This 650-Square-Foot California Apartment Was Furnished With Budget Buys and Clever DIYs

updated Jan 2, 2020
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Credit: Simone Anne

Name: Simone Anne and my partner Sam
Location: Redwood City, California
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 650 square feet
Years lived in: 16 months, renting

Our living room has a couch from Craigslist (that was originally custom!). Our coffee table was an old piano bench I found on the sidewalk, cut to size, and painted. The chair and pillow were both TJ Max finds. The art consists of a canvas painted by a local artist in South Africa that we purchased while traveling, a print via Etsy, two Polaroids from a wedding I photographed, and a print called “Earth.” The pot for the plant was a cheap terracotta pot from the nursery around the corner from our house that I painted. The vase on the table is a ceramic piece I made myself.

Credit: Simone Anne

Above, the chair is from Cost Plus World Market and the side table was a thrift store find. I added the pom-poms to the terracotta pot for some color and the stained glass is from an artist via Etsy. The bookshelves were handmade from a local furniture store, but we stained them ourselves. The zebra was purchased in South Africa from a hand carver, the face pots were handmade by me (actually all the ceramics were made by me), the print is from Rifle Paper Company, and the camera is my dad’s old camera from when he hitchhiked around India.

Credit: Simone Anne

The plant stands in the bedroom are DIY, and the dresser is my childhood dresser that I painted. The Zermatt print was a vintage poster that we purchased while visiting the small mountain town, and “Half Dome” was purchased via Etsy of one of our favorite places on the planet. The rug was on sale for $300 at Anthropologie! The dishes are from South Africa, and the basket I purchased while visiting Uganda.

Credit: Simone Anne

I found the chair on the side of the road, and this dresser was also free on the side of the road. We painted it blue for a pop of color. The hanging planters are ones I made myself, and the tiny dresser was a Craigslist find. The hat is from Hampui Hats (handmade in Berkeley), and the plant basket was a thrift find for a few dollars. The photo print is one of my own photos (I’m a professional photographer and a non-professional ceramicist).

Credit: Simone Anne

The Botero Baño print was a gift from a friend while visiting Colombia, and the letterpress is a card I saved for ages. We added the pom-poms to the light fixture to add some pop to our rental bathroom. The blue soap bottle is glass, purchased online.

Credit: Simone Anne

I work from home, and my desk area brings a lot of joy: Handmade ceramics for pens, as well as a Kentucky Derby glass from when I saw the races. Small map of New York City on a letterpress card, because it’s one of my favorite cities in the world. Paper mache tiger was a find in Cartagena, Colombia, and the print of Amsterdam was hand-drawn by artist Elessi and purchased in Amsterdam. The photo is of a mural in South Korea by a local artist that I was so inspired by when I visited. Prints are various letterpress items and promo materials I just loved. The striped blanket is handwoven in Mexico out of recycled fibers by Hello Nipomo, a local mother and daughter brand out of Oakland, California.

Credit: Simone Anne

The zebra pillow started as a joke, but in the end, is something I dearly love: It’s a photo I took while visiting South Africa. I was inspired to print it as a pillow when a friend argued hard that it was pillow material. The very next day, a company reached out asking if I wanted to create a custom pillow. It felt like a sign. The face pot is my own creation.

Credit: Simone Anne

The black plant pot is hand-painted, and the red side tables were a Craigslist find that I fell in love with. I got the pair for $125! I added the unique knobs from Anthropologie, mismatched on each side. The bed was something my partner was given by his parents when we moved in. The evil eye was a treasure picked up in Turkey while visiting. The tiny paintings are unique and hand-painted in Florence by an artist. I purchased them there and brought them home in a journal, before matting them myself with the bright yellow background and a little frame from the art store near our house. The hanging planter is something I created.

See more of Simone’s work on her personal photography site, wedding photography site, and instagram, @simone_anne

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