Megan & Leif’s Scandinavian-Inspired Oakland Charmer

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Celeste Noche)

Name: Megan and Leif
Location: Longfellow — Oakland, California
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years; Rented

Hailing from Wisconsin via Chicago and Portland, Megan and Leif now find themselves in Oakland with a home that pays homage to their past interlaced with the sunny muse of their present. With Leif working from home as a writer and Megan an aspiring creative director, the couple have created a space that strikes a balance between practical and inspirational.

(Image credit: Celeste Noche)

When Megan and Leif first moved to the Bay Area, they knew they wanted to be in Oakland and eventually snagged their apartment because their Norwegian landlord felt a kinship to Leif (who has Norwegian roots). One of the biggest transformations of the space was the floors—when they first moved in, it was wall-to-wall turquoise carpet. When they asked their landlord if they could pull the carpet out, their landlord not only obliged, but channeled his Scandinavian sensibilities and painted the floors white!

Today, the apartment is a balance of collected pieces, thrifted finds, and an assortment of DIY projects. With bright, open space and an abundance of natural light, their home has become the perfect palette to inspire and accommodate their creative projects.

(Image credit: Celeste Noche)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Scandinavian-inspired California bohemian with Midwestern sensibilities

Inspiration: Where we live (California), where we come from (Illinois and Wisconsin), and the places we’ve traveled to together

Favorite Element: All of the natural light that streams in through the many large windows

Biggest Challenge: The kitchen! We love to cook and host dinner parties with friends, and the fact that our kitchen can barely accommodate two people at a time is a huge bummer. Someday we’ll have the expansive kitchen of our dreams!

What Friends Say: “Did you decorate this yourself?” and “Let me know when you move out so I can take over your lease!”

Biggest Embarrassment: Our landlord chose to paint the exterior of our house three different shades of beige, making our home the epitome of the old adage, “It’s what’s inside that counts.”

Biggest Indulgence: Our Heath Ceramics dishes and Juniper Ridge incense. Spending lots of time outside is something we’ve really grown to appreciate since moving to the West Coast, and we love how this incense bring the experience indoors.

Best Advice: Be a collector, not a consumer.

Dream Sources: Small town thrift stores, Midwestern garage sales, street markets of Paris, Mexico, Turkey, Thailand, and Morocco


(Image credit: Celeste Noche)


  • Couch: IKEA via Craigslist
  • Beige armchair: Etsy
  • Blue throw pillow: Night Market in Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Rug: Urban Ore Eco Park in Berkeley, CA
  • Spool coffee table: DIY
  • Mountain poster: Debbie Carlos
(Image credit: Celeste Noche)


  • Table: Craigslist
  • Chairs: various thrift stores
  • Sideboard: Craigslist
(Image credit: Celeste Noche)


  • Fixtures: IKEA
  • Cookware: thrifted, DIYed, purchased secondhand
(Image credit: Celeste Noche)


  • Bedding: Home Mint
  • Lamps: IKEA
  • Pink tapestry: Urban Ore Eco Park in Berkeley, CA
  • Screens on wall: Center for Creative Reuse in Oakland, CA
  • Chair: picked up from the side of the road in Portland, OR
(Image credit: Celeste Noche)


  • Bed: IKEA
  • Bedding: IKEA and West Elm
  • Wall hanging above bed: DIY
  • Cactus poster: Debbie Carlos
  • Metal table: vintage
  • Black stool: vintage
  • Mirror: IKEA
  • Print on desk: Meg Fransee
  • Lamps: vintage
(Image credit: Celeste Noche)


  • Shelving: IKEA
  • Rug: West Elm
  • Art on walls: thrifted in Portland, OR

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Thanks, Megan & Leif!