For being in such a busy Oakland neighborhood, Alex and Peter’s apartment feels really calm, serene, and secluded. “We fell in love with its private tree house charm, and how seemingly hidden it was for being so centrally located on a main drag in Oakland,” Alex says. “Plus, the lush backyard was a perk we couldn’t turn down!” Alex is a clothing designer, and Peter is a musician (currently playing for the punk band Wax Idols), and that feeling of privacy is crucial so they can create without any distractions.
They appreciate their home every day, so they make use of the space as much as possible. “One of the best parts of our home is how malleable and changeable our living room has become,” Alex says. “We move the furniture pretty regularly because the space serves so many purposes and can be both functional and comfortable at the same time.”
When they aren’t working on projects at home, they enjoy inviting friends over, listening to music, playing with the cats, and entertaining in the backyard with outdoor movie nights. It provides them with the perfect balance of work and play, which is just how they like it.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Eclectic, but clean and minimal. Our home is basically a cozy gallery. We slowly collect art, records, books, and objects that are meaningful to us. Art is scattered throughout every room in the forms of paintings, prints, ceramics, textiles, and fiber art. There is also creativity in the details of our home, like the painted light switch plates and ornaments that adorn the door knobs, which lends even more artistic personality to our home.
Inspiration: It is important that our home promotes an atmosphere for me and my partner to focus our creative energy. Peter has his music area setup, and I (aside from my studio) spend time working from home, so we both have areas of respective work space. Our place is small, but we have managed to make it work by slowly collecting the right furniture for what we need. I also take advantage of the backyard and balcony for parts of my creative processes, like painting, printing, and dyeing.
Favorite Element: Definitely our growing art collection! We love supporting artists and decorating our home with unique pieces. Much of the art is made by local artists, friends, and myself. We are very passionate about the arts, and love that our home reflects that.
“It is important that our home promotes an atmosphere for me and my partner to focus our creative energy. Peter has his music area setup, and I spend time working from home, so we both have areas of respective work space. Our place is small, but we have managed to make it work by slowly collecting the right furniture for what we need.” — Alex
Biggest Challenge: Storage. Aside from a bedroom closet, we only have a tiny hall closet and kitchen cabinets to keep things in. It has been very tricky to make sure everything has its place, so we purge from time to time to make sure our living space remains minimal and organized.
What Friends Say: “OMG the stove!” We have a working vintage Wedgewood Holly aqua stove that always catches everyone’s eyes. It must be from the 1950s, and it’s in great condition, but because it’s vintage, the pilot light is always visible on the stove top burners and newcomers often ask about it.
Biggest Embarrassment: It used to be having a litter box for the cats, but now that our cats are outdoors more often than not, they stopped using it and we were able to abandon having one inside.
Proudest DIY: Turning a nook of our apartment into an area for home-studio visits. I am a clothing and jewelry designer, and in some cases, I will book private appointments for people to come over and try my pieces on in a comfortable space.
Biggest Indulgence: Collecting art, from art books to original pieces of art. I love supporting artists and creative friends, while also growing a distinctive home gallery.
Best Advice: If it isn’t beautiful or doesn’t serve a purpose, toss it.
Dream Sources: Original pieces of art, handmade things, Art Deco, skilled organization, Japanese design aesthetics, and minimalism
Wall hanging — Lise Silva
Painting — Angela Fox
Mixed media art — Alise Anderson
Art prints — Egle Zvirblyte
Art print — Jeffrey Cheung
Silkscreen — Robert Minervini
Couch — IKEA
Shelf units and table — IKEA
Wood table — Thrifted
Plant stand — Urban Ore
Kilim pattern rug — World Market
Black & white striped rug — IKEA
Nude Pillow — Alex Steele
Shibori dyed pillows — Alex Steele
Mask for Mask pillow — Maker & Mineral
Hand pillow — Maker & Mineral
Chair — Building Resources
Re-upholstered linen cushion cover — Maker & Mineral
Light switch & outlet plates — Alex Steele
Woven storage basket — Michael’s
Bracket hanging system — ACE Hardware
Textile print — Paul Wackers
Art print — Egle Zvirblyte
Porcelain woman sculpture — Julia Ballenger
“Moon Babe” ceramic figures — Munbeibi
Cat figures — Japantown
Table & stools — Yard sale
Wedgewood-Holly aqua stove — Vintage
Painting — Lena Gustafson
Wall hanging — Alex Steele
Painting — Angela Fox
Collage — Ari Bird
Risograph print — Atelier Bingo
Concrete framed mirror — Alex Steele
Necklace — Laurel Burch
Cat face rug — Souvenir from Japan
Ceramic bathtub lady — Julia Ballenger
Ceramic hand — Tania Skevos
Boobs cup — Miami Beach
Patrick Nagel tile art — Vintage
Ceramic heads with orange figure — Munbeibi
Ceramic boob wall hanging — The Latch Key
Glass shelf — IKEA
Crystal soap — Wild Medicine
Drawer and cabinet knobs — World Market
Keith Haring shower curtain — Online source
Bath towels — Pottery Barn
Hand towel — IKEA
Bath mat — Target
Bench — IKEA
Nude pillow — Alex Steele
Doorknob pom-pom ornament — Mexico
Bed linens — IKEA and Bed Bath & Beyond
Side table — Thrifted
Lamp — Thrifted