House Tour: Christian & David’s Oakland Bungalow

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Christian & David
Location: Oakland
Size: 960 sq. ft. bungalow from 1924
Years lived in: 2 years

Christian and David are longtime AT readers who describe themselves this way:

We’re two ex-pats from SF that ended up in sunny Oakland licking our wounds after some fierce bidding wars in the City… Luckily, we ended up in the Laurel, a quiet, sunny and charming neighborhood where many ex-pats like ourselves have come to call home in the last several years. Most of the houses along our street are 1920’s 2-bedroom bungalows that were in need of some TLC and are now getting it with the influx of displaced 30-somethings from SF. I’m a scientist at a local biotech company and David works for a local custom cabinet shop and is starting his own design business on the side.

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Our style: We tend towards a modern aesthetic, clean lines and uncluttered, but we try to steer clear of the clinical/minimalist look. We like to think that our home is calm, warm and inviting… an oasis in our hectic lives.

The inspiration for our home: Gosh! Dunno, whatever we can afford at the time!

Favorite element: I think we both agree that we just love our funky living room.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Biggest challenge in designing our home: Besides the budget?!! One word, STORAGE or the lack thereof.

What friends say about our home: You guys are SO neat! We’re both pack rats so we try really hard to keep things from getting out of hand. (Just don’t go into the office!)

Biggest embarrassment in our home: When we first moved in, well, all the walls were painted egg white yellow. The previous owners took a paint chip and painted each room a different shade from the same chip….oh, and then there were the dragonfly switch plates in all the rooms and the plastic dragonfly “Tiffany” lamp that was hung off center in the dining area. Also, the bathroom was painted Mylanta green. What else? Hummm.. Ah, yes, the living room fan was this “Tommy Bahama” monstrosity. The kitchen lights were straight out of a Long John Silver restaurant. Oh, the fridge filled with water every day and the dishwasher didn’t clean the dishes. Let’s just say we were experiencing buyers’ remorse…

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Proudest DIY: The shelves in the living room. We wanted to make our souvenirs and tchotchkes stand out but, we didn’t want to use the shelves like they do in the catalogue.

Biggest indulgence with respect to our home: Two really. 1) We had our vintage 1950’s Gump’s couch reupholstered in a great Scalamandre velvet that we got at Boca Bargoons in Hayward for close to 75% off retail. Still, it cost a small fortune to have the work done but, it looks great and we’ll get many more years worth of use out of it. 2) Paint. Another small fortune but, using high end, full spectrum paint is worth every penny. In the end, it’s the cheapest way to completely change the mood of a room.

Best advice given or received: Keep it simple.

Dream source for stuff:
Christian’s list:
Boffi or Agape fixtures for the bathroom and kitchen.
• For those same rooms, I’d like some floor/wall tiles from Geologica in SF.
• I’d like to create a dark, sexy bedroom with leather wall tiles from Blackstock.
• I love to cook and would kill for a CornuFe stove from La Cornue.
B&B Italia makes this one lounge chair that’s really sexy and comfy and I drool over it when we drop by Limn.
Takashimaya in NYC is a store everyone should visit to see “gorgeous little things” that you didn’t know you had to have til you see them.
• I’d also like a high capacity flash water heater…I’m tired of lukewarm showers. Does anyone have any recommendations? Takagi or Rinnai or some other brand?

David’s list:
Alabaster– gorgeous things like Fornasetti plates.
Propeller– for fun furnishings and nicknacks.
Donghia– fabulous fabrics, furniture and wall coverings.
Kartell– we all need some cool plastic furniture for outdoors.
Artemide– modern Italian lamps
Gump’s and The Gardener, of course.
Enid Ford (in the Design Center)
• Living Green (in the Design Center) for plants and garden objects.


• New fridge/freezer: Fisher&Paykel. AWESOME, quiet and energy efficient. No ice maker but, in the last year we’ve bought just one bag of ice. And, for parties, we just buy a couple of more for the beer cooler.
• New dishwasher: Bosch for Sears Kenmore Elite series. Super quiet and works great.

• We got many things at Pottery Barrel (as I collectively call those two stores). The trick is to mix them around so you can’t tell!
Gump’s. yep. They have great things at some very reasonable prices… you just have to hunt around. We found the Asian bench (in the mud room) and the woven pouf (in the living room) there.
• The coffee table is a Maya Lin Pebble table for outdoors that we got 80% off at the Knoll Studio sale a few years back.
EQ3 for the book case… oh my gawd the thing weighs a ton! Have it delivered, we didn’t and we almost threw out our backs.
• Dining room set is from Calligaris, an Italian company. There are several stores in the area (like Slater/Marinoff) that carry the line. Not expensive but well made. It’s diminutive in size but, the table can double to seat 8 comfortably.
• Stools are from The Gardener in Berkeley.

• From travels, from family, flea markets.
• Also from The Gardener in Berkeley.

• The new living room fan is from MinKa Aire. Got it on-line for about $130. We saw the same model @ Restoration HW for close to $400.
• The dining room light is Pan by Penta. We got it at the Architektura In-Situ sale for 70% off.
• The new kitchen lights we got at the Berkeley Lighting Studio on 4th St. Pretty cheap as I recall.

• We bought all our paint at G&R Paints in the city. It’s where all the high end contractors go for paint. Most of the paint in our house is either Phillip’s Perfect Colors or Anne Hall.

• We got lucky it is in great condition!

Rugs and Carpets:
• The rug in the living room is a suede shag rug that we got at Floor Craft in SF.
• Dining room rug is polypropylene for outdoor use from Crate and Barrel, easy to clean when people spill!
• Spun vinyl runner in the kitchen is Chilewich @ DWR. (which we bought on sale)

Window Treatments:
• The kitchen has grass top down/bottom up shades from Smith and Noble.
• The living/dining has inexpensive Ikea sheers while we wait for some honeycomb shades from Smith and Noble to arrive.

• The bedroom is a work in progress….

• Mainly from family and friends.
• The photo-collages I made during a trip to Italy and had them framed at Fast Frame.

Thanks, Christian and David!

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