Joyce’s Modern & Personalized West Oakland Loft

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Name: Joyce Chen and her fiancé
Location: West Oakland—Oakland, California
Size: 1,500 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Rented

When Joyce moved into her now-fiancé’s West Oakland loft a couple of years ago, she knew it would be a challenge to have the space embrace both their styles. The loft previously had a personal gym and bar area in the living room and didn’t quite give off the warm and homey vibe Joyce wanted in their home. Fast forward a couple years, and it’s clear that Joyce accomplished the difficult task of preserving the elements her fiancé enjoyed while adding lots of personalized pieces that provide character.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

The loft space features many DIY and custom-made pieces, which are the couple’s favorite elements. The modern dining table, for example, was made by Joyce’s fiancé and his friend using a giant piece of solid cherry with a maple frame. Many of the pieces in the loft are also made from reclaimed wood: the coffee table, the coat closet at the entry, and the dining room bench. All of these pieces put together, plus the modern details of the space—such as the ceiling’s wood beams and the bedroom skylight—make the loft feel like home.

“We love the high ceilings, the open floor plan, and the amount of natural light in this apartment, and it’s the perfect size for the two of us,” they said.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Mix of high and low, old and new, rustic and modern

Inspiration: Interior design blogs, books, and magazines

Favorite Element: Having more space than living in San Francisco and two parking spots!

Biggest Challenge: Tiny kitchen, limited storage, and one shared bathroom

What Friends Say: That we have a lot of booze

Proudest DIY: My fiancé and his friend Andrew made the kitchen island and dining room table.

Biggest Indulgence: A highly impractical white rug in the living room that I once shattered an entire bottle of tequila on (oops!)

Best Advice: Start with inspiration photos so you have a sense of the big picture rather than randomly just buying pieces you like.

Dream Sources: Anything from, Dwell magazine, Kelly Wearstler, Maison & Objet Paris


(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Reclaimed-wood armoire: The Wooden Duck in Berkeley
  • Console table: Crate & Barrel
  • Stone-top side table: Crate & Barrel
  • Arrows in vase: vintage
  • Mask under glass cloche: hand-painted by friend
  • Glass demijohn: Domino
  • Fur throw: IKEA
  • White basket: CB2
  • Grey area rug:
  • Reclaimed-wood storage bench: This was actually a media console from the Wooden Duck that we re-purposed as an entryway bench for shoes.
  • Mini terrarium: Utsuwa Floral in San Francisco
  • Earth and moon globes on bench: vintage
  • White concrete planters: Terrene Products on Etsy
  • Art/light installation on wall: made by an artist who used to live in the space before us
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Couch: custom from Furniture Envy in San Francisco
  • Red pillow on couch: Crate & Barrel
  • Cream and grey pillow on couch: Design Within Reach
  • Throw on couch: Design Within Reach
  • Surfboard: Hess
  • Tall white standing bookshelf: Blu Dot
  • Coffee table: Crate & Barrel
  • White flokati rug: Gilt Group
  • Pendant light: custom from Dutton Brown
  • Terrarium: Utsuwa Floral in San Francisco
  • Acrylic side table: ’60s vintage
  • Desk: CB2
  • Chair: CB2
  • Sign above desk: vintage
  • Chevron rug under desk: Gilt Group
  • Oil can lamp on desk: made by friend
  • Turntable: Clear Audio
  • Large turntable shelf/record holder: Crate & Barrel
  • Console table behind couch: CB2
  • Speakers: Vienna Acoustics
  • Jack paperweight: Tom Dixon
  • Acrylic dish: Alexandra von Furstenberg
  • Everlast punching bag: vintage
  • Vintage gold pineapple: gift from friends
  • Black candle: Odin NYC in Posala
  • Coasters: purchased during our last trip to Tokyo
  • Red ice tongs on wall: vintage
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Table: custom-made by my fiancé and his friend Andrew out of one solid piece of cherry with maple trim
  • Liquor shelves: custom
  • Red chairs: DIY with old wood chairs we sanded and painted cherry red
  • Blue tufted-top stools holding books and artwork: Target
  • Bench: reclaimed wood from Mt. Hood Woodworks
  • Copper bar cart: Dot & Bo
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Stove: vintage 1960s Garland stove
  • Ceramic dishes: Heath Ceramics
  • Kitchen island: custom-made by my fiancé and his friend Andrew
  • Island stools:
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Hanging light fixture in closet: vintage 1970s
  • Sconces: Rejuvenation
  • Bench at end of bed: Crate & Barrel
  • White armchair: custom from Furniture Envy in San Francisco
  • White and gray footstool: Habitables on Etsy
  • Grey cashmere throw: Tahari Home
  • Black and white pillow: Marimekko
  • LED reading lamp next to white armchair: Design Within Reach
  • Collapsible wood magazine holder: Crate & Barrel
  • Gold cat jar: Current Elliot for PBTeen
  • Faux fur throw on bed:
  • Sheets: Frette
  • Teak dresser: The Wooden Duck
  • Clamp reading lamps: Lamps Plus
  • Cowhide-covered bench in closet: Etsy
  • Round grey wool basket in closet: Rejuvenation
  • Gray baskets under desk: custom from Loop Design Studio on Etsy
  • Baskets in closet: Muji
  • Plastic organizers in closet: Muji
  • Rolling white Elfa drawers: Container Store
  • Hanging square mirror in closet: CB2
  • Dipped wooden side stool: Domino
  • Side table with gold legs: CB2
  • Tall standing mirror: CB2
  • White ceramic stacked jewelry holder on dresser: Kate Spade Home
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Hanging light fixture in closet: vintage 1970s
  • Gray baskets under desk: custom from Loop Design Studio on Etsy
  • White desk accessories: West Elm
  • Wood desk chair on left: West Elm
  • Green desk chair: vintage
  • Brass desk lamp with marble base: West Elm
  • Amp: Bel Canto
  • Copper speakers: Orb
  • Wireless headset for TV: Sennheiser
  • Limited-edition Tom Waits photograph: Rock Paper Photo
  • Sophia Loren black and white proof sheet: Magnum Photos
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Joyce defines the loft’s style as “a mix of high and low, old and new, rustic and modern.” (Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

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Thanks, Joyce!