House Tour

A 400-Square-Foot Studio Makes Plywood Look Magical

Becky has lived in her Oakland studio for six years. Just recently, her boyfriend Cliff moved in, prompting her to get creative with making space for both of them and their cat.

Becky started a career as a display artist with Anthropologie, though she now creates new works at West Elm.

Working with new materials every day has inspired her to experiment at home.

Most of the furniture in Becky and Cliff's apartment has been customized.

Becky made the coffee table, as well as most of the wall art.

Our Style: Playful modern

The wall hanging was a piece Becky created at Anthropologie.

"Making things isn't as hard as you may think!" she says.

Becky says working with plywood and neutral colors has made the space feel bigger, though the abundance of natural light helps.

Customizing the furniture meant Becky could work with the small dimensions of the space.

Proudest DIY: The TV stand—it's made from a cracked piece of marble that was being tossed.

I constructed the base out of plywood so it fit the marble perfectly and arranged it so you can't even see the crack.

The Fanned Paper Pendant is from West Elm, but is no longer available.

Inspiration: Geometry, colors, materials

Biggest Challenge: Small space. When I first moved in, I had a random assortment of furniture, but as I replaced each of them with plywood pieces that I made, the room felt bigger and bigger.

Having a common material throughout the space and neutral tones with pops of color have made a (literal) big impact.

Biggest Indulgence: My Roomba. It's the best.

The couple fit a desk area into a corner of the kitchen.

The dresser is from IKEA.

The desk was purchased at IKEA, too.

What Friends Say: "Wow!" Most people spend a lot of time looking at all the details when they visit for the first time.

Favorite Element: The lighting–during the day we get great natural light, and at night we turn on the many odd lamps we own, including four that I made.

Dream Sources: Home Depot. When I don't know what to make, I walk up and down every aisle and investigate all the materials I've never used before.

Thanks Becky and Cliff!

Name: Becky Elfes-Terjung and Cliff Lance
Location: Piedmont Avenue — Oakland, California
Size: 400 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years; rented

When Becky took on a job as a display artist at Anthropologie, she would constantly bring home leftover scraps from work. This is where her love of plywood grew, as it provided her with a blank canvas that allowed her to be as creative as possible. Just recently, she customized a pine dresser with wooden plywood squiggles, and she built a one-of-a-kind floor lamp that now illuminates the studio. Becky finds inspiration from many sources, including her work projects, but it's her small studio space that truly pushes her to experiment. When she moved in six years ago, she had mismatched furniture inherited from old roommates, so she wanted to start all over with personalized furniture that fit. "My apartment is my happy, experimental place for crafting and getting out all the weird I have to hold back at work."

Just recently, Becky's boyfriend Cliff moved in, reducing storage space in the tiny 400-square-foot studio. This meant she had to find a new storage spot for her saw, which she kept in her kitchen for easy access when she felt inspired to build and create. Becky's solution to make the space feel bigger was to work with plywood and neutral tones. Making furniture herself meant she could work with the dimensions of the room, and customize them to fit their needs. Now, Becky works as a display artist at West Elm, where she continues to work with materials that inspire her to create new things at home. "Making things isn't as hard as you may think!" she says.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Playful modern.

Inspiration: Geometry, colors, materials.

Favorite Element: The lighting–during the day we get great natural light, and at night we turn on the many odd lamps we own, including four that I made.

Biggest Challenge: Small space. When I first moved in, I had a random assortment of furniture, but as I replaced each of them with plywood pieces that I made, the room felt bigger and bigger. Having a common material throughout the space and neutral tones with pops of color have made a (literal) big impact.

What Friends Say: "Wow!" Most people spend a lot of time looking at all the details when they visit for the first time.

Biggest Embarrassment: Not sure!

Proudest DIY: The TV stand—it's made from a cracked piece of marble that was being tossed. I constructed the base out of plywood so it fit the marble perfectly and arranged it so you can't even see the crack.

Biggest Indulgence: My Roomba. It's the best.

Best Advice: Making things isn't as hard as you may think.

Dream Sources: Home Depot. When I don't know what to make, I walk up and down every aisle and investigate all the materials I've never used before.

Resources:

LIVING ROOM
Drake sofa — West Elm
Murray drink table — West Elm
Side table (marble +wood) — West Elm
Orange velvet pillow — IKEA
Roar + Rabbit Wabi Sabi dot pillow — West Elm

DINING ROOM
Norraker dining table— IKEA
Eames reproduction chairs — Amazon
Dining table— IKEA
Fanner paper pendant— West Elm

KITCHEN
Malm drawers— IKEA
Desk — IKEA

BEDROOM
Tarva dresser — IKEA

BATHROOM
Rast drawers — IKEA

Thanks, Becky!


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