A Nature-Influenced California Home Finds Beauty In Plants, Patterns, and Textures
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Name: Yasemin Sussman, my husband, a muralist and artist in Berkeley, our six-year-old son Luka Falcon, and our Russian Blue cat
Location: Berkeley, California
Type of home: 1930s Victorian home
Size: 2,700 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, owned
Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Our light-filled, North Berkeley Victorian home showcases 12-foot ceilings, a custom seven-foot arch window in the front living room, an expansive dining space, and a large, lush backyard with a variety of plants and trees (avocado, lemon, and olive trees; agave, aloe, and banana plants). Seamless indoor-outdoor living creates beautiful, natural light in every space. The loft-like upstairs includes a primary bedroom with an attached bathroom and another bedroom with a separate full bathroom, as well as two nooks, exposed wood beams, and skylights.
The house has a modern, Scandinavian style with pops of color, including a wall-hanging vintage Turkish rug and natural materials used throughout. Thoughtful, modern updates complement classic detailing, including an electric fireplace with a striking blue tile fireplace surround and new double-pane windows. The guest bathroom features a clawfoot tub, mustard velvet curtains, and marble floors; the home also has original hardwood floors, custom crown molding, and vintage chandeliers.
My husband is a muralist and runs his business in a separate studio in the backyard, where you can find him creating custom canvas paintings, wood cutouts, and more. The backyard also includes my design studio, which I recently renovated and remodeled, taking it from an old storage space to a bright-filled studio filled with everything from textile and wallpaper samples to design magazines.
The downstairs apartment has a separate entrance and features a kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, and a small stage. It’s a more industrial space, with a bohemian interior style. We also host photo shoots and video shoots at our home through Peerspace, where you can find our space available for rent. We love sharing our space for creative uses!
I identify as someone who loves nature, which is reflected in our home through its materials. I love using natural textures, from jute rugs and sheepskin rugs to wool throws. Texture adds so much depth to a space; one of my favorite spaces is the stairwell, where I hung a large, vintage Turkish rug filled with bright colors, from neon pinks to blues, which complement the blue-painted stairs.
I love a simpler, neutral color palette throughout the home and a more minimalist style balanced with pops of color. The guest bathroom downstairs has its own personality; it was one of the first projects I took on, and added a beautiful eco-friendly jungle and floral wallpaper. I love how you can see it from the living room space!
Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Modern, Scandinavian with pops of color and natural materials; light-filled, indoor-outdoor connection.
What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the living room. The custom arch window is a focal point; there is a beautiful mix of historical and traditional touches, from the crown molding to the stain-glass windows on either side of the arch window, along with modern updates, including the electric fireplace and Azul blue tile fireplace surround and hearth. I spend hours in this room, reading the latest New Yorker and Architectural Digest magazines or Apartment Therapy on my iPad and doing puzzles with my family.
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? One of the last things I bought for the downstairs apartment of our home was a beautiful vintage Moroccan runner. When I found it at one of my favorite local boutiques, Clic Marin, I didn’t have any idea where I put it, but I knew I’d find a home for it somewhere in the house. I’m a very instinctual person; when I see something that I know I must have, I get a feeling that it’s meant to be, and it will work out. I create mood boards for my spaces, but I also like to shop at vintage stores and local boutiques and will buy and then place items, even if I hang on to them for a while before finding their home!
I also recently purchased the Irate Border Shag Rug from West Elm for the primary bedroom, and I am so in love with the modern black and white graphic borders with hand-braided tassels. It’s a beautiful piece for the space, made with New Zealand wool.
Any advice for creating a home you love? Your home is your creative expression, so very unique to you. Your home should reflect who you are — not only what objects you like but how you feel. If you are moving into a new space or in your current home and want to update your interior design style and decor, I recommend evaluating what you have and what you would like to update, whether it’s new colors throughout the home or new furnishings. I also recommend making the overall design accessible and interchangeable. Our style and tastes can change! Look for inspiration anywhere and everywhere, from places you’ve visited to some of your favorite stores and designs and furnishings in those places — what speaks to you is what will guide you.
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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