by Wiley

Even though the idea for Quizzical Creatures didn’t fully foment until after we had moved out of our North Oakland apartment, it was in this lilliputian bachelorette pad that we started musing about starting up our own homegrown business.  My favorite thing about the apartment was definitely having Ingo as a roommate — but my second favorite thing was how the apartment was really a blank canvas. We owned hardly anything when we first moved in (except for a giant insect painting and a beach chair), so the apartment gave us a chance to create a home from scratch.

This mission-style rocking chair was scavenged from Urban Ore (a giant Berkeley thrift store/pack rat’s paradise).

Four sorry-looking chairs from Urban Ore + Chair Day Chair Month (four weekends of cleaning, cutting, sanding, priming, painting) + cutting up velvet curtains from Target + staple gun = a new dining table set!

This fixer-upper toy chest was from the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse .  In our apartment, it served as a bench, linen chest, coffee table, stepping stool, ottoman, and occasional hiding spot.

We lined the built-in bookcase with damask paper for a fresh look and no elbow grease. Here are some cloth-bound classics designed by illustrator Coralie Bickford-Smith. The marble bookend is from Heartware in Berkeley.

A collection of buttons in quilted mason jars.

The bunny was a gift from my friend Jamie and the treasure box, with working lock and key, is from a trip that Ingo took to Mexico for a Playa del Carmen wedding shoot.

Several years ago, Ingo and I lived with a  few other friends. These are the nesting dolls that we and our other housemates painted one afternoon. A variation of these matryoshkas will be available for purchase at Quizzical Creatures.

The Room and Board couch was the one splurge in our apartment — everything else was either a gift, handmade/hand restored, or purchased on the cheap. If you go on sale days, Jeremys (in Berkeley and San Francisco) is a great place to find discounted Anthropologie curtains and home furnishings. The villi-like pendant lamp was based off of a tutorial in DesignSponge. The lamp also came in handy as a last-minute Halloween costume:

Can you guess what we are? Hint: We’re a dirtier, suckier version of the picture Ingo posted in her last entry.

This nicked but sturdy end table was purchased off of Craigslist and repainted. After affixing a $2 knob from Anthropologie, the table was like brand new!

A lovely lino print by Ingo that reminds me of the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel.

A digital print of Paris by Fleet Street Scandal.

A letterpress print of San Francisco by Lab Partners.

Our modest little kitchen.

A collection of loose-leaf teas labeled using an old-school Dymo machine.

Dessert plates from Jeremys.

Ingo wrapped a birthday gift with fresh flowers from her co-op. Walt hung these flowers to dry on the antique chandelier in the kitchen. I still have the tiny bouquet in my room (and used it as decoration for Ingo’s bridal shower).

Our sweet old landlord and her son restored this antique clawfoot bathtub. (I bet they found it at Urban Ore!)

Ingo and Jerry took a ceramic course last year and she gave me these gorgeous spice bowls for Christmas.

Ingo: “We were starting a beginners class in pottery and the teacher asked if anyone had experience. Jerry said, ‘I watched a lot of videos on YouTube.’ Then he started whispering next to me about how his hands were so masterful because he learned a superior Japanese throwing technique on YouTube.”

The sentry guarding our back porch. Ingo loves succulents and even grew her own for her wedding!

The view through the dining room’s screened window into the backyard.

A lino print that Ingo created for her dad.

We always kept a fresh stem in the big Spanish glass vase. The artwork above the phonograph stand are prints from Emma San Cartier. Currently, I’m working on restoring the stand using tools from the Berkeley Tool Lending Library, which is an awesome resource for local DIYers.