Jenny and Cristina’s Rustic Modern Apartment

published Jan 26, 2010
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Jenny Rinzler and Cristina Espinosa
Location: Mission Dolores, San Francisco
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: Cristina for 8 1/2 years, Jenny for 5 years (they had roommates until 3 years ago)

It’s one thing to make a home out of your rental. It’s another to make a home out of your 100+ year old rental with poor wiring and insulation. Now that the years of roommates are over, Jenny and Cristina finally have their charming abode to themselves and have made it their own. With a hands-off landlord (both a blessing and a curse), they’ve had the freedom to paint the walls and update storage systems in order to make their home both friendly and functional for its many uses.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Jenny and Cristina are an extremely creative, crafty and busy couple. Besides their day jobs, Jenny makes handmade organic baby quilts for her company Ciuccio Baby and Cristina plays in a band and runs The Heated, a thriving screen printed tea towel business. With all that goes on within their home, it’s a necessity that is stays so well organized. Their craftiness (and appreciation for all things handmade) is apparent throughout. Most of the art adorning their walls is from Etsy sellers. Jenny sewed nearly all of the pillows and curtains herself. Cristina, the handy woman of the house, takes care of all of the fix-its needed in this century old apartment. They have also repainted every room in the house save the lovely textured wall in the entryway. Still, they have yet to replace any light fixtures that require rewiring, as the antiquated wiring makes them nervous.

Theirs is a home that doesn’t deny that it is lived in. Jenny’s sewing machine and Cristina’s musical equipment are in plain view, but that just adds to the charm and character. In a very urban environment, they have managed to create a place full of love, quiet and coziness away from the chaos that is city life.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

AT Survey:

Our style: Clean and simple. Modern by choice, vintage by necessity.

Inspiration: A lot of the inspiration for our home has comes out need for space, the drive to keep it un-cluttered feeling, and budget. Several years ago we made a decision to own art. What we’ve bought has affected how we arrange the rest of our belongings. Our first big fight was over art, and from that day on we decided we could only buy things we both loved. It’s worked well.

Favorite Element: We absolutely love the location. In less than 15 minutes we can walk to the Castro, Hayes Valley, the Mission, Lower Haight and we have access to almost every Muni line. As far as the apartment goes, it has wonderful character. A working fireplace, arched ceilings, old knobs and hardwood floors quickly come to mind.

Biggest Challenge: Ultimately it’s space. Every room in the house has at least 2 doors, windows and most have built-ins. This really limits the way we can arrange things. We also each run our own businesses so dealing with space for all that goes along with that can be hard. The electricty in our house hasn’t been updated in a long time. We have only 1 outlet in most rooms. They are threashed and not very safe. The computer and all Cristina’s music eqipment is plugged in to the only grounded outlet which is in the little room off the kitchen. Look closely and you’ll see cords running in crazy places.

What Friends Say: Most people comment on how put together the house always looks. We’re both neat freaks so in general the house reflects that. We’ve been told that if we ever leave, they want to move in.

Biggest Embarrassment: This house is freezing, all the time. Friends know to wear layers when they come over. Even with the oven on and a fire going, the single-paned double-hung windows don’t insulate a bit. Also, the toilet rocks a bit.

Proudest DIY: Cristina – the ironing board she made for Jenny to use for quilting. Jenny – organizing her business and a lot of Cristina’s into a well functioning closet.

Biggest Indulgence: Lately it’s been frames for all of the art we’ve collected. But the single most expensive item was the dresser in our bedroom. We bought it from Zonal in Hayes Valley. It was the first large purchase we made together. Our real indulgence in life though is good food.

Best advice: Get rid of crap. Buy things you’ll love forever. Make stuff.

Dream source: True craftsmen. If we ever get to the place where we can afford it and we’re putting together a new home, we’ll go handmade as much as possible.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Living Room: Marimekko fabric – Repro Depot; SF district poster – Ork Posters; Deer art – Sita Rupe, Dog portrait – Jill Pilotte of small stump; Tree wallpaper – Cole and Sons; Coffee Table – Pottery Barn (stripped and painted by Cristina); Birdcage – bought at Candystore (vintage from Vietnam); Paper lining built-in – Flax; Rocking Chair – Eames Loft; Wall color – Benjamin Moore (I think it was called Deep Marine)

Bedding – Garnet Hill; Decals – Single Stone Studios (Etsy); “Welcome” Ice Hotel Photograph – Still Memory (Etsy); Apple Print – DeYoung Museum; “Yellow” photograph – Erin Tyner (Etsy); Paper boxes – Paper Source; “Floofy” little bird – Little Bit Funky (Etsy); Telephone – Pottery Barn

Trees Painting – Tiny Sparks Design; Succulent containers – Wetter Indochine made for Rose and Radish; Wall color – Benjamin Moore 2049-60 forget me not

Panoramic photograph – Karen Hellyer; Soybeans – M. Larobis; Cow photographs – Monko Photography (Etsy); Moustache – Cristina;
Elephant photograph – E.Soule (Etsy); “Inside-Out” and “Bottles and Jars” – Jill Pilotte of small stump; Blue suitcase – Paper Source; Sugarbow – Anthropologie; Dishes – Crate and Barrel and Sur la Table; Wall colors – Benjamin Moore for PB AF-660 granite/872 white christmas

Dining Room:
“Waiting For Love” chairs photograph – Jose Lampreia (Etsy); Wood Whale and Wood Veneer – Cristina; Wood Apple – Miss Natalie (Etsy); “Raincollector” print – Sea Spray Blue (Etsy); Abstract Painting – Elana Kundell; Houses print – Tiny Sparks Design; Cabinet – Candystore (vintage); Mid-century dresser – Craigslist; Candle holders – CB2; Hourglass – Belle Jar; Wall color – Benjamin Moore AC-34 cape hatteras sand/accent frames BM AC-36 shenandoah taupe; Mantle color – Benjamin Moore 2167-10 burnt caramel

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

(Thanks, Jenny and Cristina!)

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