sneak peek: kate lydon + anton willis


kate lydon is an architectural designer at IDEO who also works as a graphic designer and creates silkscreened goods as saturate. anton willis is an architect who also designs furniture and products. together the two run civil twilight, an award-winning design-build studio with a focus on thoughtful, sustainable design. today’s sneak peek is another great collaboration between the two – their sunny oakland, ca apartment where they’ve surrounded themselves with pieces they’ve made, collected and inherited. much of the furniture is from kate’s grandmother and i love how it comes to life in a new context. enjoy the full peek below and click here for additional images! {thanks so much, kate and anton!}anne

[above: The little teak dresser (from my grandmother) in the entry has a water-stained top—quickly remedied by a piece of frosted acrylic. We seem unable to resist bringing home sculptural branches and bits of nature from hikes around the Bay Area.]

The living room flows directly into the dining area; one end is anchored by a charcoal Danish sofa. The coffee table, made of reclaimed douglas fir, is a favorite Christmas present; Anton made it for me, and it’s the perfect merger of bench and table. The chairs, from my grandmother, are covered in Ikea fabric. The poster I found on the street in Chicago years ago.

Overflowing bookshelves are a constant source of inspiration, and provide color and texture. The pillow and lamp are two of my favorite things from Ikea.

We love utilitarian design—like the orange c-clamps that hold our bookshelves square. A box of Saturate goods sits atop the shelves, where books are mixed in with random stuff like a cool package of Greek nougat. The credenza and bullet planters are from my grandmother.

The photograph, of Kyoto, is by our good friend Christina Seely and is one in her incredible series called Lux. We inherited the dining room set; the tablecloth is fabric from Britex.

CLICK HERE for the rest of kate and anton’s sneak peek after the jump!

A framed paint-by-numbers postcard hangs above a pencil-yellow Ikea magazine rack (we spray-painted it). The rug is from West Elm.

We recently converted a Murphy-bed closet off the living room into an office, with a built in birch plywood desk and shelves. Its still in-progress, waiting for a wall of homasote for a pin-board, and some better lighting! For now, it includes a chair Anton made and a poster from my favorite museum, the Louisiana in Copenhagen.

A cluster of things we love sits on top of flat files. My mom is a book artist; she makes these incredible fortune books, with pages of interlocking, individually selected [real] fortunes. The coral reminds me of an antenna sitting on top of the speaker. The map is from the USGS.

We built shelving into a nook in the entry so we’d have a place to put shoes and mail, among other things. It’s similar to the cabinetry we created for the Curiosity Shoppe, which we designed and built for our friends a few years ago.

Anton put up birch plywood shelving for our most-used stuff (like our favorite Heath bowls, and fruit foraged from neighborhood trees) with hardware-store brackets we spray-painted blue. We found the solid oak library table at a UC Berkeley auction.

I have piles of posters collected over the years, and wanted to get them out of flat files and onto walls. We change them out from time to time, and mix in random ephemera. The current mix includes a Tail of the Yak (an incredible Berkley store) calendar, a French ‘keep off the grass’ sign, and posters from the Tate Modern.

The fridge collects objects as well as printed matter. Today it includes a couple of silkscreened Saturate prints, a Japanese fan, a postcard from our Lunar-Resonant Streetlight project, and a press sheet from my friend Stacy’s Pancake and Franks.

These shelves and the quilt are two favorites from my grandmother. The branches are buckeyes from Anton’s childhood home in Mendocino County. The photo of the Berkeley Hills is by our friend Christina Seely and echoes the view out the window.

I’ve had the huge Baselitz poster forever; its moved with me several times and is sadly worse for the wear, but I can’t bear to put it away. Bedding is from Dwell.

Anton designed and built a set of these chairs, and we’re in the process of getting them into production. I love how they are both sculptural and comfortable—the seat and back are each made of a zig-zag cut piece of wood, stretched like an accordion over a steel frame. The sculpture on the wall is a crocheted basket my grandmother made.

  1. Andrea says:

    I adore this home. Thanks for sharing! I especially am a fan of the posters changing out … may steal that idea.

  2. Such a gorgeous.. minimalist & functional home.. yet with all its warmth & pride!! Love the colours.

  3. emma says:

    i love the simplicity and the eclectic mixtures and patterns. will definitely keep these things in mind for my new apartment.

  4. apayne says:

    the eames hang-it-all featured in the first picture is everywhere i look this morning!! love seeing the happy little hanger so much today!!

  5. hilary says:

    whyyy don’t my family members gift me amazing pieces of furniture?! i’m jealous.

  6. Laura says:

    I’m seriously swooning over all that furniture. Love love love.

    I also like that they took regular objects and used them in unconventional ways, like the wall brackets in the kitchen. Painting them made them so chic.

    Great job.

  7. modernmonkey says:

    You did a great job covering your grandmother’s chairs with the IKEA fabric. They offer a classic shape with a modern color palette and pattern. Super cute space! Cheers.

  8. lisa says:

    love all the natural light and warmth. and it’s so special with all of your grandmother’s furniture.

  9. Marlene says:

    I love this place, so clean and stylish!

  10. Love the place, looks very organized and clean.

  11. julie says:

    i love that round purse in the first photo! where’s it from?

  12. Courtney says:

    I want that yellow bag and the poster! Lovely home!

  13. Ellen Mandel says:

    what a beautiful home!!!! So clean, so clear—-so lovely to see! THANKS!

  14. Love her apartment. The mid century chairs in her living room (covered in Ikea fabric) look awesome. So crazy because I just recovered some pillows in that exact same fabric last weekend.
    Great sneak peek. Many thanks!

  15. Cat says:

    Your collection of teak furniture is gorgeous! Beautiful space.

  16. Meaghan says:

    I love the furniture in the living room and hallway – so simple and clean and gorgeous!

  17. Jackie says:

    That’s one heck of a grandma!! So many wonderful treasures passed down.

  18. Evie says:

    I love this “sneak peek.” Everything looks so artful, yet do-able for the rest of us!

  19. Hannah says:

    Great space. I’ve loving all the art work and how your personality shines through your home, beautiful! I’ve been hunting for a bright magazine rack and you’ve inspired me to just spray that ikea one. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Lana says:

    Wow! I love the walls, what a perfect shade of white. Would you mind sharing what it is?

  21. kate says:

    Thanks for such nice comments about our apartment!

    Julie- the yellow purse from a random store in Sydney; I bought it with the intention of using it as a pattern to make more (haven’t made any more yet!)

  22. kelly says:

    the real question is – how do they keep that rug so impeccably white!?!?!

  23. Diane says:

    I very much love this home. It immediately went in my ‘Lovely Homes’ bookmarks folder!

  24. sianuska says:

    i will shamelessly steal the idea of the spraypainted utilitarian shelving brackets. we need lots of storage for my boyfriend’s cookery book collection. great place…thanks for sharing. x

  25. Love the lush little yellow bag in the first image. Thank you for sharing the goodness! xx

  26. Erin says:

    I love the furniture!

  27. Eva says:

    Very inspiring! Love the simple stuff you turned into something special: the blue brackets and the IKEA magazineholder. I have to go put nice arrangements on my fridge now. Thanks!
    O and antons chairs are sooo nice

  28. Karen says:

    How wonderful that you find inspiration in your books and their color and texture. The worst design advice I ever got was to rid my books of their paper jackets. Can’t find my old favorites from their familiar jackets anymore!

  29. analisa says:

    i’m looking for a rug and I love the one in the living room. Anyone know where it might come from?

  30. kate says:

    Lana–the white paint (a warm, creamy white) came with the apartment; I’ll ask our landlord what it is.
    Analisa–the rug is from Pottery Barn Teen of all places (It comes in some truly terrifying colors: Surprisingly enough, we’ve had it for several years and just take it to the dry cleaners from time to time.

  31. Karen G says:

    Wow! I’m an architecture student and I’m just in love with your home! I just visited the Louisiana in Copenhagen for the first time, and it was really incredible!

  32. Emily says:

    Your home is beautiful! I love that you have pieces handed down from your grandmother.

    Would you mind sharing where that metal lamp next to the bed is from? I’ve been searching for the perfect bed-light and that one looks great.

  33. Tiffany says:

    Lovely! Where is the great colorful hook in the entry way from? Thanks so much!

  34. kate says:

    Emily–I love that bedside lamp too–its another item from my grandmother’s house…
    Tiffany–the bright hooks are an Eames hang-it-all. You can find it here:

  35. Cindy and Lonnie says:

    Hi Kate…what a treat…you and Anton have done an amazing job on your home. Auntie Ethel would be so pleased to see all you have accomplished!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it…cindy

  36. Christine says:

    I would buy one of Anton’s chairs in a heartbeat! Love it love it! Please do inform us when they are available for purchase! You have a beautiful home :)

  37. Vicki says:

    I love the blue striped tote in the dining room. Would you mind telling where you purchased it from? Love your home too!


  38. kate says:

    Hi Vicki,
    Thanks! The blue striped tote is actually stripes of rubberized grays, and its is from Old Navy. It was an on-sale steal for $10!

  39. Tamika says:

    Hi, I’m so curious as to where you got the glass sliding doors from in the nook photo?

    The link in the description is no longer operable.

    Thank you!


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