A Renter Found This Gorgeous Modern Loft (In a Former Elementary School) on Craigslist
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Name: Ella Khan
Location: West Oakland — Oakland, California
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, rented
When Ella had the opportunity to relocate anywhere in the U.S. for her career, returning to the East Bay was at the top of her list. Aside from growing up there, it was the diversity, community, and culture that made it an ideal place for her next life journey. While browsing Craigslist, she came upon the listing for her 800-square-foot apartment: a spacious unit in a former elementary school that was built in 1915. It was the rich history of the building—as well as the beautiful modern touches—that made her fall in love with the apartment.
Now totally remodeled, the unit is almost perfect for Ella (the storage options could be better, she says). The huge windows let in an abundance of light that keep her plants thriving, and the kitchen counter space provides ample space for entertaining her friends and family when they come over to share meals or binge watch TV. “It is the first time in my life that I have a kitchen big enough and with enough counter space for multiple people to cook together and I definitely take advantage of that,” she says.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: “Maximal-minimalism”, Modern Boho
Inspiration: I am constantly inspired by my travels and pick up little items for my home everywhere I go (like my international magazines and international elephant collection). I also having amazingly stylish friends with beautiful homes that constantly inspire me. Also, Domino Magazine, My Domaine, Apartment Therapy, Instagram, Kinfolk… it goes on and on!
Favorite Element: The large east-facing windows and high ceilings are definitely my favorite part. The light streaming in throughout the day helps my plants thrive and creates a peaceful environment for me to unwind.
Biggest Challenge: There is not much storage space so most things I own are on display. As a result, I had to be very intentional about everything that I kept when moving here, as well as every new thing that I bring into the apartment. The place did not even have a closet so I turned the laundry room into a little walk-in closet and stored my clothes in a very open manner as a visual reminder of everything I have so that I actually utilize each piece more.
What Friends Say: “This place is so you” and “When are you doing my place?”
Biggest Embarrassment: The high ceilings make it difficult to light the living room at night as it does not have an overhead lighting fixture like the other spaces in the unit. I generally just use the living room to binge watch TV at night, so basically my workaround is just to do activities that do not require bright light in the living room at night (much easier in the summers when the days are longer).
Proudest DIY: My plants! It took me years to hone my green thumb and become a good plant mama. I had so many embarrassing trips returning dead plants to Home Depot in the beginning! But I have had most of these plants for several years now—they even survived a move from Sacramento (and a few even came with me from Philadelphia). My biggest accomplishment was successfully propagating several of my plants.
Biggest Indulgence: The carpet in my living room was found in a souk in Morocco. My best friend helped me choose it and I was so obsessed with it that I had to have them ship it the States, which definitely felt like an indulgence!
Best Advice: Just do what you like.
Dream Sources: Alameda Point Antiques Faire, travel (especially Morocco and Pakistan), EQ3, Design Within Reach, West Elm, vintage stores
Bowie coffee table — West Elm
Plant stand — Vintage
Metal frame chair — West Elm
Reverie sofa — EQ3
Trio brushed brass floor lamp — CB2
Eden tufted pillow — Urban Outfitters
Rainbow Hook pillow set by Justina Blakeley — Jungalow
Love pillow — Anthropologie
Alpaca throw blanket — Peru
Painting — Roeqiya Fris
Stockholm bench — IKEA
Rug — Lahandira, Morocco
Assorted pots and paintings — Anthropologie, Crimson Horticulture, Dry Garden, travels and DIYs
Bedframe — Floyd Detroit
Clothing rack — Urban Outfitters
Bedside table — Urban Outfitters
Sheepskin rug — Need Supply
Rug — Pakistan
Painting — Painted Mary
Boob bath mat — Cold Picnic
Bath mat — Rejuvenation