Name: Ashley, Matt, and Zucca (the cat) Spinelli
Location: Central Haight — San Francisco, California
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: Renting 2.5 years
Ashley and Matt moved to San Francisco from NYC, and wanted to live within biking distance of their jobs, while also having the ability to walk everywhere. Fortunately, the Lower Haight is centrally located within easy access to public transportation and urban thoroughfares and surrounded by four of the city's best parks.
Ashley found this apartment after the couple spent a year living in a "junior one bedroom" (code for really tiny overpriced apartment) nearby. In the midst of wedding planning, she grew frustrated after tripping over cases of wine and being woken up by the cat at 4am. Upon finding this Edwardian built in 1905, she immediately fell in love with the large kitchen with original built-ins and access to the porch, which is still where she and Matt spend most of their time. After begging the landlord to rent to them and being outbid many times over (apartment hunting in SF is wild), they were lucky enough to be chosen.
Ashley has spent her career at the intersection of education, international exchange, and social impact. She currently works with U.S. universities and faculty to design study abroad programs to Europe. She grew up in Minnesota where she developed her love for a good home-cooked meal and the outdoors, both of which are central elements they bring to their home.
A native of New York/New Jersey, Matt recently finished his medical residency, and is now an infectious disease fellow. When he's not working long hours at the hospital, he enjoys making cappuccinos, collecting vintage cast-iron pans, and biking around SF and in the Marin headlands.
Ashley writes: "We met while studying abroad in Bologna, Italy, and have lived in Peru, Colombia, and New York City. We never thought we would be those people who move from NYC to SF and start doing things like brewing kombucha — and yet here we are."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Globally collected, lived-in, verdant
Inspiration: Greenhouses and flower shops, well-used Italian kitchens, friends' homes
Favorite Element: The kitchen that opens directly into our "outdoor dining room" and backyard with plum and apple trees.
Biggest Challenge: We love hosting large dinner parties, but because our only large table space is outdoors we are limited by the fog, which typically rolls in around 4pm.
What Friends Say: "I didn't know plants and cats could co-habitate!" "Is your little guest room free next weekend?" and "I can't believe Zucca gives hugs"
Get the look! → Globally Inspired & Plant-Filled Simple Style
Biggest Embarrassment: The large dust bowl also known as the backyard. We moved in amidst a major drought in California, and the yard has gotten worse each year. We recently planted a drought resistant flower garden and small vegetable bed, but it still needs a ton of work. We're in the process of trying to convince the landlords to fix it up.
Proudest DIY: Turning our tiny "pantry" room off the kitchen into a tiny guest room/office/storage space. We spent a year trying to configure this room useful so that it would be comfortable for a couple. After a few space-saving purchases (thanks to IKEA and Amazon), this room is now our favorite place to curl up with a book or our cat, Zucca, and frequently hosts out-of-town friends and family.
Biggest Indulgence: Matt is constantly refining our collection of records, coffee apparatuses, and antique cast iron pans, while I collect ceramics, textiles from our travels, and plants. These are things we plan to keep around us forever — the rest could go!
Best Advice: Bring nature indoors.
Dream Sources: I'd love to be able to afford to ship furniture home from abroad. I've also been saving up for the perfect living room rug, and hope to make a trip back to Istanbul.
Chair — Therapy
Coffee table — our prized redwood burl coffee table from the 70s, found via a Nextdoor post.
Coasters — handmade concrete coasters by architect Marshall Prather, Ashley's brother.
Decorative pillows and throw — Otavalo market in Ecuador
Textile on the mantel — market in Guatemala
Jar lamp — Target
Art above the mantel —
(Top left & bottom right) etchings of San Luca and Le Due Torri in Bologna by a local artist, bought on our honeymoon. Custom framing by Framebridge
(Center) - Our friend's mother, Sungsook Hong Setton, created an original painting or fan for each guest who attended her daughter's wedding. It is the best wedding favor we have ever received!
(Bottom left) This is a real Salvador Dali etching, Matt's mother bought this while she was overseas in her 20s.
(Top right) Etching of Bologna, from Mercato Montagnola in Bologna. I bought this while studying abroad there, which is also where we met.
Art on other walls —
(next to the bookshelf) The Big Sur Brooklyn Bridge Poster from Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur
(behind the chaise) Salvador Dali's Manhattan Skyline, 1976 print, from Matt's childhood bedroom
Kitchen Island — West Elm; Craigslist score!
Stools — Therapy
Espresso machine — refurbished 1980s Italian Gaggia.
Ceramics — Heath Ceramics, Vitrified Studio, and a mix of family heirloms and pieces collected from travels in California, Europe, South and Central America
Planters and pots — Grey and white pots from Crate & Barrel, others are broken and repurposed ceramics from our collection, or collected from thrift stores, etc.
Art on the walls —
The framed pasta-themed save the date was created by our friend Boris at Drawn Together NYC
Decorative pillows — Otavalo market in Ecuador
Indigo pillowcases — DIY
Bedding — West Elm
Blanket — Natural dyed blanket from Teotitlán Del Valle market in Oaxaca, Mexico, a favorite wedding gift from dear friends!
De ayer a hoy print — El Rastro market in Madrid, artist unknown
Fern prints — thrifted
Jewelry holders — DIY (driftwood), Urban Outfitters (pyramid)
Lamps and furniture — IKEA
Rug — Afghan; wedding gift
Grill: Holland Companion grill — super portable, often travels to the beach and car camping with us!
Hanging herb planter — IKEA
Table and chairs — Craigslist
Plants and other planters — we source most of our plants from the SF Flower Mart, which is my favorite place in the city. The succulent planters in the windowsill were originally centerpieces for our wedding which have since grown and have been propagated into other areas around our home.