Interiorssneak peeks

A Light-Filled Oakland, CA Home For a Photographer & Her Family

by Rebekah Carey

If you follow Abi Q on Instagram, you know that not only is she hilarious, but her candor and honesty about the joys — and occasionally less-than-glamorous moments — of parenting are both endearing and incredibly relatable. She is a talented wedding and portrait photographer with an eye for candid moments and capturing light in the shadows. Abi’s more serious side is a deep-rooted passion for activism, educating children (and adults) on race, and making sure that her kids always have art, toys, and people around them that make them feel represented.

Abi and Ryan’s Oakland, CA home is, for one, clean — which she assures me is not always the case. It’s also minimal in a storied way, where each trinket and detail comes from a trip or sentimental moment. The house itself is a beautiful 1920s Spanish-style home with pristine parquet floors (the better on which to scooter around and enact epic Star Wars battles) and little architectural details that make your heart skip a beat. Hello, over-the-fireplace nook!

It’s obvious that kids live (and play) in this house, but there’s no question that it’s still a space for adults to enjoy themselves. Choice furniture pieces are stylish and beautiful, while still being durable enough to have tiny little fingerprints easily wiped off of their surfaces. After previously living in an apartment for six years, and more recently having three small children running around, Abi and Ryan knew it was time to look for a bigger space. Their advice for finding the perfect place in such a competitive rental market? Search right before the holidays because, “No one wants to move then!”

Now the family has a home with a backyard where they can draw chalk people to their hearts’ content, a basement with the perfect light for snuggling up and watching “Master Yoda” (as the kids refer to him), and a view of the bay — which rivals that which you would see landing at the Oakland Airport. –Rebekah

Photography by Abi Q 


Dining room

-vintage tulip table from Klassik Living (now closed)
-dining chairs are vintage from the Alameda Point Antiques Faire, Craigslist, and Klassisk Living (closed)
-pink rug is from Rugs USA
-mid-century sideboard is from Craigslist

Living room

-velvet curtains are from Anthropologie
-rug is Rugs USA
-couch is vintage and was recovered with WWII Army uniform fabric from Klassik Living (closed)
-silver lamp is from EQ3
-white lamp is from Mignonne Decor
-vintage rocking chair Klassik Living (closed)
-pillows are from H&M and West Elm
-black and white throw is from IKEA and mustard throw is from cb2 (no longer available)
-vintage mustard colored chair was found on Craigslist


-mid-century table and chairs – Craigslist
-modern dish drainer is Simple Human (exact model not currently available)

Master bedroom

-master bedroom rug is vintage from Turkey (via Etsy)
-bed from Klassik Living (closed)
-mudcloth from Ghana via Alameda Point Antiques Faire
-duvet is IKEA
-bedside tables and lamps are from cb2 (lamps no longer available)
-vintage chandelier from Mignonne Decor

Boys’ room

-bed is DIY
-bedding is from IKEA
-rug is from Rugs USA
-wallpaper is from Chasing Paper

Abi and Ryan's Oakland home tour from Design* Sponge
"If you live in the Bay Area, you know the rent hustle is real, so you can't be as choosy on the house or neighborhood," Abi advises. "There was a rent ad, we submitted an application, and we got it. I actually told my husband we shouldn't even apply because there would probably be 100 applicants, but he said to just try. And somehow, we got it. The floors were one of the first things I fell in love with, our big front window and the magical view we have of the bay. But our neighborhood is awesome."
The Q family in their Oakland home from Design* Sponge
"My husband and I have been married for 10 years and together for 14," Abi shares. "We moved to the Bay Area about six years ago before we adopted our first baby, and love it here. Ryan works for VSCO in Oakland and I'm a photographer. Our boys are 6, 3, and 2, crazy wild and so much fun. We chose Oakland because we wanted a place with more diversity for our sons and we quickly fell in love with the city."
Bedroom View and Vintage Architecture in Abi and Ryan's home on Design* Sponge
"The second I walked into this house I fell in love with the old parquet floors and the light that overtakes every inch of this space. I knew I wanted rugs to cozy it up a bit, but I wanted to show off the floors as much as possible at the same time. The accent of the curved door frames [moves] me. I love to just stare down the hall and admire our home’s bones. I also tend to hang precious pieces way above little fingers’ reach -- so they stay that way.”
Vintage Chandelier in Abi and Ryan's Bedroom on Design* Sponge
“I know the old rings of paint around the chandelier are technically something I should want covered, but I love how the rings are different colors and from different times in this home’s history,” Abi admits.
Mid-Century Inspired Master Bedroom From Abi and Ryan's Home Tour on Design* Sponge
Abi and Ryan's bedroom (albeit frequently filled with kids, and occasionally their hairless cat) is mid-century inspired and minimalist in a way that makes it easy to clean and a stress-free place to retreat.
Abi and Ryan's Vintage Tulip Table Hosts Family, Friends, and Dancing Toddlers From Design* Sponge
"I realized when we were decorating that I keep everything very gender-neutral, and in a house full of boys, I needed a bit of girl in all the madness, so I chose a pink rug to complement my table. I’d been searching for this table literally for years. Before this house we didn’t even have a spot for it, but I was so obsessed that I would randomly search [online] for “vintage tulip” whenever it came to mind. And then one day, there she was -- and she had to come home with me. She is one of my most prized possessions, but I still let my boys have dance parties on her in the afternoons."
Mid-Century Sideboard in Abi and Ryan's Design* Sponge Home Tour
“Representation matters, and as a transracial adoption mom, I know it matters even more for my sons. I have actively searched for art that represents my sons, and this portrait is maybe my favorite thing I own. I found her at a little junk store in Oakland, and paid $25 for her, but I would have paid $200. We named her Mabel. She’s perfectly at home right next to the record player, and in case you didn’t know, Justin Beiber’s 'Sorry' becomes classic rock when played on vinyl.”
Abi and Ryan's Dining Room View Featuring Deeply Saturated Vintage Pieces on Design* Sponge
Abi and Ryan say they're the most thankful for, "the beautiful light, our huge front window, the curved doorways, gorgeous parquet floors, and our view of the bay" in their Oakland hills home.
Abi and Ryan's Kid (and Grown-Up) Friendly Living Room From Design* Sponge
"We wanted to create a beautiful space for us to enjoy that was also child-friendly. Minimal and clean with pretty touches and beautiful art."
Saturated Colors Living Room Colors in Abi and Ryan's Oakland Home Tour on Design* Sponge
Abi had her vintage couch reupholstered in a deep green military fabric that is gorgeous and, most importantly, durable for their active boys.
"What I love most about my house is watching my boys run wild and have dance parties in the afternoon light to Beyonce, the sweeping views of the bay out our back door, and all our art from our travels and adventures."
Architectural Nook In Abi and Ryan's Oakland Home on Design* Sponge
“This little nook is yet another favorite architectural detail from our home, but more importantly, it holds a lava rock from a trip to Iceland with my love, a painting of one of my favorite canals in St. Petersburg, Russia (that I bought from a local artist while walking the canal), a rock from a day of adventuring to a private cove in Nicaragua, and driftwood from our family trip up the coast of California last fall," Abi explains. "It’s these little reminders that make my heart full from all the adventures we’ve had, and make me excited for all the ones we have yet to take.”
Lush Velvet Curtains in Abi and Ryan's Oakland Living Room on Design* Sponge
Shown here, a vintage lamp from Mignonne and an Icelandic print that reminds the couple of an amazing adventure Abi and Ryan took together.
Family Memories Make Art on a Rental Fridge in Abi and Ryan's Oakland Home Tour on Design* Sponge
With Ryan working for VSCO and Abi being a photographer, you can imagine that they have no shortage of amazing photos of them and their family. Their fridge not only makes use of an oft-overlooked space in a rental, but it acts as a gallery to all of their adventures and memories. And doughnuts.
Abi and Ryan's Oakland Kitchen on Design* Sponge
"It's still a work in progress," Abi admits of the kitchen. "There's so much I want to do! I look around at every corner and think of things to change. I'm an artist, though, so I doubt I'll ever be satisfied and always want to mix it up a bit."
Abi and Ryan's In-Kitchen Dining Area on Design* Sponge
"We love to have dance parties in the afternoon light to Beyonce, because man, does this house have amazing light. The sweeping views of the bay out our back door are the perfect way to end a day."
At the Q House the Kitchen Counter is the Heart of the House Via Design* Sponge Home Tour
"One of my unexpected favorite spots of our little bungalow is this counter. My boys sit here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner most days, and the conversations we have around it make my heart happy. I created a hashtag for it #theqcounter and it’s some of my favorite photos of the boys to date. I love watching them grow up here."
“I had my eye on Chasing Paper's wallpaper for at least a year, and the second we moved in I ordered it. It’s so classy to me, but still kid. Our boys’ art pieces are made up of a variety of concerts we’ve been to, favorite books, a mask we picked up in Belize, and we hang Finn’s ukulele here so it doesn’t get stepped on! We brought back the balloon for the boys when we were in Iceland.”
The Q Boys' Fun DIY Bed on Design* Sponge
“I’m minimal," Abi admits, "or I always joke, maybe a hoarder who’s a minimalist at heart. And with toys I’m as minimal as they come. People ask me what my kids do without millions of toys and I tell them they play, they use their imaginations, they woodwork with dad, learn to skateboard, and read."
A DIY Project For The Whole Family The Q Boys' Bed on Design* Sponge
"They helped their dad and uncle build their bed," Abi shares. "It is a treehouse fort, has a rock wall, a plank and a wooden ladder, a rope ladder and a roof that’s perfect for poking your head out in search of bad-guy pirates.”

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  • I agree with Michelle – the minimal toy philosophy is great! Your sons will grow up very enriched with creativity and beautiful minds. They are so lucky to be a part of your lives.

  • What an absolutely beautiful family. The house is lovely, but the family and love in the photos is what really shines.

  • I love the minimal use of subtle, yet very high impact colors throughout the home. That green couch is just the most beautiful thing. The boys are adorable as well!

  • Aww, all the talk about the view and no pictures of it :(

    Kudos on the kids’ room, that bedfort is sweet!