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Interiorssneak peeks

A Family Home in Oakland, CA Full of Color & Joyful Noise

by Garrett Fleming

Lisa Ostapinski, a painter, and musician Arnie Plowe stand at the foot of a treehouse and squint up at their five-year-old son, Aidan, his outline nearly in shadow as the sun blazes behind him. Not only is the little one basking in summer’s glow, but in the glow of his latest find as well: a big juicy caterpillar. No matter the season, such a scene isn’t uncommon in the backyard of Lisa and Arnie’s 1880s-era Oakland, CA home. The trio loves to explore it as they’re toasted by the California rays of sun. Step inside the house, though, and a different type of exploration is at-the-ready, one full of painting and guitars — of color and joyful noise.

The treehouse was just one of the many additions Lisa and Arnie had to make in order to craft the space they’d always hoped for. For the past 12 years, the couple has gone about replacing the entire kitchen, slowly collecting vintage doors and knobs to adorn each of the room’s entries, and getting the nearly 140-year-old house into working order. “The most challenging part is that it’s never done. We always have more to do and nothing is ever finished,” the couple tells us. While that may be true, it sure does look nice to us. And it’s all thanks to the colorful and fun decorations that enliven each of the home’s nooks and crannies.

With so much creativity under one roof, it’s not surprising that most of the space is covered in all manner of artwork. Oil paintings, acrylic works and Lisa’s signature beeswax-and-gold-foil pieces are just a few of the many eye-catching accessories that spice up the family’s walls. As Lisa and Aidan paint, they’re accompanied by the crooning bellow of music coming from Arnie and his guitar. At times like these, the family is truly at its best — three people enjoying one another and the life they’ve built together in a house “full of love, creativity and music.” Click through to take a peek and enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Lisa Ostapinski

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Colorful and interesting accents aren't hard to come by in this Oakland home. This bright cabinet, for example, sat in the back of a dive bar at one point. Arnie was playing a show there, and Lisa simply asked if she could have it. Now it's found itself in the couple's dining room where it hangs out with artwork by Lisa and other thrift-shop finds.
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Lisa and Arnie have been slowly renovating their home for over a decade. They say the most challenging part of the space is its age. Having been completed in 1886, it's required major updates as of late.
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Valspar's "Medallion Ash Blue," a Pottery Barn chandelier, and a garland from Berkeley, CA's Tail of the Yak enliven the dining room. The table itself remains unfinished as it hosts so many art projects Lisa and Arnie don't find it worth the investment.
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Off of the dining room and behind this door sits Lisa's at-home art studio. Lisa's late grandmother was also a painter, and her work in the oval frame to the left serves as a lasting reminder of her talent. This home isn't only full of pretty art, though. A collection of eye-catching textiles rests here on a vintage folding chair as well as in other corners of the house.
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Most of the time, the family can be found playing guitar, building Lego monstrosities or reading here under art by the fruit vendor down the street. The pillows are by Gina Pericini, and the wall's painted in Benjamin Moore "Fresh Butter."
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"We moved the original marble mantelpiece across the room. It had been covered in many layers of paint including several shades of pink and [false wood] that we both hand stripped and [had] professionally stripped," Lisa and Arnie tell us. On the mantel sits treasures their five-year-old son Aidan's brought back to his parents from his adventures in the backyard and beyond. Everything in this vignette is gorgeous, but my favorite element has to be the vintage print above his crystals and branches. Not only is it easy on the eyes, but it masks the family's television.
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An aerial shot of the San Fransisco Bay Area hangs above Arnie and Lisa's bed and on top of a sea of Benjamin Moore's paint color "Deep Caviar." "The small sculpture on the headboard is of pink, glitter, papier mâché mushrooms that my friend gave me for my birthday one year. [It was] pretty much the best present ever," Lisa gushes.
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The home was missing most of its doors when the family moved in, so since then they've been collecting vintage doors and crystal nobs -- like this one in the bedroom -- to fill in the gaps. A print by Matt Hart, vintage Rhett Butler calendar, vintage blanket and chair and moon banner by Sadie Cooper-Bates give the bedroom its eclectic look.
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The kitchen was recently overhauled. Not only did it not have a floor, but it lacked the chef-worthy accessories this cooking-loving duo needed to create meals to their hearts' content. Arnie made the island himself out of a friend's home's wainscoting.
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A painting by Aidan and cookware from a trip to Mexico bring a rainbow of hues into the kitchen, helping to visually tie it to the rest of the colorful home.
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Aidan's bedroom is decorated in art of his own and his mother's making. When Lisa was pregnant with him, she painted this Tree of Life piece using watercolors. The papier mâché tiger is another Lisa creation, while Aidan painted the map and large abstract piece. The walls are colored in Benjamin Moore "Iron Mountain," and the bed's quilt is from a trip to India.
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Arnie used pieces from Aidan's old crib as well as scraps of wood to make the kiddo a treehouse.
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The treehouse comes in handy when Aidan is outside doing his favorite activity.
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Lisa and Arnie's two-story home in Oakland, CA was built in 1886. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

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Comments

  • Hi Lisa! Love seeing your home here. I echo Gina’s comment above. Lisa’s home is gorgeous and inspiring. Miss our lady crafting days!

  • What a beautiful spread! I love the light and color, and eclectic mix of treasures. Which paintings, in what rooms, are yours Lisa?

  • I was there once. It was magical and inspiring. Happy to see this and be reminded of this beautiful home.