Victorian Style in an Oakland Apartment of Wonder & Oddities

Victorian Style in an Oakland Apartment of Wonder & Oddities

Esteban Cortez
Oct 21, 2017
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Name: Caitlin Hackett and Dave McHale
Location: Cleveland Heights — Oakland, California
Size: 950 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Rented

When Caitlin and Dave shared photos of their home in a House Call post earlier this year, Apartment Therapy readers wanted to see more of their wonder-filled Oakland home. Stepping into their spacious two-bedroom apartment, it's obvious that their tastes and experiences have influenced their home's décor. Hints of Caitlin's love for nature and wilderness—which flourished as she grew up on the northern coast of California and Dave's photography influences—historical allegory and religious symbolism- are scattered throughout their apartment.

As visual artists, Caitlin and Dave say it's important to enjoy every moment they spend in their apartment. "It was important to us both to get an apartment with good light, and a large enough living space that I could have my art studio and Dave could do photo shoots inside," Caitlin said. They both work from home, but are just a short walk downhill to dozens of cafes and bars when they want to work in a different environment.

They found the apartment after a long and emotional search in the Bay Area's competitive rental market, and they were ecstatic to finally find an apartment with hardwood floors, an eat-in kitchen, and great light. "We have worked hard to create a space that is an escape from the world, a cabinet of curiosities and a place to inspire wonder," Caitlin said. "But it's still a work-in-progress!"

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Victorian Eclectic

Inspiration: Cabinet of Curiosities, pictorialist photography, American Museum of Natural History, late Victorian-era Art Salons.

Favorite Element: Our collection of art and oddities from friends and fellow artists.

Biggest Challenge: Dealing with hanging art and sculptures on our crumbly old plaster walls.

What Friends Say: "Your apartment is pretty, but creepy."

Biggest Embarrassment: The disaster of stuff heaped in our front closet.

Proudest DIY: Our vintage apple crates from the antique fair that we turned into our beautiful liquor display cabinets in the kitchen.

Biggest Indulgence: Buying original art and taxidermy.

Best Advice: No matter where you live, even if it's a rental, make it your own. Every moment you spend in your space is time that you should be enjoying.

Dream Sources: Christie's and Sotheby's Auction houses, Restoration Hardware, West Elm and all the antique furniture at the Alameda Point Antiques Faire



  • Kitchen: Clark and Kensington Lewisporte in eggshell
  • Living room: Royal Interiors by Ace Tabby Cat Gray in matte



  • Black bookshelves: Ikea Expedit
  • Silver couch: Craigslist, originally Urban Outfitters
  • Navy blue couch: Craigslist
  • Flat file coffee table: a gift from a friend whose company was getting rid of them in NYC
  • Planters and plants: Crimson Horticultural Rarities in Oakland
  • Elephant and fawn throw pillows: Fauna
  • Vintage mirror display tray: Uruhu furniture in Oakland
  • Cluster glass orb chandelier: West Elm
  • Vintage claw foot stool: Alameda Point Antiques Faire
  • Grey area rug:
  • Vintage deer head taxidermy: Alameda Point Antiques Faire (his name is Frederick)
  • All skulls and bones: gifts from friends who are forest rangers, river raft guides, and rock climbers, or were discovered while on our own hiking and camping trips.



  • Kitchen table came: Uruhu furniture in Oakland
  • Kitchen chairs: estate sale, reupholstered in fabric from Ikea
  • White side table: Ikea
  • Hanging copper geometric planter: Urban Outfitters
  • Vintage bird and insect prints: Paxton Gate in San Francisco
  • Wall mounted jar storage units: DIY project inspired by DIY Playbook, wood from found pallets, jars from Ace Hardware affixed with hose clamps
  • Branch: found on the side of the road in Oakland, copper hooks and wire from Ace Hardware
  • White honey comb pattern vase: West Elm



  • Queen bed frame:
  • Floral antique chairs: Uruhu Furniture
  • Orange antique chair: eBay
  • Black glass-top corner table: found on the street in Brooklyn
  • Two-headed bat in a bell jar: Evolution in NYC
  • Grey and green area rug:
  • Both vintage lamps: found on the street and had to be rewired but were otherwise in great shape.
  • Black coffee table: Ikea
  • Plank bench at the foot of the bed: DIY project. We found the raw plank of wood on the side of the road, stained it dark brown, and then used polyurethane to give it the high gloss. The spindle legs are from Ace Hardware, the claw feet were ordered from Etsy.
  • Dusty rose velvet settee: Craigslist
  • Iron and wood side table: Alameda Point Antiques Faire
  • Round black side table: Target
  • Sheer white curtains:
  • Grey duvet cover:
  • Vintage brass candle sconces: Salvation Army in San Leandro
  • Vintage plaster mannequin arms: Housing Works thrift shop in Manhattan, NY
  • Grey geometric throw pillow on the settee: Target
  • Globes: collected from yard sales and the antique fair



  • Branch: found while hiking, painted white, and wall-mounted to hold jewelry
  • Vintage panoramic map: yard sale
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

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Thanks, Caitlin & Dave!

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