A Retro California Home that Pops With Color


Graphic designer Chelsea Brink has lived in this apartment in Long Beach, California for almost two years. The location, just off of Retro Row (an area known for its vintage shopping), is a perfect fit for a vintage lover like Chelsea. She says she is drawn to mid-century furniture, big pops of color and, as a graphic designer, pieces of design and ephemera that are driven by typography. If she had to sum it up, she would describe her aesthetic as “vintage rainbow eclectic”. Chelsea recently left the branding and advertising world to strike out on her own as a freelance designer/art director. Since she now spends most of her time at home, she likes to be surrounded by colorful pieces that keep her inspired. Thank you Chelsea, and thanks to Kyle Alexander for the lovely photos! Shannon

Image above: The couch was the very first thing I ever bought for my first “adult” apartment in Minneapolis! I used scholarship money from a portfolio contest to buy it. haha. It’s from Room & Board (Minnesota is my home state, so I try and rep as hard as I can). The print is from an amazing letterpress museum in Italy called Tipoteca Italiana. I have 3 of their pieces framed in my living room. I’ve become friends with their director during my regular travels to the Hamilton Woodtype & Printing Museum in Wisconsin. The lamp was a gift from when I graduated from college (I think from Pier 1?) The side table is West Elm. I looooove that colorful throw so much- I got it at an awesome spot in Silverlake called Living Room Home.

Image above: Oh, that red chair. I found it on Craigslist when I was living in Minneapolis. I jokingly tweeted that someone should buy it for me- and low and behold, my friend Aaron bought it for me as a thank you for getting him a really amazing freelance job. The poof is good ol’ CB2.


See more of this California home after the jump…

Image above: When I moved to California, I decided it was time to slowly get rid of all my Ikea furniture. The first thing to go was my dresser. I spent a ton of time searching for the perfect one. I found this stunner at a collective called Sunbeam Vintage (this came from Michael at Vintage Apartment) in Highland Park. Those banners I have carried with me since I left Minneapolis. My 3 best friends threw me a going away party and the banners were the star of the show. Needless to say, we’re all big Arrested Development fans. Each little piece of art are little originals from friends.

Image above: This rocker has been in my dad’s family since the early 1900s. When I moved to California, the movers lost its seat and I had to have one rebuilt! The only good that came of that is that it no longer sheds pieces of straw when you sit on it :)

Image above: The orange bookshelf was a serious score from my all time favorite vintage store called Inretropect on Retro Row here in the LBC. The owners Chris and Dave are amazing, which keeps me going in there about once a week just to have a look to see what’s new and chat them up for a bit.

Image above: I just love exploring vintage/antique stores and flea markets. These are just more of my finds :)

Image above: When I moved to California, a lot of my furniture was damaged/missing/etc. In this case, the movers simply lost the bottom of my kitchen table. I hunted for something fun to replace it and found this amazing guy from a guy here in Long Beach. He runs an Etsy shop called RetrogradeLA. His warehouse is packed with awesome stuff. I paired it with a bunch of random chairs, including one from another Minnesota based modern furniture company called Blu Dot (I have 3 other pieces by them that I used to run through their warehouse sales to get when I lived back in Minneapolis). The Rodeo print is one of my favorite pieces in my house. I got it on trade during one of my trips to Hamilton.

Image above: Love the original kitchen in this space. So warm. So much personality.

Image above: I have hung that little print in the kitchen of all of my apartments. I picked it up off a pile of discards at the shop in St. Paul, MN where I learned to letterpress called Blinc Publishing.


Image above: My bedroom is a big box! It has been a serious challenge trying to find an effective solution to the space. Ideally I’d have more separation between where I work and where I sleep, but this will have to do for now :)

Image above: The red desk and blue filing cabinet was a birthday present- both from CB2.

Image above: I recently went to Palm Springs and was sooo excited to shop. I was super disappointed in the shopping overall, but I did amazing spot called Dazzles. I picked these pillows up from there.

Image above: The fan I have been carrying with me since Minneapolis as well. It’s from a cool spot called The Cottage House– a once a month flea market-like situation in an old house in South Minneapolis.

Image above: How cool is this bathroom?? My landlord and his wife remodeled it right before they bought they moved out. It was inspired by the bathrooms at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. Everyone who visits is always blown away by it.

Image above: I used to work full time down in Newport Beach. One day an adorable gift shop in the neighborhood was closing, so I had to swoop up these soaps! I’ll buy pretty much anything based on the design alone. And I always try to collect and display cute little travel-sized things for guests to use.

Image above: When I lived in Philly, there was hardly such a thing has having a closet in an apartment- so I had to get creative with storage. I started collecting cigar boxes and other random vintage containers to keep my all my junk hidden.

Image above: I’ve been printing since I was in college. I own two pressed with my best friend Laura. They are in Minneapolis, so I don’t get to print as often as I would like. But I like having pieces around- I can always use them for rubbings rather than traditional printing.

Image above: The hat rack was the one thing that my landlord left behind. I just love its Eames inspired look.


  1. Christi says:

    Adorable! What a cheery little place. I want to steal pieces for my own home. ;)

  2. katie says:

    What a colourful, original and fun place to live, thanks for sharing it with us. HIghlights for me are the desk in your bedroom and all the little pieces on the walls. x

  3. Gabby says:

    Light and rainbows seem to make for a pretty ideal space to live and be inspired.

  4. Love this eclectic loveliness, so warm and full of personality. Particularly like the dashes of colour and the cigar boxes. Oh and that “Lucky” sign, I just love that it’s hanging on its own with no context, wonderful.

  5. Meghan says:

    So colorful and cozy! Love it!!!

  6. Love this bright, eclectic interior! Looks very inviting

  7. Eva says:


  8. thank you, ladies! i’m so glad you like it!

  9. Jan says:

    Love your place. Next time you come to Minnesota I want you to come over and decorate my house for me. You have such great ideas.

  10. Laura. says:

    WAIT! I know that girl! You have a sweet, sunny place, Chelsea. Mpls still misses you, though ;)

  11. Casey says:

    Super cute place! I love all of the colors and patterns. The little paintings above the coat rack look really sweet.

  12. mandy doubt says:

    i think that should read “two presses” not “two pressed” ;)

  13. I LOVE this home! Just love it. It’s so bright and inviting without being overly trendy or inaccessible. It’s just so, so wonderful.

  14. Hanna says:

    I love everything about this home. I’m moving in!

  15. Maggy says:

    I love the combination of spare & clean & super colorful/vintage. The little paintings near the door are great. I’m curious who painted them.

  16. chelsea says:

    maggy! thanks so much for the kind words. i got those little paintings at the long beach flea market. they are by a california artist names margo alexander. you can find her stuff for sale on ebay and the like!


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