Stephanie’s Marina District Apartment of Inspiration

published Feb 1, 2016
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Name: Stephanie Fauerbach
Location: Marina District — San Francisco, California
Size: 850 square feet
Years lived in: 4.5 years; Rented

Though making a temporary space feel rooted isn’t easy, Stephanie Fauerbach has put together a collection of mementos and inspiring pieces that make her apartment feel like a home. In her House Call, she said that adding personal details—like inspirational quotes, memories from her travels, and personal photos—to every nook and cranny makes her apartment feel like a hug every time she walks through her door.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Located just around the corner from her apartment is San Francisco’s elegant Palace of Fine Arts, and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is just a few minutes away. It’s no surprise that she finds inspiration in all the beauty that surrounds her quiet neighborhood. The colorful butterfly collage in her living room reminds her of just that—all of the beautiful things in life.

At the end of her Apartment Therapy photo shoot, Stephanie sits at her coffee table adding final touches to her floor plan drawing. She points out that when she isn’t working at her accounting job, she enjoys entertaining guests and crafting with friends over glasses of wine. “I have designed the space to make all my friends and family feel welcome,” she says. “The best compliment I receive is that it feels like home.”

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic

Inspiration: I once heard someone say your home should feel like a hug at the end of a long day. That simple statement has been the inspiration for my decorating style. It is not easy making a temporary place feel rooted, but I have found it to be the personal details that have turned this apartment into home.

Favorite Element: My most personal piece is my butterfly wall. Many times butterflies are cheesy. For me, butterflies are a reminder of the beauty of life. “Just when the caterpillar thought its life was over, it became a butterfly…” This quote was first given to me in a magnet by my best friend from the third grade.

Biggest Challenge: Finding a coffee table. I love so many elements in my living room, I don’t want the coffee table to be the focal point. But the IKEA coffee table I have is too small for the space.

What Friends Say: The best compliments I receive are that my apartment feels like home, that it is welcoming, colorful, cozy—and that it is a true reflection of me.

Biggest Embarrassment: I have an addiction to HomeGoods, paint, and quotes!

Proudest DIY: My paper flower bouquet. It was a labor of love. I bought a book and my neighbor—and very good friend—spent many nights and glasses of wine helping me with this creation.

Biggest Indulgence: Honestly, nothing. It is more fun to get creative. Beside the large items, chances are if you ask, “Where did that come from?” nine out of ten times, my response will be “HomeGoods.”

Best Advice: Build a room. Don’t do everything at once. Start with what you know you will love and add from there. Many times I have thought I would want to go one direction or another. But as I build up a room, those ideas change.

Dream Sources: There is a little Marina boutique called Marmalade that also sells some home goods in my neighborhood. The first time I walked in, I thought to myself, “I could live in here.” Of course, I love Pinterest and Etsy. I am constantly amazed at people’s creativity. I also recently discovered Dot & Bo. And as I said before, I can’t live without HomeGoods.


(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Neutral color in halls, living room, kitchen, and dining room: BEHR Oyster
  • Dining room cabinet: BEHR Calypso Orange
  • Kitchen backsplash: BEHR Mint Majesty
  • Bedroom mirror: BEHR Seafoam Green
  • Headboard: BEHR Mint Majesty—I loved the color so much I also used it as my kitchen backsplash color.
  • Bedroom and bathroom shades of grey: BEHR Subtle Touch and Gentle Rain
  • Closet: Benjamin Moore Mantis Green
  • Sometimes paint is trial and error. I wanted a fun green (to coordinate with my bookcase), so I tried Tart Apple. Whoa! That was an aggressive color. I ended up toning it down quite a bit with white. I have learned that in design, it is okay not to get everything right the first time.
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Gold stand: IKEA, repainted
  • Basket: HomeGoods—the chalkboard sign was the selling point. I love that I can customize the message for any season. I can fill it with candles, etc. It is currently filled with various mason jars and flowers.
  • San Francisco candle: Urban Outfitters
  • San Francisco jumbo postcards: passed down from my grandparents
  • Circular map: created by me—it is a collage of the places I have lived.
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Sofa and love seat: The couch and love seat are so old, I can’t remember where I bought them. They are so comfortable, I never want to get rid of them.
  • Coffee table: IKEA
  • White side table: IKEA
  • Green bookcase: IKEA—I have filled each window with a family memory, gifts from friends’ travel, and souvenirs from my own trips.
  • Accent chair: Target
  • Accent table: HomeGoods, repainted
  • Console table: Cost Plus World Market—the vignette on the right side is from my travels to London and Scotland.
  • TV stand: HomeGoods, repainted
  • Mirror: Alameda Point Antiques Faire
  • Birdcage: Alameda Point Antiques Faire, birds added by me
  • Rug: West Elm
  • Shelf: West Elm
  • Lotus flower candle: Marmalade
  • Butterfly wall: leesha on Etsy
  • Pretty much everything else: HomeGoods
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Jute rug: IKEA
  • Faux sheepskin run: Fur Accents via Amazon
  • Table: Target, repainted
  • Wood chairs: Target
  • Hint of Mint stools: Amazon
  • Frame: HomeGoods
  • Mirror: HomeGoods
  • Candles: Target
  • Bar cart: plant stand from Etsy, repainted
  • Most bar cart accessories: HomeGoods
  • Tequila art: Society6
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Coffee cart: IKEA
  • Coffee can: HomeGoods, painted
  • Square mirrors: IKEA—a girlfriend recently told me it was time to replace them. I politely told her, “No way!” I have an Ugly Christmas Sweater/White Elephant party every year. One of the gifts was the mustaches. That night, I added them to the mirrors. Now, they are a reminder of those fun parties.
  • Wine rack: Pier 1
  • Wine: Scribe Winery, one of my favorite places in wine country
  • Wood spoon: Christmas creation from my dear friend Brittney
  • The chalkboard: old mirror that I spray painted
  • Art on chalkboard: my dear friend’s husband
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Grass cloth headboard: Pier 1, repainted
  • Bedding: West Elm
  • Throw pillow: HomeGoods
  • Green night stand: HomeGoods
  • White nightstand: IKEA, knobs from Anthropologie
  • Lamps: HomeGoods
  • White dresser: IKEA, knobs from Anthropologie
  • Card on dresser: from my dad—I get my creativity from him. For as long as I can remember, he has been making cards.
  • Grey dresser: IKEA, decoupaged with decorative paper from Paper Source
  • Bench: HomeGoods
  • Curtains: Target
  • Gratitude jar: gift, purchased from Studio Penny Lane
  • Necklace pin boards: HomeGoods
  • Mirror: Costco, repainted
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Shower curtain: West Elm
  • Rug: West Elm
  • Towels: HomeGoods
  • Wall hanger: HomeGoods
  • Pots and plants: collected from various sources
  • Cup holding perfume: Anthropologie
  • Candle: EI on Chestnut Street in San Francisco
  • Art: Society6
  • Frames: HomeGoods
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • Desk: HomeGoods
  • Wall hanger: HomeGoods
  • Chair: IKEA
  • Lamp: Crate & Barrel Outlet
  • Wall pattern: painted using stencil from Sarah M. Dorsey Designs on Etsy
  • The little woodland creatures: a current project I am working on—one of my best friends is having a baby, and the nursery theme is “Vintage Camping.”
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Stephanie has lived in her Marina District apartment for nearly five years. She describes her decor style as eclectic. (Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

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Thanks, Stephanie!