5 Roommates, 0 Closets and Lots of Clever Storage Solutions in San Francisco

updated Apr 30, 2019

5 Roommates, 0 Closets and Lots of Clever Storage Solutions in San Francisco

updated Apr 30, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Shelbie Engelgau, Blake Cox, MJ Tantingco, Myles Huff (and fifth roommate Brian, who isn’t featured in the tour)
Location: Oceanview — San Francisco, California
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months, rented

House tour cover

Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox

Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter

Shelbie’s move into this San Francisco apartment required no driving: She and her roommates only had to schlep their furniture up a small flight of stairs from the unit below into this newly remodeled four-bedroom upstairs unit. Quite the upgrade from the two-bedroom apartment she squeezed into with her boyfriend Blake and their friends MJ and Myles…for two years! Not surprisingly, after the upstairs unit opened up, they jumped on it. “It was a super easy transition and kind of bizarre at first since all of the fixtures and furnishings were basically the same,” Shelbie says. “Our good friends moved into our old spot, and now our life is basically a sitcom.”

When Shelbie first sent me photos of her room, I assumed it was a small studio— that is, a very stylish one. The photos showed a small office area, makeshift closet, spacious sleeping area and lots of storage: the basic components of a small studio apartment. So when I showed up to their home and she showed me MJ and Myles’ bedrooms, I was surprised but also in admiration at how these four busy students showcased their styles in a bright and refreshing way, all while keeping the space looking cohesive.

Shelbie is an interior design student, so she’s always paid careful attention to her surroundings, and it helps that two of her good friends do the same. “We love our space for many reasons,” she says. “Its functionality, comfort, and style are great.” In addition, the apartment has a huge backyard (a rarity in San Francisco), tons of light, proximity to the train and bus, and has amazing views of the colorful Oceanview hills. Sure, it’s a little far from central areas of the city, but it has all they need for now. It’s a pretty nice set-up.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Modern-bohemian-poor-college-student (ha!)

Inspiration: Colors, woven textures, plants, architecture and furniture design from past decades, contemporary painters, film photography, fashion design, and the eclecticism of San Francisco in general.

Favorite Element: The natural that light fills our rooms throughout the day perfectly.

Biggest Challenge: Trying to keep a shared space between five (or more) people even relatively clean. Everything accumulates too fast!

What Friends Say: “Let me know when someone moves out so I can move in!”

Biggest Embarrassment: Either the constant flow of dirty dishes or the bathrooms being in the kitchen.

Proudest DIY: Either Blake’s record stand I (Shelbie) made a few years back or our make-shift closet/dressing room.

Biggest Indulgence: I can’t stop buying plants!

Best Advice: No one is too broke to have a comfortable and attractive home. Craigslist and thrift stores are great resources, especially in this city!

Dream Sources: Oh wow, this list could go on forever! My dream home would be full of School House Electric Lighting, Normann Copenhagen, Muuto, and really anything Scandinavian inspired.


Accessory ladder — Bed Bath & Beyond
Print above ladder — Libby Wood
Framed ink drawing — MJ Tantingco
Magazine pages — Interview and 1988: The New Wave Punk Rock Explosion

DHP Brent Linen Futon — Overstock
TV Stand — Bought on craigslist and painted it myself
Crate – Home Depot
Pillows – Urban Outfitters, Ikea, and Loom and Kiln
Rug and floor poof – Urban Outfitters
Side Table – Ikea
Eames Inspired Armchair – Overstock
Sideboard – Thrifted (painted and distressed by my mom!)
Round Mirror – Thrifted (and painted)
Abstract Woman Painting
Small Blue Ink Illustrations – Shelbie Engelgau
“Things Will Work Out” Print – People I’ve Loved

Island on Casters – DIY creation using Ikea table top and World Market Carts
Stools – thrifted
Table, Bench, and Chairs – Ikea
Rug – Urban Outfitters
Large Black Planter – Home Depot and hand-painted by me
Vintage Glassware and Moca Pot on Shelf
Tapestry found at Alameda Flea Market Ceramic
Fruit Bowl – Totem
Modern Pioneer Pendant Light – Target

Record player console – DIY
Macrame – friend made and gifted to me
Book lamp – DIY
Snake plant + white planter – Sloat Garden Center
Rug in front of shelf and record player – gifted from grandparents (bed and Nightstand side of room)
Boob pillow – Gravel & Gold
Shag pillow and mustard throw – Urban Outfitters
Cigarette packs from international travel (Switzerland, Japan, Italy, etc.)
Many books – gifted from grandfather
Small round green vase – Heath ceramics
Rug at foot of bed – Urban Outfitters
Rug near nightstand – eBay
(Fireplace) mirrors -World Market
Smaller succulents – Sloat Garden Center
Boob planter – Group Partner
Bottle vase – the granite
Copper geometric planter – Urban Outfitters
Gold foil print in white frame – YAC
(Dressing area) desk chair – Overstock
Desk accessories – Anthropologie
Lamp – Urban Outfitters
Rug near dresser – eBay
All furniture – Ikea

Furniture – Ikea
Floral print chair – Salvation Army
Bedding – Muji

Hanging plant shelf – DIY
Macrame – DIY
Upper shirt rack – DIY
Painting and woman illustration – Myles Huff
grey speckled planter – Norden ceramics
furniture – Ikea

Thanks, Shelbie, Blake, MJ, and Myles!

Share Your Style:

See More:
⇒ Recent House Tours
House Tours on Pinterest