Nancy and Robert’s House of Festive Flair

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Nancy and Robert Salz
Location: Berkeley, California
Years lived in: 25

Nancy Salz says her home is devoid of architectural interest. But over the past 25 years, she and her husband Robert have embellished their three-bedroom family lair with lovingly crafted DIY projects and intriguing collections, making it one of the most colorful and creative homes in Berkeley, California.

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

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The first floor flows easily from room to room showcasing vibrant surprises around every corner. A lantern woven of red lanyard string glows beside the front door, leading guests toward a cozy living room where Nancy’s hand felted throw pillows adorn a red leather couch. In the adjacent dining room, glittery tree branches sparkle around an antique paper rosette making it feel like New Year’s Eve every night of the year.

Here and there little collections draw you in. Asian dolls rest on a shelf beside Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. Miniature dogs offer loyal companionship above the sink during dish washing time. And baby Jesus figurines that greet the world from atop a side table.

Upstairs, colorful spools of yarn stack up against a striped wall in Nancy’s wondrous studio. This is where she reworks vintage pendants and brooches into the dazzling necklaces she sells in her Etsy shop. When she needs to take a break, she retreats to the sun room where a whimsical striped afghan drapes over a brass and iron day bed. From here, she can look out onto the back garden, at the patio she and Robert constructed last fall with reclaimed bricks. A tall succulent wall the couple collaborated on, joins creeping ivy and hanging wisteria vines to add a bit more greenery to a high concrete wall. Across the way, there’s a tall wooden shed Robert built years ago. Metal flowers bloom from the front of it, while around the side, a rusty little mustached man in blue dungarees holds a hammer in one hand and a saw in the other. “That’s Robert,” says Nancy. “While he was building the shed, I made this little figure of him with the scraps.”

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Re-Nest Survey:

Our/My style: Eclectic

Inspiration: Art works, fabric; Usually a room starts with one piece of furniture or art object and develops from there.

Favorite Element: Nature; warmth.

Biggest Challenge: Clutter. I love a minimalist space, but I can’t achieve it. I like too many objects and textures. I have to fit them all in. Also, storing art materials, and bad light in half of the house.

What Friends Say: They love all the color. They say it’s warm and cozy.

Proudest DIY: Usually whatever my latest project is. Right now it’s my succulent wall!

Biggest Indulgence: Fabric. I am constantly buying fabric, making curtains, new pillows, aprons…

Best Advice: Don’t try to stick to a theme or style.

Green Elements/Initiatives: Lots of DIY projects made with salvaged, reclaimed materials.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Appliances: I painted the front door of my Subzero fridge.

Furniture: Some family pieces handed down; flea markets; pieces collected during our travels.

Accessories: Handmade throw pillows, doll collections, jewelry…

Lighting: Overhead lighting by local artist Lee Meltier.

Rugs and Carpets: A few kilim, but I mostly like the look of bare wood or tile.

Tiles and Stone: I hired a mosaic artist to do the tile in the kitchen five years ago.

Window Treatments: Nothing serious. Fun fabric. I’m constantly changing it. I also like windows without curtains.

Paint: I paint a lot of texture onto the walls. I’ve done drips, and stripes using tape. Even if I like a color in a room, I change it pretty often. I need a lot of change and variety.

Flooring: I recently painted the hardwood floors white, after 25 years, it lightened up the house so much. The black and white kitchen floor was inspired by the movie Chocolat.

(Thanks, Nancy and Robert!)
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(Images: Celeste Sunderland)