Marie & Nick’s Festive East Bay Ranch
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Name: Marie Muscardini & Nick Silberman + Siena & Rocco
Location: El Cerrito, California
Size: 1,300 square feet
Years lived in: 2 — owned
Who said that lightning can’t strike twice? Welcome back to El Cerrito, California! Nestled in the hills of the East Bay, El Cerrito sits northwest of Berkeley and is an increasingly favored destination for young families. Marie and Nick were no exception, moving into this 3 bedroom, 2 bath ranch to make space for their growing brood.
Marie, a special education teacher at a school located just a few blocks from their home and Nick, a contractor (note his handiwork in the play structure in the backyard), knew they’d found a gem right away. The home sits burrowed downhill at the end of an unassuming cul de sac. Surrounded in lush greenery and a secret-garden style yard, bright Orange Clock Vine lights up the home’s neutral exterior. While their previous place had required much handiwork and attention, this 1950’s ranch was appealingly move-in-ready. Legend has it that the home’s previous owner was a food stylist for Williams-Sonoma and this couple was the delighted recipient of his simple, modern aesthetic that suited their functional sensibilities.
The house offered a family-friendly open layout, vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, lots of natural light and a fenced in yard — perfect for containing small children and their dog Georgia (and rare to find in El Cerrito due to city ordinances). Try as it might, not even the torrential rains on the Saturday of my visit could subdue the festive and playful spirit that radiated from within the home.
While it may have come with good bones, the vibrant and unique style that this duo brought to the home is 100% theirs. A beautiful blend of modern and classic can be seen in their furniture selection. Vintage leather chairs contrast the warm, colorful hand-painted armoire in the living room. Strung paper crafts adorn modern light fixtures and antique mirrors. They’ve added several accent paint colors to warm the otherwise white walls and have creatively used fabric to conceal hallway storage. They have combined art, made mostly from family and friends, with meaningful treasures collected over the ages — note Marie’s collection of assorted hanging plates in the kitchen. The overall feeling is enviable! The space is warm, modern and alive and a great example of how to draw from many cultures and eras to create a festive tone.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: I think my style is made up of items that I love. I’ll put anything in my home that I am drawn to for some reason. When we first moved into this house I thought it was too modern for a lot of our belongings. However, over time I started to bring all those items into the house and realized that together it all makes sense even if it’s not modern like the details of our home. I also really appreciate what color can do in a space and bring that into our home in different ways. I like to change things up and keep our home in motion so it stays interesting. I also appreciate living in an orderly environment and try hard to keep order with two kids and a dog.
Inspiration: My creative friends and family.
Favorite Element: How open and light our home is. The light in this space helps to keep spirits up even in the winter. The open layout of the house is perfect to keep your eye on the little ones.
Biggest Challenge: Integrating all the stuff children seem to come with and getting rid of all the excess in a timely manner.
What Friends Say: Being in our home is relaxing.
Biggest Embarrassment: My studio has become a dumping ground instead of an inspiring workspace. It’s the first project on my to do list.
Proudest DIY: The simple way we figured out how to hang a favorite piece of artwork by our friend Frank Callozzo and our family photo wall.
Biggest Indulgence: The large dining room table that we bought from the previous owner. It can seat 10 people comfortably and also acts as an art table, laundry folding table, or a place to hold our extra stuff until it finds a permanent home.
Best Advice: Fill you home with things you love and your style will emerge organically.
Dream Sources: I don’t have one dream source, but I do long to have all our art framed professionally.
Resources of Note:
• Antique chicken coup that we use as a shoe holder: Alameda Flea Market
• Coat rack: used office supply Berkeley Outlet
• Quilt art piece: Alexander Kori Girard
• Collected art mostly from family and friends
• Couch: a modern furniture store in Berkeley that went out of business
• Painted armoire: Zentrum in Berkeley
• Vintage leather chairs: Hand me downs from Nick’s grandparents
• Mother/Daughter art piece: Wendy LaRusch (Nick’s mom)
• Copper side table: Made by a friend as a wedding gift
• Coffee table: IKEA
• Rug: Pottery Barn
• Table: Custom made for the house
• Red Chairs: IKEA
• Wooden bench: Wooden Duck Berkeley
• Highchair: Stokke
• White Credenza: Salvaged from Urban Ore in Berkeley
• Vintage kids kitchen: Sandbox in Sonoma
• Cabinets: IKEA
• Appliances: Electrolux
• Dish & Glassware: Random collection from all over
• Bed frame: West Elm
• Dresser: Hand me down from Marie’s grandparents
• Modern Tansu: Alameda Flea Market
• Crib: Stokke
• Medicine cabinet: Alameda Flea Market
• Hanging plant pot: IKEA
• Japanese Tansu: Hand me down from Marie’s grandparents
• Bookshelf: an unfinished piece painted light gray
• Table: Salvaged from Urban Ore
• Red Chairs: Gumps
• Rug & Bedding: IKEA
• Floor Pillow: San Francisco China Town
Thanks, Marie, Nick, Siena & Rocco!
Images: Jason Russell
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