sneak peek: kate and alden woodrow


Kate Woodrow is an art editor for Chronicle Books who also copyedits Anthology magazine in her spare time, while her husband, Alden, is a graduate student at UC Berkeley. They rent their 1,100 square-foot home from the 1920s in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood. Through both of her jobs, Kate has the ability to turn words and art into beautiful things that people can hold and enjoy. She also gets the perk of adding to her art collection with works from the artists she meets along the way. While Alden admittedly leaves most of the decor decisions to Kate, she can’t help but love his contributions throughout their home (trophies, maps, outdoor gear). Together they prefer weathered over shiny, with the ultimate goal of creating a home that’s comfortable and fun for their friends to visit, especially for cocktails or a home-cooked meal. Thanks, Kate and Alden, and thanks to Kate’s childhood friend Liz Daly for the wonderful images! — Anne

Image above: I made the sculpture above our bed out of maps and a branch from our neighborhood. I got the idea from a project Bookhou posted on Poppytalk. Our bird bedding is by Dwell Studio, the striped shams and lacquer tray are West Elm, and I found the mid-century side table on Craigslist.

Image above: We put two desks in our second bedroom so we can use it as both an office and a craft space. Alden dabbles in making backpacks and other gear on the old Singer sewing machine, which is on long-term loan from a friend. That citron yellow task lamp is from West Elm. We found cheap maps of our favorite places in California at the Alameda Flea Market.

Image above: Our friends all know Tanqueray and tonic is my drink of choice, and Alden almost always goes for Jameson on the rocks.


More images of Kate and Alden’s Berkeley home after the jump!

Image above: When we moved in together, we went to Alameda and picked out a few big pieces, including this mint green dresser with matching mirror. I love the little bit of bling in Enormous Champion’s “Everything’s Alright Forever” print.

Image above: Alden found this map print by design studio Fathom. It’s a map of nothing but the roads in America. The painting in the background in the kitchen is by Woody Jackson, a memento from Vermont, where we met.

Image above: I like leaning art so we can easily rearrange it (and keep our landlord happy). At the moment, the framed art on the mantle is, from left to right: a Paris photograph from Little Brown Pen, small and large pieces of Florence Broadhurst wallpaper (her illustrated biography is one of my favorite acquisitions for Chronicle), and one of three watercolors our friend Lindsay Gardner painted for us. Color coding books helps open shelving look more organized. We kept this sewing drawer full of succulents from our friends’ wedding. Both couches and the table are from Craigslist, and the rug’s West Elm.

Image above: I found this globe on top of a trashcan in San Francisco and have ambitions to paint it like this. The wooden Urbana vase holds tallow berry branches, which are a good no-maintenance natural element.

Image above: At first I hated the funky ’70s shelves in our kitchen, but they’ve grown on me, and the open maze pattern is a good home for some of our plants. The green vase is Heath.

Image above: The light in our kitchen makes for a pleasant place to cook and gather. I’m definitely an alpha cook (every house has one). The tea towel is from illustrator Claudia Pearson, and my friend Chris Kautz of Cranewalk made the wooden cutting board.

Image above: I commissioned this paper-cut from British artist Julene Harrison for Alden for our first wedding anniversary. It’s a line from our wedding vows.

Image above: The vintage stadium seating that I bought from Zonal in Hayes Valley definitely isn’t the most practical piece of furniture, but I couldn’t resist that old painted wood. The first in an ever-growing stack of prints I need to frame is a watercolor portrait from Samantha Hahn. (I’m excited about a project we’re working on together for Chronicle.)

Image above: Rose Lazar of The Great Lakes Goods painted the wooden feather that hangs on the knob of our bedroom door.

Image above: Only in California can you harvest leeks, daffodils, and chard in the same day. This is my first garden, and I’m learning a lot from my green-thumb brother. A benefit of life in Berkeley is being able to pop outside to pull some vegetables for our dinner.

Image above: Our landlord had planted camellia trees and other flowering plants in the garden. I’m happiest at home when we have fresh flowers around, and all the better when they come from our backyard.

Image above: I made this winter wreath for our front door with tallow berry branches, pinecones, and some vintage ribbon.

Image above: We spend as much time as possible out on our deck. Having some outdoor space to call our own means we enjoy more time at home together — and it lures our San Francisco friends to cross the bay.

Image above: On weekends I edit articles for Anthology. I enjoy contributing in a small way to such a high-quality print magazine, and I always have the latest issue out on display.

amy walters, aDESIGNdock

Love every detail and pretty much everything about Kate and Alden’s style. I always appreciate when D*S features rentals that are 100% personalized by the owners. It’s a great reminded for us renters that you can live beautifully even though you’re not making mortgage payments.


Lovely home and thank you for that link about alpha cooks. Now I finally can put a name on my behaviour ;o)


I’d go to cocktail hour on that deck!

Also, love that Alden contributes trophies : )


I love the simplicity and the colours of this home! The stadium seating and dresser steal my heart. So sweet.


I love the Singer (although I’m partial to Viking Husqvarnas)….long-term loan? That friend is never gonna get the machine back. Hah! And the cocktail hour. Great pre-dinner idea..

Bonnie McCarthy

I love the branch art!! A very creative friend of mine just introduced me to the magazine and it’s brilliant! Kate is a talent!! Thanks for sharing -I also love those pale aqua theater/party chairs!


What a lovely home- thank you for sharing! Please, please, please can you tell me what color paint was used on the walls in the bedroom, dining, living rooms? I’m pregnant and crazily needing to paint our house before the babe comes, and this looks like the color I’m looking for! Fingers crossed for a reply…


Those are lovely photos. My brother’s name is Alden too and I’ve never come across anyone else called that :)

julia @ the BackLoop

Wonderful, wonderful space. I grew up in Berkeley and this house makes me miss the natural light of my childhood home.
Beautifully done.
If only I could get my mish-mash to look so well put together :)

Plein Jane

I’m originally from nearby Lafayette, and this post made me so homesick for the old bungalow houses, the plants, the Heath pottery …. waaaaah! But thank you, Kate, for the reminder of what home is like.

Dannette Klein

So simplistic, yet so deeply beautiful. I am amazed by most of these pictures. Everything is presented as clean and spacious, yet simple in it’s design. Thanks for sharing!


Love this home. kate, we’re neighbors, apparently. I also live in Elmwood. Just a few blocks from Elmwood Cafe, on Russell.
It’s a darling area of the bay, isn’t it?


Any advice on where to find Florence Broadhurst wallpaper? I love the horse one!


Love their style! So neat with clean lines and no clutter! Makes me want to thin out even more.


Love your honesty about cocktail hour! Your decorating style reminds me of a mix between mine and my 2 daughters’. So spontaneous yet very artfully deliberate.


This is just beautiful! Can you tell me where you got your lovely tablecloth?


Love this home. What a great mix of art and personality. I love how the dining table has a bench on one side, really opening up the room.

Sue Schlabach

Anthology magazine is a huge joy after so many magazines went the way of the dinosaur. Your home is perfectly cosy with handmade touches that say so much about you. Lovely.


lovely, I like it when you can really feel that someone’s living in the house. sometimes it’s just too staged.


Beautiful in every way — So thoughtful and not a detail too many.


kate and alden, you are an inspiration to live beautifully and simply, with abundant style and light!


Umm, excuse me! Where are those shoes from??! (the ones next to the irresistible stadium seating) They are gorgeous! Lovely home as well.

Kate Woodrow

Thank you all for your sweet comments! They’re really lovely to hear.

To answer your questions:

Shauna – The walls are Devoe Wonder-Pro flat paint – our landlord had the Pure Tinting White custom tinted to something called Bleached Ivory A-110 (the mix formula is written down as BLK 0P4 / YOX 0P20…clearly she keeps impeccable records!). Hopefully that works for you. Good luck painting!

Nina: Signature Prints in Australia manages Florence Broadhurst’s estate and sells her wallpaper. Maybe they do samples? The horse print is called Horses Stampede.

Scamel: that tablecloth is by Simrin.


This house is so charming. I get many feeds from shelter blogs and after awhile they all just start to blend together, but this place stood out. A sweet thoughtfully curated home, without being overly self-conscious. Very nice.


I love all the mint green that is flowing through their home!


What a charming space, inside and out. So many fine details to appreciate.


lovely home! i lived on ashby place years ago! would you kindly share your source for the metal pocket organizer in the kitchen? viewed through the door from the dining room.


I know this is waaay late as far as comments go, but I want to say I LOVE YOUR HOME! I also echo the above commenter’s post that your space shows that renter’s homes can reflect their personalities and can feel just as much like “home” as one you actually own. I also wanted to ask a question: Where is the little bird plate that is in your cocktail cabinet? I’ve seen it around in other colors and would love to find out where I can get one.