Husband and wife Alex and Rebekah (or Alex and Bekah, as they’re known to friends) have lived in this Oakland, California, cottage for the past two years. The home was built in the early ’20s and retains much of its original detailing, such as kitchen built-ins, original doorknobs, a working fireplace, octagonal bathroom tiles and crown molding throughout. Their overall decorating strategy was to utilize the natural light by keeping white walls (“Bone” by Kelly-Moore) throughout the house and allowing the color to come through in their furniture and artwork. A trip to France got the couple thinking about the idea of living to work versus working to live, and the result was deciding to follow their dreams and create the life they wanted to live rather than waiting for it to happen to them. When they got home, Alex began pursuing his dream of writing, and Bekah followed her passion for event design and styling and formed A & B Creative. (A cute bridal shower she recently designed with a ’60s feel can be seen here.) For her events as well as her home, Bekah is more interested in creating a space where people feel comfortable enough to put their feet up than trying to achieve perfection. Thanks, Alex and Bekah! And thanks to Kirsten Julia Photography for the lovely photos. — Amy Azzarito
Image above: This secretary was from Omega Salvage in Berkeley. When I saw it years ago, I instantly fell in love and kept going back to check on it daily for about a week to make sure it hadn’t sold until I had saved enough to buy it. It holds some of my favorite books and memories, a photo of my dad and I at our wedding, a vintage lion sculpture I brought back from France and, of course, a modern poster of Alex’s favorite movie, The Empire Strikes Back (purchased from the Poster Inspired Etsy shop).
See more of Rebekah’s California home after the jump . . .
Image above: I saw this painting on my way walking from the train station to the entrance of Versailles at a little vide-grenier, and loved it so much that I carried it with me the whole rest of my eight-hour walking day! I love that the artist signed it with “Paris” below it, too — so much better than an Eiffel Tower souvenir.
Image above: This trunk was an amazing find. Someone was giving it away, and we didn’t even notice that it had our monogram (and my business name) on it until the next day!
Image above: This is what Alex likes to call his “writing corner.” Many a day you will find him feet up and computer on lap happily tapping away his next literary masterpiece. Vintage theater seats are an homage to my degree and where we chose to get married, and our mid-century ottoman was a house-warming gift from a friend.
Image above: Our record collection sits atop an old radio console we picked up at a garage sale, which we have our iPod stereo inside of now. This orange lamp is one of my favorite pieces, picked up at Omega Too by a friend as a birthday present for me. I bought this print for Alex as an anniversary present from the Fifi du Vie Etsy shop. It’s exactly how I feel about our future. The fun ’60s owl, originally a hairspray cover, was a gift from a client.
Image above: When I stayed in France, I designed the window displays for the shop The Bohemians, and my host had this same piece and I fell in love with it. The wings flip up to reveal that it’s an ashtray. Before I left, Kim surprised me with my very own vintage French fly ashtray, not something many people have!
Image above: I bought this piece from my friend’s shop, Mignonne Decor. The scroll designs are masking speakers; you open it up, and it has a radio, 8-track and record player. Joni Mitchell is in constant rotation.
Image above: I found these chairs for free. Alex painted them, and I picked out the fabrics, a purple ikat and chartreuse linen from Discount Fabrics, and had them reupholstered at Mignonne Decor. The table is also from Mignonne Decor and has two leaves that are perfect for when my grandma comes over for holiday meals. We are very limited for storage space in our home, so I bought three different Expedit shelves from Ikea and made a wall of shelving to create the illusion of a built-in. I organized all of the books by color so that it would feel less visually overwhelming.
Image above: This faux fireplace was an incredible Goodwill score; it has a heater and rotating gel that gives the illusion of a real fire. This was another vintage circus print from The Clausen House Annex. The blanket is vintage but had never been used; we picked it up at the Alameda Flea, and the little table and rug were garage sale finds.
Image above: I loved this print (and its message) when I discovered it on the Poster Inspired Etsy shop.
Image above: We love our bed so much. It’s a king-size Tempurpedic with a sumptuous Anthropologie duvet and vintage blanket; however, it significantly limits the amount of space we have for side tables. I remedied this problem by turning two vintage office chairs into his and hers bedside tables. I made my side flat with a vintage atlas.
Image above: Alex’s side of the bed features a matching vintage office chair. To hold more items, I repurposed an old crate, which always contains at least one Michael Chabon novel, blank books for his notes and other favorite reading material.
Image above: My mom gave me this Le Creuset kettle to match my collection, and I love the pop of color it gives our white stovetop. Banania was a brand I saw a lot of in France, and when I came back, I found this fun print at a local antique shop. I love the colors and graphics; the cute baby isn’t too shabby either.
Image above: I have had this yellow vintage shelf in every house I’ve lived in as an adult. My mom picked it up at a garage sale, and I have made it work in every room, from the kitchen and living room to the bedroom. It now holds a ’40s rooster tin set I found at a garage sale and a favorite cast iron pot set from Goodwill. It adds much-needed functionality as well to our petite kitchen.
Image above: My mom handed down this salt and pepper collection to me. I love that they’re all wood, all different and of varying sizes. My favorite pairs are the tiniest ones.
Image above: I am obsessed with vintage glassware, especially from the ’60s. I have repurposed our old ironing board shelf into my display and safe hideaway from our frequent earthquakes. Most of these sets I brought back from France. I don’t use them nearly enough. Clearly I’m overdue for a cocktail party!
Image above: We picked up this vintage locker from an estate sale, and Alex spray painted it (Blue Ocean Breeze by Krylon) beautifully. It now serves as our pantry and was the perfect size for the only open space we had in our kitchen.
Image above: The original tiling we have in our bathroom is one of the most unique details of the house. I like to lovingly refer to our bathroom as a dollhouse bathroom. (I’m fairly certain the doctor’s office I went to as a kid had the exact same dollhouse version of our sink.) We were lucky enough to move into our place with the sink already painted. Our ProVenDi rotating wall soap has a nice aesthetic but also frees up the very limited “counter space” we have. The small table was my great-aunt’s from her first apartment in San Francisco in the ’60s, which feels really special to see every day. The bright white Anthropologie shower curtain helps to make the space feel a little bigger than it actually is. I added the vintage-inspired mirror since the only one is on the other side of the bathroom and is significantly taller than I am.
Image above: I’ve had this piece of art, a gift from my aunt, since middle school (I was an old soul), and I love how it brightens up the space and hides my blow dryer.
Image above: I have a knack for finding amazing pieces for free (comes in handy as a stylist), and these are by far the best pieces I’ve procured. I adore how wholesome they are while being clad in underwear. I’ve debated having the woman shape cut out as the man’s is, but I like that these are as found.