House Tour: Jessica's New Home

House Tour: Jessica's New Home

Janel Laban
Jan 8, 2009

(Here is the final tryout post from Jessica, a look at her new SF home. You can check out her other two posts here and here. Enjoy the tour!)

Name: Jessica
Location: Mission/Bernal Heights
Size: ~200 square feet
Years lived in: ¼ (3 months)


I recently relocated to San Francisco from Austin, Texas. Coming from a state where "everything is bigger" I faced a serious downgrade in size, calling this 200 square foot studio in-law apartment my new home. In spite of the space crunch, I have tried let my style show through, while still making way for necessities. After only three months, I feel like my apartment is at once functional and designed. With a penchant for vintage, I have tried to blend antique collections with a modern aesthetic--all in a home the size of most people's guest bedroom!


AT Survey
My Style: My style is very much a fusion of vintage finds and modern lines. It was interesting to see how my style ended up when all of my furniture, artwork, and belongings were whittled down to the "bare necessities" and what would fit into 200 square feet! I probably still have some curating to do, it has only been 3 months

Inspiration: I am definitely inspired by my favorite publications and blogs, Domino, Dwell, apartment therapy, design*sponge and readymade, but also by contemporary art and photography, my best friends (who have all contributed to the things in my apartment) and my personal habits and hobbies.

Favorite Element: my picture frame wall—it changes often and with my moods and inspirations

Biggest Challenge: The size! My brother found it interesting that I chose to bring with me an old record player, a portable typewriter, and a vintage camera collection. He said he might have considered a television, stereo or microwave. I find it to be a matter of resourcefulness and priorities! I love having the typewriter, and I can watch TV and movies on my laptop.

What Friends Say: They have said that they're very surprised that I was able to make such a small space useful and design conscious! That, and there has been overwhelming regard for the wall color!


Biggest Embarrassment: Having to make sure everything is put away all the time---with an apartment this small, there are few places to hide the things everyone has but no one talks about…I am learning to keep a tidier house.

Proudest DIY: The chair! I found it in a sad state of affairs on the side of the road, missing a seat, with two broken feet and a half-peeled-off veneer. With a little bit of love, a whole lot of white paint and some industriousness, I now have a great piece that I did all by myself!

Biggest Indulgence: My bed…I'm still working on a pretty small budget, but I love the Malm bed and just got a new, very luxurious mattress. It is even more indulgent considering I hauled it all the way from Austin, Texas in a tiny trailer pulled by my Honda Civic! It, the chair and the entertainment stand are the only furniture that made the cut.

Best Advice: Whatever the trends, whatever the style, and especially in regard to your artwork, display what you love!

Dream Source: I would have to say that my dream source would be a huge vintage furniture store with access to refinishing resources and a lot of extra free time! I currently have an amazing bench that needs some love (and a place to fit) stashed in my friend's garage. If only I had the time and budget right now to reupholster it!



White Chair: This was a hunk of junk on the side of the road, refinished by yours truly. The fabric for the seat is from JoAnne's fabric

Bed: Ikea Malm bed. This is still a favorite! The Orange graphic bedding is also from Ikea with a touch of (faux) fur at the end for a little luxury (Target!).

Entertainment stand: Also from Target—it's not currently housing a television, but for such a small space it's coming in pretty handy as a multi-purpose shelf/drawer/table/record player stand.

Desk: Alright, it's not a desk, but the vintage green filing cabinet with a drawer houses all of my files and desk supplies (pens, tape, etc.) and can be pulled out to make a workspace on the bed or at my chair! I work with what I've got! Also makes a nice stand for the space heater.

Hanging wall shelves: Ikea as well. They were an inexpensive solution to my problem: no more floor space for a bookshelf! So, I went upwards.

Record player: General Electric Stereophonic from eBay.

Striped black and brown storage boxes: The Container Store. There are four small boxes, two medium and one large box which are stashed around the apartment housing various stationery, electronic and keepsake items. Cute, versatile storage that isn't too bad when left out in the open.

Dresser: Craigslist. I searched for affordable drawers with some character at many retailers, but couldn't beat the vintage style and small scale of this set for $25! It was sheer coincidence that the finish, albeit distressed, is a darker shade of my wall color.

Mirror: Ikea Husnes. There was no place to hide a full-length, so I found one with a little style, but no frame. I wanted to keep it simple, since I have so many other frames nearby.

Other frames nearby: Various thrift stores over time.

Typewriter silkscreened print: Orion Shepherd, Needles and Pens on 16th St.

Fleet Foxes silscreened print: Farley Pig, at the Fleet Foxes Show.

Vintage Starline suitcase: Goodwill. For $3 this is a great place to stash my scarves and gloves, and it works as a stylish carry-on, as well.

Curtains (over closet): Ikea
Taxidermied butterfly: Mercury Design Studio in Austin, TX ( An amazing interior design store—I wish I could have brought them with me to San Francisco!

Black ceramic candlesticks (and white tall candlestick): Dauphine at Neiman Marcus Last Call.

Short white ceramic candlesticks: Various thrift stores.

Kitchenette shelves: Ikea, painted white.

Birds on tarp photograph next to kitchen: Hiroshi Watanabe, Oswald Gallery Jackson Hole, WY.

Monogrammed "J" mug: Anthropologie.

"Push" signs: Old signs from the doors of the Austin Museum of Art. They were upgraded and shoved in a drawer in a storage closet. Now they are mine!



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