A Small ‘Balinese Scandinavian’ San Francisco Rental Adds Personality With Peel-and-Stick Tiles and Travel Keepsakes

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The living room, which started off as a complete blank canvas.

Name: Christina Thelin and my cat, Saffie
Location: San Francisco, California
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 750 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, renting

My bedroom, featuring floral curtains and Morrocan poufs

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I live on the third floor of a walk-up apartment in San Francisco, California with my 15-year-old cat, Saffie. I moved into this apartment in the Marina district three blocks from the Bay two years ago. I had lived in San Francisco previously but had left to travel around the world and start my own company in LA. Then I received a job offer in San Francisco that I couldn’t refuse. Prior to leaving, I had lived in five different neighborhoods around the city but knew I wanted to be close to the water and shops and cafes on Union and Chestnut Streets. What drew me to the apartment were the peekaboo views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, character details (I love the funky bathroom tile) and great layout. With character, however, comes a lot of tired looking details so I covered the oatmeal-colored linoleum kitchen tiles with removable peel-and-stick tiles from Bleucoin and added a faux peel-and-stick subway backsplash in my kitchen.

My Balinese treasures

I grew up in Los Angeles but spent my childhood summers at my grandparents’ summer home outside of Stockholm, Sweden. My mom was a Pan Am flight attendant from Stockholm while my dad was an engineer from a small, forest-filled town in a Dalarna, Sweden. I attribute my parents for giving me the travel bug early (I have traveled to over 57 countries) and a love of nature. I have named my style Balinavian Boho, which captures the white lines and gold details of a Scandinavian Gustavian style mixed with the dark wood tones and greenery found in Bali—one of my favorite destinations. The pops of pink and blue lend to a more Venice Beach boho vibe, reflective of my LA roots. I love buying art and objects when I travel and used to run an online retail platform featuring beautiful hand-crafted products from female artisans in Southeast Asia (INA + ILIA). I have many of the products scattered around my home, mixed in with keepsakes like an old pair of theater binoculars from my grandmother and a large travel chest from my mother, as well as crystals and a Nepalese singing bowl I collected in Bhutan.

African mask plant and peacock chair hiding radiator

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Balinavian (Balinese Scandinavian) Boho

Main bedroom with Anthropologie bed and side table

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the living room, which has floor-to-ceiling windows, a Juliet balcony, and arched walls overlooking the Bay. I get to watch some of the most beautiful sunsets from my living room. I also love watching tanker ships go by. It was a bit of an awkward room to work with originally because it is long and narrow and had built-in sconces. I was able to break the room up into different seating zones and use art ledges to display my paintings. I also added a faux fireplace to serve as a focal point opposite the windows. I used a combination of plants, floor-to-ceiling curtains from IKEA, a pink couch from Joybird, and Anthropologie coffee table to warm the space up. I also used a convex mirror and crystals to bounce light around the room and make it feel larger. I used shape—circles to honor the arches. I also added a ladder to feature the beautiful textiles I have collected from around the world including India, Bhutan, Thailand, and Bolivia.

My travel chest and convex antique mirror

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I love the leather La Strizza chaise lounge chair I purchased from the CB2 x Goop collection. It is still available but in another color.

Any advice for creating a home you love? You have to start with laying out the rooms and creating functional zones that work for your needs. From there, fill the home with objects you truly love and colors that inspire you. For me, those objects include peacocks, greens and pinks, and crystals. I also think using materials that ground you are important—whether they be natural stones or granite or wood. I have my own interior design company, High Vibe Havens, where I have developed a unique process to identify my client’s style and what materials, style, and colors will best suit their homes.

The funky tiled bathroom

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.