Home Tour: Modern Minimalism Gets a Rustic Touch in San Francisco
Minimalism is one of those things that looks easy to achieve. Clean lines, neutral palettes, and simple features. How difficult could it be, right? If you've tried your hand at interior design–on any level–you know that's hardly the case. "Where do I put all of my belongings? What do I do with all of the clutter?" Not Kate Davison. She does it right. Her home is a minimalistic dream, but by no means empty. Filled with rustic touches and hearty furniture, this San Francisco apartment is a breath of fresh air. Subtle pops of color perfectly contrast the crisp white walls. Take a peek inside...
Copy by Julie Yarusinsky // Photos by Colin Price for The Everygirl
After your move, you found an apartment with mutual friends. But now you call a one bedroom flat home. Do you rent or own? We all know San Francisco has some of the highest housing in the country. Was it difficult transitioning to co-habiting? KD: I currently rent an apartment with my boyfriend. We were so lucky to have found such a beautiful apartment in a great location, which made the transition of moving in together so easy and rewarding. Although housing can be out of control in SF, we totally get what we pay for! I think coming home to such lovely home every day makes up for any increase in rent.
The clean, yet rustic decor in your home fits the vintage design perfectly. Did you have a specific vision when you moved in? KD: When I moved to California, I brought a lot of family pieces with me because I wanted to feel at home immediately. There was just something nostalgic about waking up in a foreign city but still surrounded by familiar things. I always wanted mine and my boyfriend's new space to reflect both of us, and there were definitely some compromises, as with any couple newly co-habiting. I think in the end, the vision is clean and simple, and we both share a basic aesthetic. I honestly couldn't have asked for a more perfect background for all of our belongings.
Are any of the items in your home DIY or thrift store finds? Did you have a budget? KD: I scored so many great pieces when we first moved in. I found our dining table on Craigslist for just $45, and it has been the perfect piece for the space, as well as for our crafty weekend projects that are usually scattered all over it. I don't get nervous about scratches and spills because it was so cheap, and really the new dings only add more character. The dark table felt so heavy in comparison with the other furniture in the apartment, so I painted a band of white around the edge to break up the scale. Sometimes it only takes a small amount of work to transform an unassuming piece into something that fits both your style and budget. I found our bookcase and our picnic table at the local thrift store, both for under $50. The bookcase was in great shape and only needed new knobs, but the picnic table required a little bit more work. It was originally barn red, which I quickly covered with a coat or two of grey. It only came with one bench, so I make up for the lack of seating by bringing out mix-and-match chairs from the dining room.
What was on your checklist when designing your apartment? What were your must-haves, in terms of furniture and accessories?
KD: I had this list of “must-haves" when I was looking for an apartment. I admit my list was little unreasonable (fireplace, parking space, hardwood floors, open shelving, claw foot tub, etc.) so you can imagine my shock and awe when I walked in to view our apartment. It had everything I was looking for! As far as furniture goes, we only lacked two of the most important pieces – a couch and a dining table. I knew we were on a pretty tight budget, having just paid for the deposit and the movers, so I scoured Craigslist and local thrift stores. The accessories came a bit later, and I still keep an eye out for that perfect white piece for the mantel or other little knick-knacks for the open shelves in the kitchen. But even some of those still get phased out as we continue to explore a sense of “our style" as a couple.
What items for the home would you say are most important to invest in? What items do you recommend saving on? KD: I think if you are going to spend a good deal of money on one piece, it needs to make a statement. My biggest investment so far has been my custom couch, which was made locally here in SF. I went back and forth between grey and blue for the color, but I am so pleased with the final look. Everything else is so neutral and I needed the pop of the blue to complete the room. The layout of my apartment is very fluid and one room leads to the next, so I have to keep all of the rooms basically decorated the same. The benefit of this is that I can always rearrange the space to keep things interesting. I think the best way to save money is in the details.
The space feels and looks so minimal, without looking empty. Any advice for keeping clutter at bay?
KD: The clutter is there; believe me, it's just hidden quite well. There is only one closet in the apartment, so I use a lot of old trunks and suitcases for storage that fit right in with the décor. You would never know that one of them holds all of my craft supplies, and another has my power tools and paint cans inside. I also think that having super organized closet space and under the bed storage helps a ton. Having open shelving in the kitchen can be a little intimidating, as you need. You want to have everything appear orderly and appealing. For that, I, so I just store the essentials that aren't pleasing to the eye, like cereal boxes and Tupperware, in the lower cabinets, and use fun canning jars and containers for the rest. I try to keep true to the old saying, “a place for everything and everything in it's place."
Kate Davison was previously an archivist and now exploring creative roles at a start-up, Kate has a resume anyone would envy.
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