Sara & Rich’s Colorful, Calm & Sunny California Haven

published Jan 13, 2016
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(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

Name: Sara and Rich Combs
Location: Marina District — San Francisco, CA
Size: 850 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years; Rented

Having collected each piece in their apartment one-by-one over the last six years, Sara and Rich Combs have created a home with a distinctly colorful, eclectic feel. Gravitating towards sleek, Mid-century silhouettes and furniture design, the couple have designed each room to pay homage to the bygone era in its own way, all while maintaining a modern spin. The space is also influenced by the places they have been, as well as the ones they would like to travel to one day, with colorful textiles from around the globe found throughout the home.

(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

Both visual designers and artists by trade, Sara and Rich have approached furnishing their home as an on-going collaborative project between the two of them. Having realized their passion for interior design in the process of outfitting the apartment, they recently bought a Hacienda-style home in Joshua Tree and, over the course of just a few months, designed the space together with a clear vision. Stay tuned for our tour of their rustic desert abode, The Joshua Tree House, in the coming weeks!

(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Plant-filled, Mid-century, and eclectic.

Inspiration: Calm and sunny California afternoons.

Favorite Element: I love the afternoon sunlight, and the wainscoting in the living room.

Biggest Challenge: Our apartment is a rental, so we’ve designed the space around some elements we would have changed if we owned. We would have loved to update all of the lighting and renovate the bathroom, but our options are limited.

What Friends Say: Your place is always photo-ready!

Biggest Embarrassment: We’re not big fans of the lighting that came with the apartment, and we’ve never invested in replacing it. We also never updated the paint color in the hallway or kitchen from the original apartment paint.

Proudest DIY: The horse painting in our bedroom, which was painted by Rich.

Biggest Indulgence: Our biggest indulgence was definitely the Eames chair in the living room.

Best Advice: Only bring things into your home that make you happy!

Dream Sources: Alameda Flea market, Stuff and Past Perfect in San Francisco, 1st Dibs, West Elm, and eBay


(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)


  • Living Room: Olympic Lunar Eclipse
  • Dining room feature wall: custom color
  • Bedroom: Benjamin Moore Cloud White
(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)


  • Lucite console table: CB2
  • Planter: Eric Trine
  • Ceramic vases: The Granite
  • Glass tray: Stuff in San Francisco
(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)


  • Couch: Room & Board
  • American flag: Alameda Flea Market
  • Pillows: eBay, Guildery
  • Rug: West Elm
  • Planter: Case Study
  • Vintage planters: Stuff in San Francisco
  • Vintage lamps: Past Perfect in San Francisco
  • Barcelona chair: Alameda Flea Market
  • Eames lounge chair: Design Within Reach
  • Coffee table: vintage from a small shop in SF
  • Side tables: West Elm
  • Brass animals: flea market
  • Buddha sculpture: bought in Southeast Asia
  • Artwork: flea market, travels
(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)


  • Table: CB2
  • Console: West Elm
  • Chairs: Design Within Reach via Craigslist
  • Cowhide: IKEA
  • Planter: flea market
  • Wooden fruit bowl: Target
  • Mid-century chair: Alameda Flea Market
  • Artwork: flea market, travels
(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)


  • Cookbook: Sunday Suppers
  • Planters: Made by a friend
(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)


  • Bed: West Elm
  • Vintage side tables: bought in NYC
  • Bedside work lamps: Design House Stockholm
  • Bedspread: Etsy
  • Planter: Case Study
  • Sheepskin rugs: IKEA
  • Vintage dresser: Past Perfect in San Francisco
  • Rug: Alameda Flea Market
  • Dresser lamp: Schoolhouse Electric
  • Clocks: flea market, eBay
  • Edwardian case for plants: Paxton Gate in San Francisco
  • Pillow: Aelfie
  • Painting: by Rich
(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)
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The bright Reese Sofa that the couple found at Room & Board is the colorful anchor of the living room. (Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

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Thanks, Sara & Rich!