A Harmonious Blend of Styles in Oakland

published Nov 5, 2016
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Name: Sam E., Stephanie Libanati and Lorena Jimenez
Location: Lower Bottoms — Oakland, California
Size: 1,610 square feet
Years lived in: 8 months; Rented

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When Sam E. was looking for an apartment earlier this year, she felt so lucky when she hit it off with Stephanie and Lorena on the day they met. Immediately after introducing themselves, they spent hours talking over glasses of wine, and they realized that their similar yet different styles combined would make a lovely and cozy home they and their guests would enjoy.

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Sam E., Stephanie, and Lorena have been living in their bright and cozy Oakland apartment since January 2015. (Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Though they all have slightly different inspirations, they’ve managed to create a space that is pleasing to all of their tastes. Sam E.’s textiles, Lorena’s photographs, and Stephanie’s art and macramé pieces are displayed throughout the apartment, creating a harmonious blend of styles.

Most of the furniture and art in their home is thrifted, handmade, or family heirlooms. One of their proudest DIYs is the mid-century-inspired bar Sam E. made with the help of two of her friends. “We love making our guests drinks,” she said. By the end of the photo shoot, the three roommates were sitting in their bright living room/kitchen sipping cocktails, much like the day they first met. Though they’ve only been living in the apartment since January (Sam E. has lived in eight different Bay Area apartment since 2008), they really hope this one sticks.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: We all have different styles, so we’d say our house has elements of 1970s Bohemia, with bold Mid-century pieces and family heirlooms thrown into the mix.

Stephanie: Argentina, my motherland
Lorena: Nature, my cat, Sombra, and my hometown, Barcelona
Sam E.: Vintage textile magazines

Favorite Element: Wicker chairs and the hallway bar. We love making our guests drinks!

Biggest Challenge: Space constraints. Our apartment is so small!

What Friends Say: Our friends are constantly impressed with how well we decorate the space and manage to make it cozy and not cluttered.

Biggest Embarrassment: Stephanie says the litter box is the biggest embarrassment, but Sam E. bets you couldn’t spot it.

Proudest DIY:
Stephanie: Installing/finding the perfect curtain to hide our linen closet clutter
Lorena: The skull planters. Also very proud of letting that vine taking over my room ceiling
Sam E: The Mid-century-inspired bar that I made with the help of two of my dearest friends.

Biggest Indulgence: Bedroom curtains and plants

Best Advice: “Function Over Fashion”; “Recycle creatively, give the old stuff a new life. Have fun.”; and “Don’t buy it if you don’t love it!”

Dream Sources: Everything at the Alameda Point Antiques Fair!



  • Large mirror: gift from friend
  • Hanging plant: Orchard Supply


  • Mint table: Urban Outfitters
  • Vintage love seat: Salvation Army
  • Coffee table: IKEA
  • Vintage seafoam Naugahyde chair: Craigslist
  • Rug: family heirloom
  • Weed bag art: made by Stephanie
  • Cups: thrifted
  • Utensils: a Mid-century modern store
  • Sugar and Flour containers: garage sale
  • Art above sink: Matisse Ibarra
  • Suitcases/luggage: thrifted


  • Wicker chair: Savers
  • Vintage side cart/zine rack: Urban Ore
  • Curtains: Savers
  • Rug (originally a blanket): Urban Ore
  • Wicker stool: Goodwill
  • Wicker plant stand: Community Thrift on Mission Street in San Francisco
  • Photography: by Lorena
  • Jewelry: thrifted, handmade
  • Vinyl clocks: Prettygoodtime on Etsy
  • Plants: Flowercraft Garden Center, Utsuwa Floral Design, Orchard Supply, farmer’s markets


  • Macramé: by Stephanie
  • Weed bag art: by Stephanie
  • Blanket: Pendleton
  • Purple record rack: Urban Outfitters, with custom paint
  • Teal bookshelf: Urban Ore
  • Kilim rug: Urban Ore


  • Enamel shelf brackets: Bend Goods
  • China cabinet: San Pablo Flea Market
  • Haywood Wakefield desk chair: Craigslist
  • White litter box (used as a bedside table): Craigslist
  • Kilim kug: Levant Rug Co.
  • Yellow ceramic hanging lamp: Urban Ore
  • French enamel floral chandelier: Bella Vita
  • Taupe office furniture: Alameda Antique Fair, Urban Ore, Etsy
  • Latch hook pillow: by Sam E.
  • Knotted shawl above bed: Pretty Penny
  • Cassette shelf: the thrift gods
  • Plants: Crimson Horticulture in Temescal, Flowerland on Solano Avenue


  • Basket used as a planter: Doug Johnston
  • Blue shelf: Urban Outfitters

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Thanks, Sam, Stephanie & Lorena!