A Small San Francisco Condo Has the Best Pink Built-In Bookcase in the Bedroom
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Name: Sheta Chatterjee and Maltese-Shih Tzu pup Stanley
Location: San Francisco, California
Size: 823 square feet
Type of Home: Condo
Years lived in: 4 years, owned
What first drew Sheta Chatterjee, who works in user experience design at a tech company, to this 823-square-foot condo in San Francisco was the view. “Being able to see the San Francisco skyline from my home was breathtaking,” she says. “I also love the bright, natural light, perfect for my 32 house plants.” She shares her small home with her adorable dog Stanley, and she spends a lot of her time at home hanging with him on the comfy couch and making mixed drinks using glassware from her collection of over 100 glasses.
Sheta wanted a space that was both bright and airy, but also that had room for her collections of things she loves, plus a little bit of color, too. “Being a designer, I love colors, use of space, and thinking about design details,” Sheta says. “I’ve always been naturally drawn to interior design especially since it has a lot of overlap with what I do in the digital world, making something beautiful and functional that people love.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Mid-century modern, maximalist, colorful. I wanted both something relaxing and neutral-toned and also something extremely colorful. So I designed diﬀerent spaces in my home with that in mind. In the living room, you see clean lines and a very mid-century modern vibe. There are a lot of neutrals and airiness in the space, with warm walnut tones. However, in the bedroom, you have a completely diﬀerent vibe. Bright pink walls, artwork everywhere, a massive bookshelf with tons of things I’ve collected over the years. It’s super fun to have different looks within the same house. Especially during the pandemic when we are all home a lot, having spaces that feel distinct in terms of style and overall vibe is super important to make things feel more fresh.
Inspiration: I follow Emily Henderson since I love that she can do so many diﬀerent styles of interior design so beautifully. I also take a lot of my inspiration from the environment around me and love layering with diﬀerent textures and colors.
Favorite Element: My favorite element is the built-in bookcase my dad and I built together. It is behind my bed. I needed more storage for all my things and my very extensive collection of masks, books, and artwork. I had a ledge behind my bed and an inset wall, so I thought, why not build a wall of bookshelves! The built-in is massive, 12 feet across and seven feet high. We also added molding to the fronts of the shelves to give it a Victorian vibe. It’s something unique and fun in my home, and I love how colorful it is!
Biggest Challenge: Fixing up my bathroom was a really difficult design challenge. When I first moved into the space, the bathroom had matte white ’80s style tile and dark green walls. The vanity cabinet was also dark cherry. Everything clashed and as a designer it was super hard to look at! I also had a really small budget.
I fixed it up by first putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls. It’s amazing what paint can do to a space! I painted the walls a pale gray/white color called “Paper White” by Benjamin Moore. I also painted my vanity cabinet the same color. For the flooring, I worked with a flooring company to install waterproof laminate floors. The laminate is actually floating above the tile flooring so none of the original floor had to be demolished, significantly saving costs while still achieving a more modern look. In addition, I added colorful artwork and pops of color to the space to make it feel more inspiring and interesting since it doubles as a guest bathroom!
Proudest DIY: Definitely the built-in bookshelf behind my bed is my favorite. But I also have a second favorite. I designed and built floating shelves next to the dining table to put all my entertaining things. It also doubles as an area for my pup Stanley to have his food and water! I bought redwood pieces and stained them walnut to match the warm wood tones in my space. It is yet another additional place for all my extensive glassware collection!
Biggest Indulgence: It was by far the kitchen renovation. My kitchen before was really dated, with black granite countertops and cherry cabinets, along with old tile flooring. It darkened the space up a lot and I really wanted it to be light and bright. So I tried to be as resourceful as possible and do a cosmetic update. I got the cabinets refinished to a light gray and changed the countertop. I did no layout changes to keep it simple, and I changed the flooring as well to a beautiful hex cement tile. I love how cement patinas and the color variation are visible. It was definitely worth it since the space is so much brighter now! I also love cooking and being in a kitchen I love is very nice, especially now during the pandemic when I’ve been cooking a lot more and using this space many times each day.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? A lot of my favorite things are items I have thrifted or bought at flea markets. On the floating shelves next to my dining table, I have this Dutch cheese board with a ceramic inlay of fish. It’s so unique and something I couldn’t have bought anywhere but a flea market.
I also have a small green ombre vase on a wall shelf next to my TV, and that’s by far my favorite item, mainly because of its history. I bought it at a small estate sale in an Eichler/mid-century modern neighborhood in San Jose, California. The lady who owned it before was an artist and that was her favorite piece she created. Her children also loved that piece and wanted it to go to a good home. I definitely treasure that vase since it was created with so much love and was cherished for years.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: When in a small space, use the walls! Add shelving, storage furniture, or whatever you can DIY to your walls. Making walls work for you is super important because it’s amazing how much storage you can have in a smaller space. In my space I have floating shelves in the dining area and also a stainless steel bar with hooks to hang my mugs and pots in the kitchen. I also bought a wall shelf in the living room and my DIY bookshelf in the bedroom. It’s made it easy to have a home for all the random things I collect and make the space feel more inspiring and full of life!
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t get swayed by too much advice! I feel like when I started decorating I got a lot of advice that I should tone down the colors and stick to neutrals because that’s what most people liked. I think sometimes it feels better to just stick to more mainstream decor because it is more universally admired. However, there’s something really amazing about making your home your own style. Add things you uniquely love or have collected throughout the years. Your home may not be loved by everyone, but what matters is that you feel like you can be your authentic self in your own home and that you love it!
PAINT & COLORS
- Living Area— Behr “Natural Almond”
- Bedroom— Behr “Delicate Blush”
- Bathroom — Benjamin Moore “Paper White”
- Wall-mounted wine rack — Wayfair
- Movie Queen sleeper sofa — CB2
- Safi rug— West Elm
- Mid-century pop-up storage coﬀee table — West Elm
- Paulo Bent ply leather chair — West Elm
- Modern buﬀet— West Elm (similar)
- Narro side table — Article
- Marble daisy table — Poly and Bark
- Bar cart— Overstock
- Greek bust — Etsy
- Gratitude jar — Gratitude Glass Jars
- Black ceramic face vase — Living Spaces
- Herringbone throw pillow — Living Spaces
- Mud cloth pillow cover— Mali Mudcloth
- “You Sentimental Idiot!” artwork — Artfully Walls
- Bartender tools set — Mixology & Craft
- Glass beverage dispenser — CB2
- Serving tray — Wolfrum
- Ornate gold bar cart tray — Vintage
- Black rattan tray — TJ Maxx HomeGoods
- Mid-century expandable dining table — West Elm
- Jack metal frame dining chairs — West Elm
- Progress serving platter — MMclay Ceramics
- Bud vase — Year & Day
- Dinner plates — Year & Day
- Salad plates — Year & Day
- Blair metal flatware set, antique brass — West Elm
- Artesia round rattan honey placemats — Crate & Barrel
- Possini Euro wired glass and chrome chandelier — Lamps Plus
- Brass kitchen faucet — Kingston Brass
- Solid ash hex cement tile — Clé Tile
- Cellar wine rack — CB2
- Always pan — Our Place
- Trio of knives + Stand — Material
- Utility kitchen canisters — West Elm
- Stagg EKG electric kettle — Fellow
- Salt & pepper shakers — Heath Ceramics
- Curved upholstered headboard — West Elm
- Gemini nightstand — West Elm
- Floral vase — Anthropologie (similar)
- Organic modern geo duvet cover — West Elm
- Cotton percale sheet set — Target
- Yakima camp blanket — Pendleton
- White stone diﬀuser — Vitruvi
- Floor lamp — Amazon
- Fado table lamp — IKEA
- French paper bag storage — Etsy
- Poppy orange tray — Wolfrum
- Faux fur white ottoman — Target
- “Aunty” artwork — Hatecopy
- “Jhoots” artwork — Hatecopy
- “Satyanaas!” artwork — Hatecopy
- Resurrection Aromatique hand wash — Aesop
- Seagrass basket — TJ Maxx Homegoods
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.
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