sneak peek: olive route



in keeping with last week’s national stationery show coverage, our latest sneak peek comes to us from letter press designer olivia san mateo of olive-route. her 1950s bungalow is located in walnut creek, about 20 minutes east of berkeley, ca. besides being a charming place they love that the house is surrounded by lots of trees and close to
trails on the open space at the foothills of mt. diablo. don’t miss additional images at the end of the post. [thanks, olivia!] anne

[above: my mom used to work for an oriental furniture store when i was growing up. so i was surrounded by lots of rosewood furniture and antiques mostly imported from china. attending architecture school also started my love for anything mid-century. so i feel that now, my aesthetic is a combination of these two strong influences. since most of my furniture tends to be darker and heavier, i lighten it up with the details such as airy chars, white vases, light walls…]


i like how masculine the dark chair and the rosewood side table look against the light walls and painting by jane kim. the base of the lamp is this pink cherry blossom jar that my mother had made into a lamp. my husband trusts my design choices, his only request is that the house not look too “girlie”, so this area is a great example of how we compromise.


i like collecting pieces from artists i know personally or have encountered at one point in the past–i feel more of a connection to the work that way and gives it a story :) my mentor, david, gave me the original linoleum block he carved for the nurse poster above my fireplace.


we spend most of our time in the backyard during the summer months. this outdoor living space is great for
warm nights. succulents and orange plastic chairs from ikea lighten things up. [right] this armoire is great for hiding things such as throw pillows, magazines, junk, etc.–i tend to put my things in compartments and can’t stand too much clutter so this works great. the plant sits on one of 2 porcelain antique drums (one of my favorite pieces). again, i feel it lightens up the space and is a great contrast to the heaviness of the armoire.

  1. helent says:

    Beautiful and so serene- and is this the same Walnut Creek that I so loved in Little House on the Prairie?

  2. Ashley says:

    Chair envy. I love them all.

  3. Valerie says:

    I’m interested in knowing who did the picture/painting of the yorkie above the fireplace? I’d love to have something similar done of my dog. Thanks!

  4. Robin says:

    You are blessed to have David Lance Goines as a mentor. I lived in the Bay Area most of my life, and have always loved his work. I own several collectible prints of his Children’s Hospital Los Angeles poster, created in 2001 and each hand-printed by the artist. They are treasures!

  5. Arya says:

    I LOVE the picture of the dining room.

  6. Mouse says:

    Love the teak in that dining room–and the weathered coffee table, too!

  7. olivia says:

    hannah berman of did that portrait of my dog, max!

  8. eh says:

    very sweet! so light and airy. would love to see a picture of the front of the house, and more overall shots to see how the rooms fit together.

    is that a fig tree next to the fireplace?

  9. amy marcella says:

    beautiful! but i especially like that you have a dog that looks just like mine :) gotta love those little bunnies.

  10. olivia says:

    the house is still a work in progress, the exterior and kitchen eventually being our next project. it will probably be a while before it all comes together! sigh.

    yes, that’s a fig tree next to the fireplace :)

  11. Denise says:

    I’m on the hunt for dining chairs to go with a great, teak table I bought. The mismatched chairs in this dining room are an inspiration! Thanks!

  12. Kristin says:

    Loving that white tile backsplash!!

  13. vasudha says:

    because we see blue in abundance due to the sea and the sky…. i feel that with this setting…we naturally start feeling very calm and serene… the freshness is everwhere…LOVELY…..WOW…and WONDERFUL

  14. ann says:

    david lance goines. my favorite, favorite, favorite, ever, ever! just makes me happy to see that poster.

  15. Cute lantern! Great taste.

  16. n says:

    beautiful home!

  17. Maya says:

    This home is very much like my own. I love leaning pictures along ledges, mantles and desks. It really brings a playfulness to the decor. I enjoy these photos very much.

  18. Tricia says:

    Having stayed at this beautiful home when I am in town, it is truly as serene as it looks! We joke around about it as i tends to suck you in and you have no concept of time. Sigh.

  19. Wilson Tai says:

    Looks great, Via! I recognize the vintage rosewood end table and the antique hope chest and country shelved open slat cabinet. Not to mention the porcelain garden stools. Swing through Rosewood House (Uptown Oakland / Concord on Clayton) to see our evolved collection. Goes to show that scandanavian, mid-century and traditional Asian flow in the same vein. – Wilson

  20. Christine Rothenberg says:

    Where did you get the black light above the table ?


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