A 580-Square-Foot SF Rental Has a Lush DIY Faux Living Wall and More Fun Decor

A 580-Square-Foot SF Rental Has a Lush DIY Faux Living Wall and More Fun Decor

Name: Leslie Driscoll, her amazing partner, Amy, and cat, Kimbap
Location: San Francisco, California
Type of home: One-bedroom apartment
Size: 580 square feet
Years lived in: 10 months, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My partner Amy just graduated from the Goldman School at UC Berkeley with a graduate degree in Public Policy. Now, she works in local government as a Race and Equity Fellow. I work remotely as a Senior Copywriter specializing in B2B tech brands, but in undergrad I studied interior design. We use our space to create things together, whether it’s a home-cooked meal, musings over whatever weird movie we just watched, or memories with loved ones.

We’re two queer women in a relationship, and that has influenced a number of our design decisions. We have a rainbow media cabinet, a pink neon sign that says “queer” (what else), a candle in the shape of a plus-sized woman’s figure, and I bought fruit prints from my favorite artist that look rather yonic. I also printed out images of vintage lesbian pulp fiction book covers that I framed. Adding to these queer design decisions is the fact that Amy’s a Taurus and I’m a Libra, which are signs that are both ruled by feminine Venus.

Our astrological influences have made their way into our spare room, with our lush-looking faux living wall that Amy DIY’ed, curvy wall decals, a green shag rug, and the comfiest pink chair that’s ideal for lounging. The spare room was originally intended for work, but over time we’ve discovered it was made for luxuriating with coffee and music, meditating, or getting lost in a book. 

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Sapphic, feminist, cerebral, sensual, Venusian.

What is your favorite room and why? Every room is us in some way, but the living room is truly our hearth. I love how it showcases art from our travels — such as our trips to Spain and Belgium in 2019 — as well as pieces from our own friends and family. We have paintings and mixed-media work from Amy’s friends, and sketches I made while in design school. We’ve also displayed the keepsakes that Amy has been collecting since her teens. I wanted to honor these keepsakes that she’s been displaying in various apartments for years, so I splurged on the Storybook shelving unit from Design Within Reach to give them proper homage. We’ve maximized our surfaces for guests — the coffee table is 3′ by 3′, and it’s been great for hosting game nights or Korean BBQ dinner parties. The dining table is great for hosting other couples, and there have been interesting conversations around it. The living room is such a hub for activity and fun.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The Hot Mesh counter stool by Blu Dot that I scored secondhand off Facebook Marketplace! It’s a bright yellow that picks up accents in some nearby wallpaper, but it’s also very comfortable for our office. We wanted something we could sit in for hours since I work from home and Amy needed a comfortable place to make calls.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Create a dynamic environment with myriad colors, textures, shapes, finishes, and design styles to add dimension and depth. Sit down with a pen, paper, and some wine, and brainstorm how to translate aspects of yourself and your daily routine into physical elements. Don’t be too concerned about everything matching perfectly or looking Instagram-worthy — being true to yourself will bring you joy, and that joy alone will be contagious to anyone viewing your space. – Leslie

Leslie gave me the term “maximalism” when she started designing our apartment, and it was liberating to be able to make every design choice interesting and quirky rather than trying to achieve a minimalist aesthetic. She expertly arranged the eclectic art pieces I had gathered from cities all over and displayed them in a fun and vibrant space. She’s taught me that good design can come in many shapes and sizes, and to celebrate your own unique expression! – Amy


This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.