Introducing the Sunset Bungalow

Even though I’m continuing to put (never ending!) finishing touches on my house, I thought you might be tired of seeing my guest room for the tenth time so I have an exciting new project for you today! It’s also nice to switch up your design focus every once in awhile. And I love helping out a friend. So when the lovely Chloe Roth asked if I might help her pull together her newly purchased San Francisco bungalow, I gladly jumped in. And we thought we ought to take you along on our design journey!

sunset bungalow on apartment 34

Chloe snagged the cutest little two-bedroom house in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood. Just blocks from the Pacific Ocean, the Sunset is well known for its rows upon rows of candy-colored houses built in the 1930s (check out a fascinating article about San Francisco architecture here). If you’re lucky, you can snag one of these houses with their charming period features still intact. While I’m thrilled we have some fun details like arched doorways and huge picture windows to play with, there is also plenty of late-90’s lighting, a builder-grade kitchen and really bad beige paint everywhere. It is definitely is feeling a bit drab.

As a creative director, Chloe has a very discerning eye and a clear aesthetic (her previous apartment was even featured in an interior design book), but it can be hard to look at the blank slate of an entire house and figure out where to begin. Thankfully, I’ve now had some major practice with that! We’ve been working to apply Chloe’s modern, minimalist style to this new beach setting and I love where we’re headed. With any project it’s always super helpful to create a mood board. It helps keep you focused and keep everyone on the same page. Below is our mood board for Chloe’s main living spaces (ie her living room, dining room, bedroom and office).
sunset bungalow on apartment 34
We’re going for a theme of soothing and serene. We’re playing with a color palette inspired by the beach: a combo of grays and natural wood tones that play homage to the color of sand and a few unexpected pops of deep saturated greens reminiscent of the cypress trees that dot the coastline. This will all sit against a bright white backdrop. There will be a mix of some yummy textures to offset minimal clean lines. Chloe is also a plant whisperer so we’re working on creative ways to incorporate living elements throughout the house. I cannot wait to share some of our best solutions!

Over the coming weeks you’ll get to see more of our inspirations, our best DIY projects, the paint color selection process and of course, the final before and afters. Be sure to follow @thechloeroth’s #thesunsetbungalow on the Instagram for all the updates. We’re going to have some fun!

For more interior design inspiration, CLICK HERE.



Sunset Bungalow Update: Fireplace Debate

If you checked in on our Sunset Bungalow update last week, you saw our first paint color dilemma in the bathroom. The overwhelming majority of you voiced your support for painting the back wall of Chloe’s bath with the color Positively Pink T18-01 from my partner Behr paint’s 2018 Color Trend palette. While we’re going to wait to reveal our final design decisions until the entire house is complete, the vote went so well we wanted to get your opinion yet again! Today we’re talking fireplaces.

Chloe is lucky enough to have a fireplace with a gorgeous deco-inspired mantel in her living room. I’m obsessed. But the fireplace is also a bit of a difficult design element. It sits on an odd angled wall tucked into the corner of the living room’s west side. You can’t center furniture around it. You wouldn’t put a TV over it. Instead, it has to be treated more like an art installation rather than a place to congregate. So we’re going to run with that.

As I worked on the living room design, I realized this was another great opportunity to insert innovative use of paint. When we fell in love with Behr’s 2018 Color Trend hue Equilibrium T18-20, we immediately wanted to add the deep, rich green to this spot. The image below is our current design inspiration.

Since Chloe’s fireplace isn’t functional, we decided it’s the perfect place to showcase her love of plants, as in the image above. Grounding the fireplace in Behr’s deep, sophisticated green will make a perfect backdrop for a mini urban jungle. But we would love your thoughts on one key choice.


Our first option is to simply highlight the chimney chase with Equilibrium T18-20. This options feels a bit more traditional and classic.


However, we’re seriously considering the idea of turning the corner with the paint color. By adding a second wall (per your questions in the comments, this wall is actually about 3 feet wide and abuts a doorframe), the effect is more graphic. It feels influenced by modern cubism. And like the inspiration image, it will create a little corner that can house both plants and possibly a little chair or stool.

So what say you? Are you feeling the bolder look of Option Two? Or are you more drawn to the traditional look option one. Please weigh in by commenting on this post as we would love to know!

For all the details about the Sunset Bungalow Project RIGHT HERE.

This post is in partnership with Behr. All thoughts are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting posts that have kept apartment 34’s doors open.



On the Hunt for: Black Steel Doors

If you’ve ever remodeled or redesigned a house, you’re going to relate to this post. If you haven’t, consider this a little peek behind the curtain. You go in thinking everything will just run smoothly, that you will be able to find everything you need and get it when you want it. Alas, the world of home design does not work that way my friends. There are a litany of variables, any of which can trip up your entire design process. Perhaps a trade is unavailable (for the next six months!). Perhaps your dream tile is back ordered (for at least six months). Or perhaps you have a vision that is tough to actualize. This is the case for one of my favorite design ideas for our house: steel doors.

black steel door trend on apartment 34

One of the key design features I want in our house is steel doors separating this room from the rest of the communal space. Steel doors are stately. They add such drama. They don’t block light. They’re black. And added bonus, they’ll tuck away our TV so as my kid has movie nights with friends (many years down the road – have you read my thoughts on kids and tech??) us adults can enjoy the living room with the doors closed.

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That said, actualizing these doors is easier said than done. It’s very hard to find sources for custom work. While I’ve found many a resource if I want some steel doors for my bathroom (this Apartment Therapy story is a good one), but crafting a set of 11.5 ft door has proved to be exceedingly challenging. But look at all this pics. The vision is just too good. This design element must become a piece of our house.

So if you happen to have a line on someone who would want to create the prettiest set of doors that you ever did see, I’ll take any and all recommendations!

For all the latest on our remodel, CLICK HERE

image 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 unknown



Learn to Mix the Perfect Cocktail with Dona Tomas

Today’s edition of Delicious Spaces might look a little familiar to a long-time Apt34 reader. I’ve been a major fangirl of brunch at Dona Tomas since my days of pregnancy cravings.

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I’m also a fan of the simply chic decor in Dona Tomas’ dining room. Tucked next to Oakland’s Temescal Alley, Dona Tomas keeps things clean and classic. Creamy white walls are dotted with authentic Mexican tapestries and candelabra sconces. Gorgeous ironwork separates the dining room from the exterior patio. Vintage Mexican posters, jumbo grass pendants and floral tablecloths on outside tables are colorful touches. But this pared-back setting is the perfect way to let Dona Tomas’ food and cocktails shine.

delicious space in oakland on apartment 34

And if you’re in the Bay Area, I have an extra special treat for you. Dona Tomas is offering their first cocktail class at the restaurant this weekend! The class will focus on three unique cocktails off their brunch menu: the Celorita, Bloody Maria, and Coco Mocha, described below. You’ll learn how to make each of three cocktails, from the mixes and syrups, where to find the ingredients and tools, how to measure, shake and stir, and get answers to any questions about tequila and mezcal.

Celorita —
habañero infused Vida mezcal, agave & lime, pineapple, cilantro, cucumber & celery

Bloody Maria —
Cimarron Blanco tequila, tomato juice, lime, horseradish, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt and pepper

Coco Mocha —
Flor de Caña dark rum, chocolate liqueur, coconut milk, iced coffee, piloncillo-canela syrup

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If you’re in the mood to spice up your cocktail skills, or a simply in the mood for a fun afternoon of great food and amazing drinks you should seriously consider taking this class. I’ve included all the details below.

What: Dona Tomas Mexican Brunch Cocktail Class
Where: Dona Tomas, 5004 Telegraph Ave, Oakland CA PHONE: 510-540-0522
When: Sunday, Feb 25th, 2pm
Cost: $30 per person
Details: Call to purchase your tickets! 510-450-0522

images for apartment 34 by aubrie pick



Idea to Steal: Slow Playing the Shelfie

A few days ago I Instagrammed the bookshelves in my house and IG (in spite of the algorithm) went wild. And while I love that moment, looking at those shelves got me thinking about the art of the shelfie. We’ve definitely talked about it here ad nauseam. But as I work on my home’s finishing touches, I feel an immense pressure to have everything picture perfect immediately. I suspect I’m not the only one.

slow playing the shelfie on apartment 34

Walls filled with art. Shelves stacked with layer upon layer of treasures (or crap depending on your personal taste), side tables and consoles perfectly accessorized. But what if we stopped chasing “the collection.” What if the goal of decorating your home wasn’t about filling it with objects, but instead filling it with meaning? Even as I push myself to finally “finish” my house, I’ve begun to reconsider my perspective. Rather than look at blank spaces as unfinished, I wonder if I can instead find wholeness in the holes.

slow playing the shelfie on apartment 34 slow playing the shelfie on apartment 34

Sure, things will creep in over time. But that’s the operative phrase – over time. I’ve only lived in my house for just over a year. We only completed some major construction just before this past holiday season. And while I love my blogger and stylist friends who shop and pull until the cows come home, whipping up a “completed” home in time for the afternoon’s photo shoot, I’m wondering if I can just step out of the race entirely.

slow playing the shelfie on apartment 34

Instead, I want to create beauty from the one thing, maybe the two things that truly give me joy. I want to reveal in that negative space. I want to be filled up by the openness because our lives are already crammed full of so much stuff (and in my case legos). I want to have room to breathe. I think each shelfie in this post exemplifies this idea.

slow playing the shelfie on apartment 34

Yet you often hear disparaging terms applied to this idea. Sterile. Impersonal. Cold. But I just call it real life. There’s no need to swing by Target or CB2 every two days for some new thing. Instead, find an art fair. Take time to walk through your local gallery. Hit the flea market when the mood strikes, but take home only the “I can’t live without it” piece.

I’m pleased to report that I can name the source of everything currently on my bookshelf and there’s not a big box store to be found, but I actually want to edit out even more. I want to try to open up as much blank space as possible and  see how the years will fill it. And I want that to feel more than good enough. I want it to feel like home.

For more of our best ideas to steal, CLICK HERE.

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Delicious Space: Bar Crenn

The latest edition of our Delicious Space series is a seriously stunning new wine bar that I’m thrilled to report is in my own backyard. Bay Area readers, take note. Famed chef Dominque Crenn has just opened a new and seriously beautiful space in San Francisco’s Marina district. Situated next door to her two-Michelin starred flagship restaurant Altier Crenn, the small, intimate and lush Bar Crenn is intended to be a place to gather over classic French food, amazing wine and hopefully stimulating conversation. This isn’t your run of the mill pick up spot. Bar Crenn is meant to be like a home away from home for a wine and design enthusiast.

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I have long admired Chef Crenn and my girl-crush only grew after I watched her on Chef’s Table (yet another show you must watch). While an amazing chef (best female chef in the world in 2016 in fact), Dominique goes beyond her dishes, taking a very creative approach to both her food and her restaurants. She is driven by her vision and the holistic experience she wants to create for her patrons. Bar Crenn is an awesome example of this.

When concepting her bar, Chef Crenn was inspired by 1920’s Paris – when the city was a cultural, literary and art epicenter. She wanted to recreate that salon-like environment where luminaries would gather and discuss the day’s pressing issues. When I first walked into Bar Crenn I could immediately image Gertrude Stein holding court in the corner. I would gladly wile away hours in this space.

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Decorated by Dominique’s friend, Karan Brady, the room is shrouded in thick green velvet curtains, shielding the space from the street and giving the feel of the private club. Even the entrance is down a walkway off the sidewalk so you almost have to know its there to find it. Seating is limited to luxe settees and Louis VXI armchairs clustered around green marble-topped cocktail tables to further foster conversation. This is not a space where you pack shoulder to shoulder. This is where you come to sit, relax and enjoy. Everything in the room has a vintage patina like you stepped into the Nashville filter. Crystal stemware line the back bar and antique chandeliers dot the ceiling. Sheepskin topped stools line the bar. There’s a hint of femininity in the old world glamour, but it also doesn’t feel overly girly.

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Bar Crenn’s menu centers around timeless french dishes that Dominique actually sourced directly from her directory of famous French chefs like Alain Ducasse and Guy Savoy. Must be nice. Plan to get a real education on French wines. Glass pours will range from $14-$50.

I was lucky enough to preview Bar Crenn and taste test its menu in conjugation with a special event hosted by American Express Platinum. Last year American Express launched their Global Dining Collection – exclusive partnerships with a team of Platinum Card Members’ favorite chefs from around the world – think José Andrés, Massimo Bottura, Stephanie Izard and Thomas Keller – to provide Card Members with exclusive access to one-of-a-kind dining experiences and events.

American Express hosted an exclusive dinner with Dominique at Bar Crenn the week before its grand opening and apparently they offer other events throughout the year. I’m going to add all the dishes I tasted to my Instagram story archive so you can see all the amazing bites we enjoyed. And I guess I better start paying better attention to my email to be sure I know when Platinum offers these crazy cool dinners. But I’m just thankful I can head down to Bar Crenn any old time.

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Bar Crenn is an elevated, curated and thoughtful addition to the San Francisco food and bar scene. Dare I say this is a bar for grownups (yup, I’m officially SO old). You can make reservations for table seating up to a month in advance (apparently the first month sold out in the first 10 minutes reservations opened up online,) but they will also reserve half of their seats for nightly walk-ins. Reservations for the month of April will open up on March 20 at 11AM. I know I’m going to be clicking refresh to get myself a table.

3131 Fillmore Street
Open Tues – Sat 4:30pm – 12:00am

For our archive of Delicious Spaces – aka rurl prudy restaurants, CLICK HERE

original photography for apartment 34 by andrea posadas / portrait by jessica chou



Idea to Steal: Fuzzy Wuzzy Seats

You know the first time you see something unusual and you think oh no, that’s a crazy idea. And then you see it a little bit more and little bit more and it grows on you. That certainly happened with me and mom jeans (I’m praying it won’t happen with the skinny sunglasses thing). But it has also happened with the fuzzy chair trend. Have you seen these guys yet? I’m super curious what you think about them.

idea to steal: fuzzy chairs on apartment 34

I’m talking about the teddy bear-esque easy chairs that have been showing up all over my Pinterest and in virtually every design magazine you pick up of late. Covered in wooly sheepskin and usually curved like a cozy little nest, turns out this idea is not new. Of course, it is in fact mid-century modern.

idea to steal: fuzzy chairs on apartment 34

The most recognized fuzzy chair, called the Tired Man, was created by Danish furniture designer Flemming Lassen in the 1950s.  But the Tired Man chair is actually being produced again today (which is good since vintage ones on 1stdibs are running about $24,000). But the new ones come with hefty pricetags too.

idea to steal: fuzzy chairs on apartment 34

The newest version the scene are literally called the Papa Bear and Baby Bear armchairs by Pierre Yovanovitch. They’re a bit cutesy for my tasty but would be the most expensive chair for a kids room possibly in the world.

idea to steal: fuzzy chairs on apartment 34 idea to steal: fuzzy chairs on apartment 34idea to steal: fuzzy chairs on apartment 34 idea to steal: fuzzy chairs on apartment 34idea to steal: fuzzy chairs on apartment 34idea to steal: fuzzy chairs on apartment 34

A lot of peeps are simply finding cool, mid-century style armchairs and simply reupholstering them in the wooly sheepskin. I just love the texture the look adds to a room. In a house with wall to wall hardwood floors and stark white walls, I think a fuzzy chair would be the perfect way to soften a room. I’m seriously considering adding one to our dining room.

What say you? Are you feeling these fuzzy chairs? Or have I just been staring at them for too long?!

Check out our Idea to Steal archive RIGHT HERE.

images via vipp hotel / lassen / Pierre Yovanovitch / Vogue /Pierre Yovanovitch / 1stdibs / Pierre Yovanovitch / lassen / 1stdibs



Design Today: Go Bold or Go Home

Today I have another installment of our 2018 Design Ideas series. I am so excited to bring you one of my favorite interior design dynamic duos, the husband and wife team behind Homework Design. Hopefully you caught the tour of Susan and Ben’s own crazy gorgeous San Francisco home (right here). Today they’ve tipped their hands to share the inspirations driving their innovative, bold designs right now.

go bold or go home on apartment 34

lighting by anna karlin / styling by sarah de beaumont / popham tiles /cubes & cylinder house by town and concerete / dynamic geometry by ahaa architecture 

Susan and Ben are known for taking their projects to the next level. They’re always on the cutting edge with an inventive new use of pattern, color or detail that feels totally unique and totally stunning. So naturally when Susan and Ben offered to share their advice for 2018 design, I was all ears.

“This year we’re excited to go big or go home! Out with white, light, and minimal- and in with maximalism and over the top! We’re talking pattern on pattern (on pattern!), complementary color combos, and obtuse angles. Oh, and cement tiles, statement lighting, and the color pink are here to stay.”

While I might not be jumping on the uber-bold pink bandwagon or be willing to let go my attempts at minimalism right away, I am certainly warming to a more intense use of color, especially when its tone on tone. And if I could add some geometric tile to our house I totally would (oh isn’t how funny what a year or two later brings to the design table). But if you need to ease into some of this trends, the pieces below should help!

go bold or go home on apartment 34

GET THE LOOK: anna karlin pendant // cle tile // set of bowls // lounge chair // ceramic vase// object // pink sofa  // art print // throw pillow // ombre rug // faceted vases // standing mirror

For our entire 2018 Design Ideas series, CLICK HERE.


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Banquette, Baby!

I’ve been chugging along on the Hood Canal Cottage design – I know I am SO overdue for an update for you, but when you’re in the throes of design deadlines it can be really hard to find a moment to pause and recap everything. But I swear, it’s coming slowly. In recent weeks I’ve moved on from major architectural design and finish decisions into the interior design side of things. It’s been a tad overwhelming, as I haven’t decorated a space from scratch since we moved to San Francisco nearly 10 years ago (did you ever catch the tour of my first place in SF? I’m almost embarrassed to share it, but I was SO proud of it at the time).

Designing the Hood Canal Cottage is a unique situation to be in for a hobby designer like me. Usually, you move and take pieces with you, but since the cottage won’t serve as a full-time residence, I’m starting from a literal blank slate.

My focus this week has been on the dining room – or in this case dining space as the dining area sits within a great room that also houses the kitchen and living rooms. I’ve been shopping around like a madwoman trying to hone in on the look and feel I want to bring to life in the dining area. I want it to feel distinct and anchored – its only little zone within the larger room. And the idea I keep coming back to again and again is banquette seating.

Banquettes and built-ins have been having a moment for a while now, but I would argue for very good reason. A built-in banquette is a great space saver and increases the capacity around a dining table. Since I envision the Hood Canal Cottage as our hub for future Thanksgiving dinners and holiday gatherings, I definitely want to be able to cram as many people around the table as possible.

Like many of the examples you see here in this post, our dining table will also run parallel to a long wall rather than float in the middle of the room. A banquette will allow the table to sit a little closer to that wall, saving precious floor space.

I also love how a banquette offers the opportunity to add cushions or pillows, or both! Adding upholstery to a dining space softens areas often dominated by hard surfaces. I love how that brings a sense of coziness, inviting you to sit and linger over your morning coffee a bit longer, or pour that last little bit of wine and stay up talking. I want this home to encourage anyone who stays there to slow down and enjoy the little moments. Kinda like you’re living on vacation. That is the goal.

Adding a major upholstered piece at the dining table will also help me bridge the living room space and kitchen.

While I am obviously on the banquette bandwagon, I do have some convincing to do. Not everyone in my household is on board with the idea of a banquette. To add to that resistance, I’m not finding any good off-the-shelf options so it’s likely I’d have to go custom to create my vision. Custom is certainly not the most affordable of options.

So what say you? Do you happen to have a banquette in your home?? Do you like it? Have you found it comfy? Useful? Are there downsides you’ve dealt with? I think I’m pretty committed to this design choice at this point, but I would love hear what you think! Please share in the comments section.

Catch up on the Hood Canal Cottage HERE.

Check out more design ideas HERE.

images vincent van duysen | home designing | mr & mrs white | danthree | amber interiors shoppe / larritt-evans design | poppy talk | nicole franzen | decus interiors / 



Making the Old New Again: Aka A Peek at My House

When we first bought our 150-year-old house, sure, I was intimidated about designing a space from top to bottom – let alone a historic one. I was certainly worried about picking the right floors, the perfect tile and creating the right lighting layout. Sure I wondered if the perfect shade of white actually does exist (I would claim it does and I found it – more here). But it was upon demolition when the walls were opened and the trials and tribulations of renovating a century-old structure were revealed that I fully grasped what I was in for. Today, I’m partnering with NETGEAR to share a bit of what I’ve learned about modernizing a historic home.

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While an old home’s details may be charming and give you warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feels, they mask all the nasty that lurks just below the surface. Things like ancient pipes, hardly functioning nob and tube wiring and narrow insulation-less framing all hide beneath lovely plaster walls and charming antique archways. These hidden problems are just a handful of the discoveries we made upon embarking on our remodel – a few pics above for the proof (did you remember my dining room started out raspberry pink? Ironically, the same color as the original Apt34. Coincidence? I think not). Yes, I awe-struck by the 15-foot tall cedar 2x4s that have held up our home since the 19th century, but at the same time, we also discovered dry rot and termite damage, asbestos, and lead. If you’ve watched any HGTV show of late, you are familiar with the budget busters of which I speak. No wonder this house is the project that never ends.

how to modernize an old home on apartment 34

But I was determined to take the opportunity we had to preserve the home’s historic details while building a fully functional modern space from the inside out. So that meant all new wiring and all new plumbing, all new lighting and all new floors. It also meant installing solid core CAT-6 with RJ45 connectors for standard ethernet with a gigabit transfer. Or in real people speak; we installed nice fat internet pipes directly into the house. But once the walls are all closed up, painted and pretty, you still have to get the internet throughout the entire home.

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That’s where aesthetics come back into play. Throughout the design process, I worked to ensure we paid homage to my home’s amazing history by maintaining all of the crown molding, ceiling medallions and even the original hardware and glass doorknobs on our dining room’s French doors (swoon). I recently had the dining room fireplace reconstructed to replicate would have been there at the turn of the 20th century. It’s my current crowning achievement. I also love juxtaposing really modern elements against these historic details. Hence things like my new favorite shelving unit in the dining room. I can now display treasured pieces, have a place for both a mini-bar and my design book collection all while hiding some of my kid’s toys (#winning).

NETGEAR was also kind enough to supply their Orbi Whole Home WiFi System to ensure the house has modern function. The Orbi Wifi System has created such better connectivity throughout the house. The bonus? Orbi also comes with a much better design than your typical tech. Our house’s far corners (places like bathrooms – don’t lie – you know you bring your phone in there!) are no longer black holes and I haven’t had to sacrifice my design sensibility. There’s nothing I hate more than a lot of wires and cables running every which way, so I truly appreciate that Orbi Whole Home WiFi System has just one single plug-in. Did you even spy the wifi router sitting in my dining room?

If you’re planning on modernizing your home this spring you can update your look and modernize your connectivity without having to compromise on aesthetics. You’re going to really love having reliable wifi that gives whole home coverage yet is designed to look clean and simple.

how to modernize an old home on apartment 34how to modernize an old home on apartment 34how to modernize an old home on apartment 34

dining room sources: shelving / dining table / pendant light / art / design book / design book / design book / paint color

this post is in partnership with NETGEAR. All words and opinions are 100% my own. thanks for supporting collaboration that we are excited about and that have kept apt34’s doors open. to learn more about Orbi, visit NETGEAR’s website.