Peter & Margaret's Happy-Making Music-Loving Home

Peter & Margaret's Happy-Making Music-Loving Home

Janel Laban
Sep 27, 2011

Name: Peter, Margaret and Hurley, too!
Location: Japantown — San Jose, California
Size: 1,350 square feet
Years lived in: 6 months

Peter and Margaret are newlyweds — they settled into this home just before getting married. Only six months after moving in, there is a definite design direction to the space; it's simple (but not spare), clean and crisp (but not cold) and the couple's love of the good things in life — art and music — clearly shines through.

Peter shared some of the thinking behind their design decisions: Our house utilizes a lot of natural light and includes a broad mix of colors. The style is modern and fun, drawing inspiration from Apartment Therapy house tours. We are fans of many of the classics such as Nelson and Eames, but are always on the look out for new styles and anything we see that catches our eye.

We are huge fans of art and very proud that most of the artwork in the house was done by myself and my wife, or by our close friends. We base a lot of our color choices on the artwork that we have created, and vice versa. Being newlyweds, this was our first home together and pretty much furnished the entire place from scratch. Our challenge was to efficiently fill the space with not too much, while making it feel cozy and fun.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Modern, minimal, fun, colorful, and art inspired. Just a place that makes us happy!

Inspiration: Artwork is a major component to the house. If the walls were empty, the house would feel completely different. We had owned some of the artwork prior to moving in to the house and loved them so much that we wanted to make sure that the art fit right into the rooms we were going to put them in. So a lot of our furniture and color choices were based on some of the art we owned.

Favorite Element: The high ceilings and all the natural lighting this place gets. The high ceilings of the house make it feel airy and larger than it actually is. We also have a lot of windows throughout the entire house, which provide natural light to all the rooms. It definitely helps in the bedroom, since the sunlight sneaking in through the blinds every morning is the perfect way to start the day.

Biggest Challenge: We started moving into this house right before we got married and were furnishing it from scratch. Our goal was to give the house the modern, fun, and clean feel that we envisioned but make sure that it was cozy and comfortable at the same time. It took some patience to keep shopping around until we found individual pieces that we were satisfied with for each nook of the home.

What Friends Say: Some words we've heard are "clean", "sleek", "modern", "homey" and "fun". We also get asked a lot about our artwork (who and where to get them).

Biggest Embarrassment: The dog hair! Hurley (our rough-coat Jack Russell Terrier) sheds everywhere he goes, so we have to constantly vacuum, sweep, and lint roll everything, especially when we have guests over.

Proudest DIY: The artwork that was done by us. It's always cool when people ask us "where did you get that piece?" and we get to say "we painted it ourselves." Some other pieces are from our close friends too, which we're also proud of.

Biggest Indulgence: The bed. Neither of us had truly spent the time or money to purchase a bed that we really were in love with. We had been sleeping in our beds from college or what we could afford after graduating from college, so we felt it was time to really get that perfect bed since we just got married. This one from Room & Board has an upholstered headboard that we've always wanted, and was custom designed with the fabric and color.

Best Advice: Don't be afraid to mix the cheap with the expensive. Just because you own a few designer pieces doesn't mean you can't throw in some Ikea items that catch your eye. It's about the colors and lines, not the price. Finally, always furnish your house for yourself and what you love. It's where you and your friends and family will share some of the most intimate and memorable moments. Make sure that it feels right. You won't regret it.

Dream Sources: Dwell, Room & Board, Brooklyn Flea Market

Resources of Note:


    • Behr: Belgian Sweet (bedroom)
    • Behr: Toffee Crunch (dining room)


    • Sofa: Room & Board
    • Side Table: CB2
    • Nelson Platform Bench
    • White Wire Shelf: Container Store
    • Rocking Chair: CB2
    • Sapien Bookcase: Design Within Reach
    • Green Pouf: CB2
    • Eames Armchair
    • Coat Rack: Container Store
    • Pillows: Crate & Barrel and CB2


    • Eames Sidechairs with Wire Base
    • Red Arc Floor Lamp: CB2
    • White Credenzas: Craigslist
    • Metal Sidechair: Crate & Barrel
    • White Cubes: Ikea
    • Plant Pot and Stand: Vintage (wedding gift from groomsman)


    • Bed: Room & Board
    • Dressers and Nightstands: Ikea
    • Mirror: West Elm
    • Lantern Floor Lamp: Target


    • Desk: Ikea
    • Office Chair: Zuo Modern
    • Guitars and Amps: Fender, Yamaha, and Vox
    • DJ Equipment: Pioneer


    • Guitar Man - Mike Pullano (friend)
    • Willow - Margaret
    • Sneakers - Nate Duval
    • Sky Valley - Parvez Taj
    • Blue Mountain - Peter
    • Big Ear Man - Mike Pullano
    • Death Cab for Cutie - Todd Slater
    • Raindrops - Margaret
    • Red Girl - Peter and Mike Pullano
    • Basketball Player - Mike Pullano
    • Make Art Not War - Shepard Fairey
    • Newspaper and Cloth - CB2
    • Camera - Ryan Snow
    • Technics Turntable - Ryan Snow
    • Alphabet Art - Anna Larsson
    • Blossom - Margaret

Thanks, Peter & Margaret!

Images: Peter & Margaret

Peter & Margaret's House Call

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