A Writer's Eclectic, Collected Home in Berkeley

A Writer's Eclectic, Collected Home in Berkeley

Ana Kamin
Jul 27, 2017

Name: Flora Tsapovsky and Tom Kolinski, plus Theo the cat
Location: Berkeley — California
Size: 720 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, rented

"Every morning I stand here with my cup of coffee and soak in the views, even if it's for a minute," describes Flora of the view from her home's large glass corner wall that looks over Berkeley and the sparkling San Francisco Bay. It's no surprise that it's one of her home's favorite features; views like this would get anyone's creative juices flowing. One look out the window, even on a gloomy Bay Area day, and Flora knows why she and her husband Tom chose to rent this cozy Craftsman in a quiet and charming neighborhood, only a few minutes outside of downtown Berkeley.

The couple moved two years ago to the Bay Area, after living and falling in love with each other in the small town of Jenner in North California. Flora, originally from Israel, has called the Golden State home since 2014. She is a writer, penning lifestyle-focused stories for different online and print publications, like SFChronicle, Pacific Sun, SF Station and more.

When it came to decorating, Flora and Tom filled their house with lots of neutrals and a few colors splashes to complement the home's architecture.

"An old home can be limiting but also inspiring. You have to work with what's there. Especially when you are renting," says Flora.

Flora's and Tom's passion for travel is also visible throughout their decoration style. Wherever the journey leads them, they bring a meaningful souvenir back home — filling the apartment with memorabilia from all over the world. While Tom loves more vintage pieces, Flora pulls her inspiration from her hometown of Tel Aviv and Justina Blakeney's bohemian style.

When Flora is not traveling and browsing foreign markets, she and Tom love to go to garage sales and flea markets.

"At the flea market it's not only about buying something; I love to negotiate and score deals. And conversations with retailers have inspired a few of my stories," says Flora.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic, to say the least

Inspiration: Justina Blakeney's The New Bohemians, Tel Avivian aesthetic, the CB2 catalog. I'm hugely inspired by travel and travel magazines. Tom loves lived-in pieces and vintage quirks, and Theo appreciates anything he can nap on. We love going to estate sales and picking up surprising pieces, than mixing them with modern, simple elements.

Favorite Element: The abundance of natural light and the stunning view.

Biggest Challenge: The living room is long and slightly narrow and was hard to figure out, and the green tiled walls in the kitchen seemed like a deal breaker at first, but ended up working out fine.

What Friends Say: Cute! And also: "Do you move all these little objects when you dust?"

Biggest Embarrassment: I wouldn't call it "embarrassing," but it's surely peculiar how our house has all possible flooring types; carpet in the living room, hardwood in the bedroom, tile in the bathroom and linoleum in the kitchen! The fact that we love the carpet so much is kind of embarrassing, when you think of it.

Proudest DIY: Taking the doors off the generic IKEA console to turn it into an open cookbook shelf? Framing random magazine pages and collaging, if it counts.

Biggest Indulgence: Probably the huge painting in the living room, by California artist Nicole Buffett.

Best Advice: You can never have too many plants! Plus, you'll never regret buying a faux marble coffee table.

Dream Sources: CB2, Cost Plus, other people's garage sales, markets around the world.


Grey Sofa — Scandinavian Design
Green sofa and ottoman — Crate and Barrel ( discontinued)
End table — Convenience Concepts at Wayfair
Picture frame — Target
Breast Friends art — Tay Ham
'Boobs pot' — Group Partner
Pillows — CB2, Ginger Home, Target, World Market (Cost Plus)
Coffee table — Sauder at Wayfair
String lights — Oh Joy! for Target
Ghost sculpture — Studio Arhoj
Hand sculpture — Legion SF
Planters — CB2
Painting — Nicole Buffett
Random art and my collage in picture frames from IKEA
Lamps — vintage
White and golden planters — CB2

Dining table — Omega Salvage
Neon stool — IKEA
Wooden chairs — IKEA
Lamp — IKEA
Console — IKEA
Planters — CB2, Flowerland, Target
Tea towel as artwork — Wild Hart Paper
Towels — H&M Home ( not available anymore)

Bed cover — Cost Plus
Pillows — H&M Home ( not available anymore)
Indian bed decor — vintage
Dresser — vintage
Picture frames — IKEA (collage by me, vintage photo)
Typewriter — vintage

Mudcloth — vintage
Golden stapler — Nate Berkus for Target

Thanks, Flora, Tom and Theo, the cat!

Apartment Therapy supports our readers with carefully chosen product recommendations to improve life at home. You support us through our independently chosen links, many of which earn us a commission.
moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt