Christina & Corey's Crafty Take on a Courtyard Apartment

Christina & Corey's Crafty Take on a Courtyard Apartment

Bethany Nauert
Jun 22, 2011

Name: Christina and Corey
Location: Santa Monica, California
Size: 580 square feet (1 bedroom + 1 bath)
Years lived in: 9 months — rent

Christina and her boyfriend Corey live in a modern updated retro building within a classic Southern California courtyard setting. Together they have created a crafty modern home and a double office in the wide space of their living room. While their decor is contemporary, the charm lies in the vintage touches of the original design.

Blue, teal, green and white are the colors that play a role in the apartment and Christina has found ways to use fun bright textiles throughout. I particularly love their bedroom for its cool and serene feeling.

She created some of the artwork as well. For one project, she copied images out of a Mad Men printed theme book and translated them into fun wall art. She also found fabrics on line and turned them into wall decorations for the kitchen. Both are clever, cute and affordable ways to add charm to your home — something that Christina and Corey are clearly talented at pulling off!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: It's a little eclectic. I try to keep the furniture pretty streamlined and contemporary so I can be a little more wild with the accessories. I like mid-century modern, a little Hollywood glamour, bold and graphic patterns, some hints of kawaii, along with some more eccentric and silly pieces.

Inspiration: I'm addicted to Young House Love. I love Apartment Therapy, obviously, but I actually get more ideas from ohdeedoh even though I don't have kids. I'm drawn to the bright colors and bold patterns. I get a lot of inspiration from fabric stores — I designed our kitchen around the fabric I bought for the kitchen curtains.

Favorite Element: I love our bedroom. After years of not being allowed to paint my apartment, I love waking up to pretty walls every day. And I think the black and white elements look great with the bright blue.

Biggest Challenge: At first the biggest challenge was finding room for two work spaces (Corey works at home full time and I work at home on a regular basis) in a one bedroom apartment without sacrificing living spaces. Corey also has tons of Star Wars stuff that he wanted to have on display so I wanted to find a way for him to keep his stuff out but not let it overwhelm the apartment. Luckily our living room is pretty long so we could split it into a living area and a work area. The Expedit bookcase is perfect because it provides storage, gives us distinct spaces, but doesn't block light or make the room feel closed off. And it lets Corey have all his stuff out where he can see it, but otherwise mostly blocks it from view.

What Friends Say: Everyone thinks it's cute and fun, and guys always love Corey's "man cave." And we've had multiple people ask us to tell them if another unit in the building ever opens up.

Biggest Embarrassment: All the things I can't change because it's a rental like fluorescent lighting in the kitchen, rusty medicine cabinet in the bathroom, and a dated and grungy looking fan in the bedroom. Also, it's embarrassing how quickly the place gets dirty- buying a white couch and dark furniture was not the smartest decision I ever made.

Proudest DIY: I really like how the mail sorter turned out, and I love our wall of Mad Men pictures.

Biggest Indulgence: Probably upgrading to a queen sized bed.

Best Advice: Don't limit yourself to what's already out there or to what objects were originally designed to do. Some of my favorite aspects of the house are things I made because I couldn't find what I wanted (like the bulletin board/mail sorter in the entry) or things that were originally designed for some other purpose (Easter decorations as office storage, ramekins to organize small items in the entry, book pages as wall art).

Dream Sources: Jonathan Adler, definitely. I also love Z Gallerie.

Resources of Note:


    • Bedroom: Behr, Ice Flower
    • Living room: Glidden, Tea and Honey


    • Expedit shelving/bookcase, rug, vases, basket: Ikea
    • Containers: Home Goods
    • Bulletin board/mail sorter, wreath: DIY


    • Couch, dvd rack, lamp: Ikea
    • TV stand: Target
    • Coffee table, trunk: craigslist, DIY re-finish/re-paint
    • Pillows, curtains: DIY
    • Star Wars prints: etsy artist handz


    • Table, chairs, kitchen cart, tiered tray, mirror: Ikea
    • Chair cushions, curtains, wall art, towel, magazine boxes, hall lampshade: DIY
    • Salt and pepper shakers: vintage from etsy seller Sterling Quest


    • Nightstands, mirror, curtains, duvet cover: Ikea
    • Chair: Craigslist (originally from Target)
    • Bookshelf: Ikea with DIY backing using Target wrapping paper
    • Lamps: Target with DIY lampshade
    • Ottoman: Target
    • Glass jar, bird cage, lantern: bought at a friend's garage sale
    • Pillowcases: DIY
    • Portrait: drawn by Corey
    • Decal: etsy artist Walldecors


    • Expedit divider/bookcase, desk, bookcase, chairs, lamps, display case, boxes: Ikea
    • Wall art: Ikea frames, prints scanned from Mad Men the Illustrated World by Dyna Moe
    • Decal: etsy artist Janey Mac

Thanks, Christina and Corey!

Images: Bethany Nauert

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