sneak peek: tonya and mike sutfin


today we’re invited into the home of freelance graphic/publication designer¬†tonya sutfin and her illustrator husband, mike. it’s hard to believe that they’re renters in this fantastic loft in a former furniture factory in emeryville, ca. tonya jokes that most people often think that the only thing that emeryville has to offer is ikea, when in fact it’s a haven for artists with great warehouses and loft spaces (and home to pixar), claiming “it’s SO willy wonka.” i always love seeing designers thrive in unexpected places, so it’s a wonderful treat having this sneak peek into their great home. thanks so much tonya and mike! and if what you see below isn’t enough to fill your fancy, click here to see more. –anne

[Above: Our bedroom is lofted, by only four steps, and open to the rest of the loft, We positioned our bed to face the only wall, which helps us feel somewhat enclosed and private. The nightstands were a craigslist find. I am in love with the graceful arches.]

Across the bed is the credenza, another craigslist find. I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw it for sale! The print above is by Robert McGinnis and was my gift to Mike at our wedding. It’s actually signed to Mike personally! The chair was a gift from my mom a long time ago. It is usually occupied by a kitty named Orange.


My desk is flanked by bookcases and I like to keep decorative and inspiring items there. The artwork is Mark Ryden‘s Blood, Sweat and Tears Micro Portfolio and the little monkey is part of The Scavengers from Kathie Olivas. I have to mention this odd flower. The red caps, which are hard like shells, eventually pop off to reveal the lovely yellow pom poms. It’s amazing!


Our bathroom is in the back of the apartment and therefore has zero natural light. We live in a live/work building and one of the features is this pocket door in the middle. It’s supposed to hide the shower from fancy clients that might come through, but we pretty much leave it open all the time.


Meet Roosevelt. At a mere 19.5 pounds he is presence. Here he enjoys the view from our wall of windows. If I moved that bench, all hell would break loose.

This is one chair from a pair that I found on the always trustworthy craigslist, the other resides in the living room. Every home needs an Uglydoll.


I work in the hallway. This may sound dreadful but it’s actually a perfect spot. Mike’s studio (not shown. complete disarray at time of shoot. very busy boy) is in the back of the apartment and this is his view. We like how the light filters back to us but doesn’t affect our monitors.


This little table and chair set was from a Salvation Army in my hometown of Rockford, Illinois. I think I paid $15 and at the time it was held together by paint. But my mom is so clever and together we refinished and reinforced this die-hard piece. Since then it has traveled with me through numerous apartments. It always seems to have a place!


Ikea, an Emeryville landmark, is located just across the train tracks from where we live. Can you tell?


I broke up our wall of books with little dioramas. On display, another Campus Cutie, inspired by Audrey maybe? And the Pup Cup by Yoshitomo Nara. Everyone is so sleepy…

  1. alexa says:

    i know this is kinda an old post but i absolutly love this space and that chair that was found on craigslist, does anyone know what the name of that style chair is so i can try to have one of my own. thanks:) happy designing!


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.