Bye Bye Bachelor Pad: A Couple’s Cozy Apartment in Oakland

updated Feb 19, 2019

Bye Bye Bachelor Pad: A Couple’s Cozy Apartment in Oakland

updated Feb 19, 2019
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Name: Christine Martin, David Marino
Location: Rockridge area — Oakland, California
Size: 650 square feet
Years lived in: Renting 3 years

Christine and David love their home in the heart of Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood for a lot of reasons. They’re within walking distance of great shops, restaurants and bars. Their apartment is one of three units in a multi-family building built in 1912, and it’s packed with tons of original historic charm, like bay windows, hardwood floors and a fireplace (that works!). Christine says there’s a “sweet back patio great for taking in the afternoon sun and having morning coffee.” They live in a vibrant community, and their warm, rustic modern home fits right in.

“My favorite room is our bedroom — the dusty/neutral color palette is calming and I finally found the perfect Turkish carpet lumbar pillow as an accent. I also love our caned club chair bought at a local thrift shop for $40 and reupholstered in a fun fern print. Around the rest of the apartment there are treasured pieces from my time living overseas (Korean console, Tunisian art, Laotian steam rice basket), small trinkets we’ve purchased together, and books we just can’t part with. It’s taken about a year to get it feeling just right and it so does,” Christine, the co-founder of Decorilla and the owner of The Good Abode, writes.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Before I moved in with David, the interior style was masculine; definitely a bachelor’s pad. Together, we essentially redesigned our home completely, merging respective pieces and purchasing new and gently used items. I’d say we lean towards eclectic with a rustic modern feel. We both love nature and it’s important to have elements that remind us of it like wood finishes, landscape artwork, collected shells + stones, and plants (lots of them!).

Inspiration: All that embraces the world and travel inspires me. Travel feeds my soul. Places like Greece, Denmark, and Bali speak to the designer in me. Our home has treasured pieces from my time living overseas as an international teacher (Korean console, Tunisian art, Laotian sticky rice basket). These global pieces along with local treasures like the chest made of reclaimed wood from our local flea not only decorate but tell a personal story. I love that.

In terms of people, LA interior designer, Amber Lewis, creates spaces I want to live in all the time! I love the way she makes magic with modern pieces and global touches from textiles and artisan pieces. Victoria Smith from SFgirlbybay is a blogger sensation whose Instagram is a work of art; I love following her on her travels and seeing design from her lens. Lastly, Sara and Rich from Joshua Tree House embody a sense of adventure and love of curating beautiful spaces/experiences in a distinct desert environment. I admire that!

Favorite Element: The dusty/neutral desert color palette of our bedroom is my favorite design element. With white walls as the backdrop the nude shades with muted orange and sage hues are calming. After a lot of hunting, I finally found the perfect Turkish carpet lumbar pillow as the accent that brings all those colors together and defines the desired mood.

Biggest Challenge: Working with 650 square feet is a challenge, especially when 60 of that is an entryway. Storage is precious so creating space savvy solutions is a must. We selected a great bench for storing shoes in our entry hallway as well as a sofa with ottoman storage for throws.

As an online interior designer, I work from home quite a bit. Having a space that feels both spacious and inspiring is important to me. It took a while to get our space to feel just right, but it so does!

Biggest win: I love vintage finds and gently used pieces. A local thrift store had a sweet and worn barrel chair that I brought home. It had good bones and a lovely caned back; all it needed was to shed its tired yellow velvet fabric. So, I took it to a local design + upholstery shop and had it revamped with a great fern print. Now, it’s a focal piece in our bedroom corner. Surrounded by plants and accompanied by an Asian-style basket, it gives off a little tropical/global flavor.

Biggest Embarrassment: Going accent wall crazy.

After two successful paint selections where one wall in our living room was painted blue and one in our entry was painted a nice rust, I got a little greedy. Our bedroom went through several design phases and one included my obsession with an accent green. I settled on something between sage and avocado and lived with it all over our largest wall for a month. It wasn’t right; made the room much darker and from a certain angle in the living room the view of orange, blue and green felt maddening.

Once it was back to its original white, design options opened up perfectly.

Proudest DIY: The nook next to the fireplace was underestimated with a sole tall standing bookshelf. I decided it needed a little more character. Since we rent, wallpaper is not allowed so I looked into adhesive wall coverings and found one with a perfect subtle geometric pattern that could be removed easily in the future. I then switched out the existing shelf for a lower industrial style one made from reclaimed wood. To add height, a floating wall shelf holds more books and decor pieces. The small glass table lamp gives off the perfect glow to make this small area stand out.

Best Advice: Don’t get caught up in rules or trends. Use them as guiding but not limiting instruments. Identify what you love and makes you happy: love of a piece, love of a color, love of a style and go from there; make it your inspiration. Be willing to experiment, move things around, ask for advice. And, finally, whatever you do, put a plant in it…homes really do come to life with something organic and natural.

The fictional character that would be most comfortable in your home: A grown-up Lucy Harmon (Liv Tyler) from Stealing Beauty. Her openness to and curiosity of the world shapes her. Her style is simple and natural. Her personality is reflective and poetic. I think all of these things describe my home and I could see her on the sofa, reading a book or writing thoughts down with lit candles, a hot cup of tea and an old record playing in the background.


Kelly Moore — Antique White 49 (all walls except for accents)
Kelly Moore — Indian River 985 (fireplace mantel)
Benjamin Moore — New York State of Mind 805 (LR accent wall)
Benjamin Moore — Rust 2175-30 (Entry accent wall)

Torres Wool Kilim Runner (Iron) — West Elm
Wu Console Table — Wayfair
Storage bench — CB2 (floor model)
Small Reclaimed Wood Wall Art — Adrift In My Mind
African Mudcloth Lumbar Pillow — Ebb and Thread

Henry Sectional Sofa – Crate & Barrel
African Mudcloth Pillows – Homegirl Collection
Striped Kilim Lumbar – Sarikaya Kilim Pillows
Industrial Floor Lamp — IKEA
Accordion Side Table — Urban Outfitters
Modernist Table Lamp — West Elm
Numi Taper Candle Holders — CB2
Adhesive Wallpaper — Livettes
Floating Wall Shelf — Target

Hatch Dining Table — EQ3
Dining Chairs — EQ3 ( no linger available)
Chevron Wall Art — Crate & Barrel

Turkish Lumbar Pillow – Sarikaya Kilim Pillows
Velvet Accent Pillows — IKEA
Aiden Night Stand — Cost Plus World Market
Aiden Dresser – Cost Plus World Market
Area Rug – EQ3
Desk — IKEA
Chair Upholstery — Mignonne
Print — Society 6
Mirrored Arrows — Target
Brass Glass Frame — CB2

Thanks, Christine and David!

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