Name: Tam-Anh and Ricky
Location: Jack London Square — Oakland, California
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, renting
At the end of 2016, Tam-Anh and Ricky decided to move in together, so they scoured Craigslist for apartments and began their search for a new home — an arduous task in the Bay Area's competitive rental market. A few listings in, a description caught their attention: original loft, exposed brick, floor-to-ceiling windows, walk-in closet, fireplace. Tam-Anh says it felt too good to be true, but they emailed the leasing agent anyway. "It's even more magical in person," the agent responded, inviting them to an open house to view the space. You can probably guess what happened next.
"The moment we stepped into the loft, the raw beauty of the space overwhelmed us," Tam-Anh says. There was an overwhelming amount of natural light, but it was just perfect for the Bay Area couple (and their growing plant collection). The loft was wide open and featured warm industrial touches, including ornate chandeliers and brick walls. Tam-Anh and Ricky quickly handed over their meticulously-prepared application packet, and less than six hours later, they received a call: the loft was theirs!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Unrealistic '90s sitcom
Inspiration: My mom's overgrown garden, the colors (and candy) of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Don Draper's apartment, the library from Beauty and the Beast, and anything gold.
Favorite Element: Architecturally, the windows. The wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows perfectly light our home and provide life to our small (but growing) plant collection. Another favorite are the Sonos speakers in every room. We are obsessed with music. We wake up to music, cook to music, relax to music. Sonos allows us to always be in control of our soundtrack. We love being able to control which Hamilton song we want to hear, in which room, at what volume. #notsponsored
Biggest Challenge: One of our biggest challenges is wall space for art. We're both avid collectors of art and one of the first and most difficult things we had to do when we moved in was downsize our art collection. My [Tam-Anh's] passion project is called the Beehive Society, a collective specializing in pop-up gallery shows in the Bay Area. A close friend and I founded this to organize, curate and host art shows in the Bay Area. Due to the number of windows, Ricky and I are limited on wall space where we can actually hang our personal art collections. First world problem, we know. So, we store a lot of our art in our closet and storage space downstairs and plan to cycle out some of our favorite pieces.
What Friends Say: "You only see places like this in the movies!"
"Take your time. Your home will grow and evolve with you. Keep searching for that perfect piece, save up for the one you really want and don't be afraid to mix and match. As you keep living your best life, you will collect new treasures that inspire fresh ideas for your space."
Proudest DIY: A very utilitarian answer, but the lighting in the bedroom. When we first moved in, the two wall lights in our bedroom were very dim. Ricky figured out the perfect way to provide additional lighting, hide all the wiring, provide easy controls, and still match the style of the house. It's been the perfect solution!
Biggest Indulgence: Our almost-seven foot marble dining room table. It's a beast! We ordered the legs separately so we could get them custom painted gold. Once we screwed the legs on, it took six adults to flip the table over. We always joke if we move out of this apartment, the table has to stay because of how incredibly heavy it is.
Best Advice: Take your time. Your home will grow and evolve with you. Keep searching for that perfect piece, save up for the one you really want and don't be afraid to mix and match. As you keep living your best life, you will collect new treasures that inspire fresh ideas for your space. Remember, it's a constant work in progress and change is a good thing.
Dream Sources: West Elm, CB2, Design Within Reach, and Ace Hotels
Storage bench — West Elm
Mirror — CB2
Llama planter — West Elm
Stool — Target
Lockers — Alameda Point Antiques Faire
Felt letter board — ABC Signs
Couch — Craigslist
Grey sectional — IKEA
Coffee table — Craigslist
End table — Craigslist
TV chest — German flea market
Yellow pintuck pillow — Urban Outfitters
Hanging pots — CB2
Planter — CB2
Multi-color ottoman — Anthropologie
Floating record player — Gramavox
Vintage record player and speaker — Craigslist
Bookshelf — Crate & Barrel