Interiorssneak peeks

A One Bedroom Apartment that is home to a Business, a Couple and a Dog

by Amy Azzarito

Thomas and Nicole Colbert share this one bedroom apartment in San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood with their little Schnauzer mix, Rufus. They also managed to squeeze in work space for Connected, their online shop featuring handmade, Fair Trade goods. They started Connected in the hopes of pointing consumers away from mass production, and towards skilled artisan craftsmanship. They believe in slow, thoughtful shopping and gifts with stories behind them. All of their products are handmade by artisans utilizing their traditional techniques as a means to develop their communities and achieve economic independence. Things here are personal. They do everything themselves and both have other full time jobs. When they first moved in to the apartment, they had not yet started their business and the size of the space seemed perfect, but now with the increasing success of  Connected, they are  now bursting at the seams but their love for San Francisco and the neighborhood has kept them here. Their home is filled with thrift finds, music gear, family pieces, products they carry and and items that have special meaning. They don’t worry too much about the style of any one piece, if they like it, they try to make it work. Thanks, Thomas and Nicole (and Rufus!) –Amy

Image above: This is the Ikea Rast dresser that we painted and put some hardware on. The woven storage baskets are items we carry. We love these and they are everywhere throughout our small flat for storage and organization which is key for us. The lamp was a vintage find and that’s my wedding dress hanging on the wall – it’s just too pretty to be put away.

Image above: The trunk was a vintage gift from my mom. I’ve been lugging it throughout my numerous moves the past 10 years in San Francisco, and all they way back from my native state, Montana. The couch was a thrift find; the rug is from West Elm; the print is from Matt Wisniewski; and the pillow is one that we carry.


See all the photos of Thomas & Nicole’s San Francisco home after the jump!

Image above: The wooden rocker was my parents. When I was little I flipped it over onto myself and knocked out a tooth, which gave me the bargaining rights to claim it over my sister. My dad put the leather seat on it and got it on a Greyhound bus out to me. I snagged the horn from my mom’s antique store, the mirror was a Craigslist find, and the chandelier is from HD Buttercup. The fireplace is one of our favorite features in the flat. Here in SF we have weather that allows for fires all year round!

Image above:  Thomas has a passion for music. If it were possible, he’d have an entire stage worth of musical gear scattered throughout. Our space is small so the only option for the guitars was to go up vertical on the walls.


Image above: The leather wing-back chair and Victrola cabinet were vintage finds. The photo is of my mom and the painting is from Creativity Explored, a great organization that provides artists with developmental disabilities the means to create, exhibit, and sell their art. I bought the pair of paintings shortly after my mom passed away from cancer as they reminded me of my bleeding heart.

Image above: We added this table to our living room for a small dining space. The kitchen transitioned to a shared office space when we started our business and we got tired of eating meals on the couch. The piano stools were a score from the Alameda Flea Market (one of our favorite monthly outings) and the rug from Anthropologie helps define the dining area.

Image above: We use an Ikea shelving unit to store our Kantha throws. It also houses a key tray, sunglasses and a pair of lamps. So many pieces of our furniture have to be multipurpose in order for us to pull off what we do in this small space.

Image above: Our expansive work space. We got this.


Image above: We layer one of our Kantha Quilts under a down comforter in the winter for extra warmth, and we  use the quilt by itself during the warmer months. We love the beautiful colors and timeless craftsmanship.


Image above: The dresser was a Craigslist find. It had all of the pulls when we got it, but I guess Thomas’ muscles are bigger than he realizes and they keep popping off. The prints are from local artist, Charmaine Olivia – we love her work and were lucky enough to have her model for one of our shoots.


Image above: This is our best friend, Rufus. He brings us more joy than we could ever express. We rescued him 5 years ago and encourage anyone thinking of getting a furry companion to consider rescuing.

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  • Very nicely done–I love that so many young people seek a lifestyle and career that nourishes and flourishes others instead of taking without thought of how it all gets here. Your home shows the contentment with your lives, and your furnishings are beautifully chosen and arranged. I love the butterflies cascading over your wedding dress, and the horn from your Mother’s Antique Store is gorgeous. I’m so sorry that you lost her so early. Oh, and as the Mom of 2 rescue pups, your Rufus is adorable!

  • This space is so beautiful. More stores Like Connected are needed out there. I have been trying to find ethical clothing and shoes for women. Finding fashion boots for women is next to impossible! Any suggestions? Also, I love the wool and feather wall hangings in your living room. Where did they come from?

  • I love the little round side tables you have by your couch. Where did you find them? Thank you for sharing ;o)

  • one of my favorite peeks so far….very real and comfy yet beautifully put together in an inspiring style mix…rustic and mid century and antique/vintage and bohemian….perhaps that is the beauty of being forced to live in small spaces …the thoughtfulness and editing have created a cohesive space. Most inspiring would be the funky dining table with 2 piano stools.
    I am sad to say I passed up one piano stool at an estate sale the other day because I did not see that all it was missing was a future partner.

  • Thank you for the delightful feedback and comments!!

    Allison – check out Nisolo Shoes, they have some beautifully crafted shoes made by artisans in Peru. The wall hanging was a vintage find on Etsy.

    Masha – the side tables are from Urban Outfitters.

  • I love your business concept and the woven baskets are beautiful! Great mix of old and new pieces. Everything has a story!

  • Love the piano stools! We have one that we use as both a side table or a stool when needed. Lovely little place!

  • Really love this place. It feels like a real home, where everything is well-loved and has a story. -Just like Rufus!

  • Love how cozy this apartment looks. I just got back from a trip to San Francisco and it is a great city with a lot of character, just like this apartment!

    I will have to check out Connected.

  • What a fantastic space. The couple has achieved an eclectic balance of form and function where each space speaks to their personality and design perspective. They have curated a home and business that reflect such a great philosophy. Very cool.

  • Thank you for sharing this gorgeous home and absolutely stunning quilts! It’s always inspiring to read about successful businesses rooted in quality handmade goods.

  • Love this place. Anyone know where the candle sconce above the couch is from? It is perfection!

  • Do you mind sharing the details on the paint you used for the bedroom nightstand? Stunning!

  • Love this – it’s interesting, stylish and beautiful. Love love love that you have welcomed a rescue dog into it also.

  • Thomas and Nicole,
    Your apartment is absolutely beautiful!! You have a talent for decorating. You came by it very naturally.

  • Was it truly necessary to correct grammar? I think sometimes that we could just focus on the building up rather than the tearing down in the spirit of the correction. Truly a beautiful post. I enjoyed it more than I’ve enjoyed anything in the longest time. (:

  • OMG! Nicole has an amazing sense of spatial relationships. I wish she could design for me, but I’m sure I don’t have the money she richly deserves. Still, I can dream. Keep designing, Nicole. You Rule and this is from a complete stranger who has no connection to you, whatsoever.

  • Your decorating makes this place look significantly bigger than 1 bedroom apartment. Fantastic work and awesome style!