sneak peek: hannah berman of pie bird press


our special friday sneak peek comes to us from letterpress designer (and RISD grad) hannah berman of pie bird press and is especially impressive since none of the rooms of her house in albany, ca (just north of berkeley) are larger than 10 x 10 feet.  the little house was built was built in 1942 by charles macgregor, a local architect known for his bungalows.  the house was built during the war, and meant to cater to a working-class family, so although it is very well-built, it is tiny by today’s standards- less than 1,000 square feet including an added-on room that she uses as her office.  hannah definitely says it has been a challenge for to furnish the house (and display all her many collections) without crowding the small rooms. she describes the result as “cozy,” but i love what she’s done with the place.  you can find more from hannah in her etsy shop and on her blog, and more images from her home right here. [thanks, hannah!]anne

The living room is full of collections:  ceramic deer, vintage globes, the bird’s nests my father collected when I was a child…  One day I would love to spread everything out more;  at the moment it’s a little bit like living in an antique store.


I like my bedroom to be a calm place, which is why I chose a green tea color for the walls.  I have a collection of nautical-themed Paint-By -Number paintings that I’ve acquired around the country.  The lamp on the nightstand is part of another collection I started in college when I discovered my first lamp of this kind in a junk shop.  I have quite a few variations of it, but they are currently in storage until I get a bigger house.  If you pay attention you will notice the inspiration for many of my cards around my house- the Moonbeam alarm clock above the bed is one example.

I love to cook and entertain, so when I bought the house one of the deciding factors was the kitchen, which still had its original cupboards and floorplan (a rarity these days!).   To increase storage, I had more cupboards custom built to match the limited existing ones, and had the counter top tiled in the style it would have originally been. I also laid linoleum flooring (which is a green product, by the way), and installed my baby: a 1950’s Wedgewood stove.  I’ve been collecting vintage red and turquoise kitchenwares and dishes for years, so everything matches.  I rewired the phone myself but it rings so loudly that I keep it unplugged.  The prints on the wall include cards by Dutch Door Press and Blue Snail Papers .  The clock (which works!!!) is by fellow-RISD grad David Dear .

The dining room is definitely one of the more eclectic rooms in the house, with its Danish modern table and its 1930’s built-in china hutch, which originally came from my parents’ house, and where I house my collection of vintage turquoise cream pitchers.  The large painting is by one of my best friends, Jane Kim , and the smaller pieces are by Rori Wilson (top), Old School Stationers, and Jane Kim.

CLICK HERE for the rest of hannah’s sneak peek after the jump!






The backyard is probably as big as the house itself, with lemon and walnut trees, and a 60 year old fig tree that hangs over the patio.  There is a little gate hidden in the ivy that opens up onto a park/walkway behind my house.


Artwork by Kelly Neidig (landscape), Emily Andrews (ambulance), Jane Kim (clovers), Esther Ramirez (house), Kota Ezawa (Polaroid etching), Leah Giberson (pool), and myself (Seymour’s silhouette).  The large painting above the credenza is also by Jane Kim.

  1. shawn says:

    hannah b – you are design, comfort and perfect with campari and soda in the backyard! love you and your lemon tree

  2. Tabitha says:

    I’m so glad you painted your kitchen bright blue. Everywhere I look it seems everyone’s doing the whole white-walls-colored-furniture thing and I was starting to feel like a freak with my kitchen walls being a rich, bright blue.


  3. my friend sent me this link because she said it reminded her of the type of decor I like. I’m so glad she did–what an inspired place!

  4. Anna Lloyd says:

    Adorable! I love the colours.

  5. Diane says:

    This is my favorite sneak peek! I used to live on Evelyn in Albany and the fireplace and front door remind me of our sunny little house with it’s huge yard.

  6. Lynne ME says:

    Wow, Hannah! When you’re done being the best pressperson in the Bay Area, you can do interior design! Fantastic! xoxo

  7. Laurie says:

    Oh boy, I love your house Hannah… the stove, the art, the fig tree, everything! Nice to see you at NSS again. P.S. Didn’t know you went to RISD. I did too, 1996 photo. : )

  8. Zorba says:

    Great Stuff !!!
    I love the pitcher with “Martini” on it. Very 50’s. My aunt had her whole Rec Room outfitted in that pattern.

  9. amy says:

    I love these sneak peaks but I have noticed a trend lately, which is that elements that are specifically mentioned in the descriptions have been cropped out or are otherwise missing. At the risk of sounding churlish, do these get proof-read before they are posted? Keep up the great work–this is my favorite lunchtime reading treat.

    1. grace says:


      sometimes we include the full text from the homeowner because the objects exist in the full-sized versions of images on flickr. that said, i’ll try to make sure we get a better handle on that ;)


  10. Wendy says:

    I love that it is so colorful and warm. Turquoise, aqua and teak are favorites. I’m wondering if you have that George Mcdonald book because of the turquoise color. Even hidden under the dish I recognize it as my mom collects his books.

  11. Hannah says:

    Wendy- it’s one of my favorite books from my childhood; my dad used to read them to me. I didn’t think anyone would spot it!

  12. Courtney says:

    I love the whimsy! I have a lot of cherry red in my kitchen… and seeing the combo I might start adding that turquoise. I have those Jonathan Adler sheets, LOVE them!

  13. Such a cute home. When can I come over? I’d love some of those treats on the coffee table.

  14. rebecca Campbell says:

    Nothing better than good bread and cheese with wine to make a house feel like a home.
    Love this home, lots of treasures and colours to keep the eyes interested. Bex

  15. Maya says:

    Wow! I love it, this is so my style.

    Hannah, do you recall what paint/color you used in the kitchen?

  16. Rebecca Mason says:

    I love everything you have done with your home Hannah. Can I ask you if you painted those porcelain deers, or if you brought them in the turquoise?

  17. cole says:

    I love the kitchen…what color paint is that??

  18. John says:

    I really like your blog and Hannah’s home.
    I also own and live in a Albany Macgregor (1938)

    C.M. “One Nail” Macgregor was not an architect.
    Rather, he was a builder of renown in California.

    He worked with designs in the 20 and 30’s from famed architect Walter W. Dixon
    He built hundreds of homes and apartment houses in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. He stated building in Albany in the 20’s and decided to move his Oakland office to Albany in 1936, He built 1500 homes here, (nearly half of all homes) in Albany and hundreds more in the east bay area.
    All strong, sturdy bungalows built with the best materials and methods, Such as all redwood frames, doors, moldings and cabinets,. white oak floors, Plaster walls with Deco Arches, tiled kitchens and baths, He showed it was possible to build strong long lasting homes at a modest price by building several homes at a time using his own crews of masons, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters, plasterers, landscapers and keeping all of them working during the depression, He did not use sub-contractors.
    All his homes, whether they were deluxe models or bare bones had a romantic, cozy flair. He used Dixon’s designs and made his own plans and modifications. He varied the blueprints and frequently reversed them to provide more diversity,, Spanish, Tudor, Modern, Arts and Crafts, regardless of style were built with integrity, now proven by a 5-10 percent premium over similar bungalows built then by others imitating his style and plans,
    He earned the nickname “One Nail” as he would use that one extra nail,
    Every time the building code would call for three nails, he would use four and if the code called for four, he would use five.
    I am also grateful he bolted the sill plate to the foundation

    Thanks for your blog

    Google CoastRanger

  19. Jaime says:

    Hannah, I’ve been going through old sneak peaks and yours is my favorite! I have been looking for the right shade of turquoise for my kitchen and yours is beyond perfection. Will you share the paint color? Cheers!

  20. Amee says:

    just curious what brand the teal flat skillet and the brighter red pots/pans are? thanks

  21. Such a happy & beautiful home. I love the colors, the details and the warmth. Not to mention the artwork by Jane Kim( in love with the huge piece in the dining room). Also, the sweet garden space…I would be quite happy living in this loved & cosy home. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  22. alicia rivera says:

    Dear Hannah,
    Telling friends about you today (and about pie bird press), I wanted to find a website where they can look online to see your designs. How pleased I am to discover here images of your work plus photos of your PERFECTLY decorated bungalow. I could say much more; but, you might think me biased. Instead, I will send others to this address, that way adding to your list of admirers. Best!


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