fair
  • Bogul original painting — Michele Mikesell (engagement gift from Kartik to Breeze)
  • Sofa — Mod Shop in Trend Hollywood velvet, crushed grey (makes into a bed)
  • Vintage crate table — Alameda Antique Fair, reupholstered in Pendleton fabric by Breeze
  • Rug — Homegoods
  • Needlepoint pillow — Justina Blakeney
  • Scottish Mid Century Modern Teak Credenza — Beithcraft
  • Typewriter — Vintage
  • End table — Wane + Flitch in Tacoma WA
  • Original oak hardwood floors

Thanks Breeze!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.