Beth's Romantic & Retro Residence

Beth's Romantic & Retro Residence

Alexis Buryk
Oct 2, 2015

Name: Beth Cook, a personal and professional coach
Location: San Francisco, California
Size: about 900 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years; Rented

Beth is proud to be the latest in a line of lively ladies to grace this ground floor rental residence in San Francisco. When a friend of hers (who had found the rental initially through a friend of hers) couldn't turn down the opportunity to move one floor up in the building, Beth jumped right in to transform this space into the living/working/entertaining center of her busy life.

Different styles happily coexist in each part of Beth's home without creating a feeling of aesthetic dissonance. Even though the parts themselves differ greatly from each other, all of the rooms, pieces of furniture and art exude a sense of cultured quirkiness that marries everything together.

Making use of the large and unusual entry area was a challenge with a straightforward solution for Beth, who immediately thought of creating a dining and bar area for her dinner party and wine-tasting events. In fact, the whole home resonates as a series of interconnected nooks, design to create a sense of intimacy and refined comfort. I felt immediately welcomed into a place that was distinctly personal but also consistently, and happily, shared.

And yes, I will personally attest: the sheepskin rugs in the living room/woman cave are epic, and ridiculously comfortable!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Rustic Modern and Vintage.

Inspiration: My biggest inspiration is people. I love entertaining and thus have thought about where and how to do it best in my flat. As far as my style inspiration, I was inspired by cigar bars in the living room/woman cave; the old television show Colombo and the Hollywood Regency style in the bedroom; and Andy Warhol/60s kitsch in the kitchen. I think the three main styles going on in my apartment represent three sides of me. I love a classy atmosphere, which describes the living room and dining room, I'm a huge romantic, which sums up the bedroom, and I also have a fun, quirky side, which describes the kitchen.

Favorite Element: The oak bar and barstools.

Biggest Challenge: It's an old house (built in the 1890s) and so something is always going wrong. I've gotten used to there never being a dull moment!

What Friends Say: "Can you decorate my place?"; "If I lay on those sheepskin rugs, I'll end up sleeping over."; "Which wines are you pouring tonight?"

Biggest Embarrassment: I still have not filled the three recessed spaces in the hallway with artwork (and I'm an artist!).

Proudest DIY: Turning my entryway into a bar and dining space. It is sort of an awkward space to work with, but I've found a way to fashion in multiple ways for entertaining groups big and small.

Biggest Indulgence: The Restoration Hardware leather couch and giant sheepskin rugs.

Best Advice: Only buy things you love, and decorate all at once. You'll feel at home quickly and it will save you time, as you don't need to research resources from scratch. I would also suggest mixing high and low to keep costs reasonable. Spend the big bucks on a comfy couch that will last for years and go cheaper on other things (tables, chairs, storage solutions).

Dream Sources: Design Within Reach, Restoration Hardware, and San Francisco art galleries.

Resources of Note:


  • It was already painted when I moved in!


• Small table and couch: Restoration Hardware
• Media cart: Home Decorators Collection
• Ottomans: The Foundary
• Desk chair: The Container Store
• Desk: West Elm
• Pillows and wooden crates: Alameda Point Antiques Faire
• Sheepskin rugs: Lawson Sheepskins
• Artwork: "Jesus Christ likes American cars" from Creativity Explored
• Lounge chair: Craigslist
• Peru wall rug: Peruvian street market
• Horse heads: Gift from a friend


• Tables: IKEA
• Oak bar and stools: Craigslist
• Eames chairs: Mid-Century Modern Finds
• Wood chairs: Craigslist
• Coat rack and chalkboard: Etsy
• Candlestick holders: IKEA
• Painted cow: Creativity Explored
• Mirrors and older chairs (near door): Flea markets
• Storage boxes: IKEA
• Horse key holder: Etsy


• Chairs and table: Craigslist
• Bookcases: Fenton MacClaren, Berkeley, California
• Storage boxes: IKEA


• Dressers and nightstands: Mid-Century Modern Finds
• Bedspread: Anthropologie
• Pillows: Overstock and Restoration Hardware
• Rug: Anthropologie
• Wine rack: Amazon
• Lamps: Craigslist
• Mirror: Urban Ore, Berkeley, California
• Nesting dolls: Flea market in Moscow
• Dreamcatcher: Gift from sister, Colorado


• Multi-color floral rug: Urban Outfitters
• Shower curtain and white rug (in small bathroom): Anthropologie
• Painted wood car: Creativity Explored
• Nesting dolls: Flea market in Moscow

Thanks, Beth!

(Images: Alexis Buryk)

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