A Vintage Lover’s Designed-on-a-Dime Oakland Apartment

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Vintage Lover’s Designed-on-a-Dime Oakland Apartment

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Natasha Harden
Location: Bella Vista — Oakland, California
Size: 725 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, renting

Natasha—a Virgo—credits her Zodiac sign for her heightened sense of detail. “I can spend hours thrifting, and trust me, I always find something cute,” she proudly says. “I usually just walk around in a thrift store and I let patterns and textures speak to me.” Up until last year, Natasha ran a small vintage clothing boutique store in Oakland, which she curated all on her own, scouring thrift stores up and down California. But unlike her shop—which consisted of finds from all over—her home is made up almost entirely of things she’s found on her block and in the streets of her neighborhood, either while walking her dog or going for long evening strolls. That mirrored coffee table in the living room? A street find. The framed unicorn print in her bedroom? Also a street find. And the handful of plants she’s miraculously brought back to life? More than likely, she picked them up from the curb.

Natasha’s cute apartment is a perfect example of design on a dime. “There are just a few things that I have purchased second hand, like my couch and striped rug in the living room,” she proudly says. When I asked her about participating in a House Tour, she was beyond excited, primarily to show Apartment Therapy readers what can be achieved with little money.

“Most of the things I’d see on magazines and blogs were out of reach for me because of the dollar signs, so I worked with what I had,” Natasha says. Lucky for her, she lives in a neighborhood where people are often putting free furniture and items on street corners, a lot of which she’s snatched up and carried all the way up to her apartment—something she isn’t ashamed to do. As illustrated through her happy, colorful Oakland apartment, each piece is usually a perfect fit.

Editor’s note: This is a tour greatest hit. Natasha’s simple style of street finds and vintage treasures is worth revisiting for the inspiration and reminder that a beautiful home doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Vintage Bohemian Jungle

Inspiration: Anything vintage, thrift shops, The Jungalow

Favorite Element: My plants. They add warmth and life to my apartment.

Biggest Challenge: My beige walls. I keep telling myself that I need white walls, but maybe I don’t.

What Friends Say: That my space fits my style

Biggest Embarrassment: I love organizing and cleaning, but my place is always a mess. I work so much that it looks like a tornado comes through my apartment daily. I don’t have company over very often, but when I do it gives me a reason to clean up.

Proudest DIY: I rewired my gold shell lamp that I’ve had for over 10 years.

Biggest Indulgence: I am never ashamed to schlep a plant or piece of furniture home. If I can’t carry it, I hurry home and zoom over with my car. I rescue first and ask questions later.

Best Advice: Don’t compare your space to others and just do what makes you happy. Work with what you have and wish for the pieces you want because they will come into your life somehow.

Dream Sources: The street.


I call it “Blah.” When I signed the lease to my place, the landlord and I talked about paint colors. I was able to choose because of the timing of moving in and the people I knew who were moving out. I was super excited because I chose the color and didn’t have to paint it. When I arrived on move in day, I walked into a beige apartment. I was super disappointed at first but I made it work. To this day I keep telling myself that I am going to paint, but here we are four years later.

White table — Street find

Vintage Sofa — Salvation Army
Record Table — Street find
Orange chair — Free from Craigslist
Green bookshelf — Street find
Nuns painting — Celeste Turconi

Kermit the Frog print — Salvation Army
Small table — Street find
Art above shelf — Renee Castro

Dresser — Free from neighbor
Green Chair — Free from neighbor
Hey Gorgeous banner — Made for Fattyland, Natasha’s body-positive clothing swap

Metal table — Street find
Macrame plant holder — Salvation Army.

Thanks, Natasha!

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