Apartment Therapy: Caroline Rooney’s Chic North Beach Home

Apartment Therapy: Caroline Rooney’s Chic North Beach Home

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After a moment of soul and home searching, fashion stylist Caroline Rooney and her fiancé started collecting memories that ended being eerie coincidences. The result? A home that brings together the best items from all around the world.

“Homey”: Friends have told us that our space is incredibly “homey” which I think is the best possible compliment. After I moved from New York three years ago to join my fiancé on the west coast, we found an apartment on a quiet street in San Francisco, and set about creating our first home together. I love that the space continues to evolve as we each develop our own aesthetics, and as we travel to new places. To me, our home is the perfect, cozy mix of both of our personalities, our families, and our adventures together. When you look around you’ll see pieces that we’ve collected from our time in Mexico City (my fiancé grew up there), fixtures from retailers I’ve worked with, and paintings and sculptures done by our friends and family. We never want anything in our home to feel too precious. When you come over, we want you to snuggle up on the couch, pour a glass of wine, and stay a while.

As a fashion stylist, I wanted to create a home that felt stylish and inspiring, and in line with my aesthetic, but that was also somewhere I could come home to quietly disconnect and re-charge. My styling tends to lean classically Americana, with lots of denim, luxurious basics, and pops of unexpected details. The “unexpected details” in my work are usually pieces I’ve sourced traveling, or from local San Francisco brands and maker friends. I like to bring in pieces from New York, Detroit, San Francisco, and Mexico City - all places we’ve called home. The same goes for sourcing pieces for our apartment.

And since my office is in our home, my fiance will tell you there’s never any storage of denim, styling pieces, or piles of magazines, tears, and pulls! We have a house rule that racks can only come into the living room on shoot prep days… He’s very patient and incredibly supportive, but I do tend to take over when I’m working! 

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We found our place on Craigslist after hunting for an apartment for over three months! The second we saw all of the original character of the home, the black and white checkerboard kitchen, and the large bay windows,

we knew this was the place where we wanted to begin our life together, and create our first home.

In the three years since we moved in, we’ve slowly painted the walls a darker grey color, swapped all of our furniture around twice, and acclimated to me working from our home full time. We were lucky to have moved in with some amazing pieces, like our dining room table, sofa, and my reclaimed wood desk that I hauled from NY. Since then, we’ve sourced our coffee table and bar from their former home in a retail store, our rugs and wall covering from many trips home to Mexico City, and our garden bench turned media center from one very adventure-filled afternoon in Venice Beach, California.

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The “Girl in Jeans” print was a gift from my dear friend and illustrator Andrea Simons. She knows how passionate I am about denim (I own over 100 pairs of jeans!), and painted that for me for my office when I made the move to working for myself full time. (andreamichellesimons.com)

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The painting that hangs above our couch is incredibly special to us. My fiance found it at Artist & Fleas, the flea market in Brooklyn, the weekend I was moving from NY. I was already packed and all of my belongings already on the moving truck, but he insisted that we buy it, and that he would figure out how to get it to SF. The piece is from an artist who sources vintage oil painting and prints, and then graffitis over them. Ours is a print of San Francisco, with monsters taking over the Bay.

A year after we hung it in our home, our landlady (who’s like family to us now), came over and casually said she recognized it. A few weeks later, she came over for dinner with a picture of her mother (who grew up in our apartment), sitting on a couch, on the same wall of the home, under our same pre-graffiti’ed print!

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After the goosebumps, we decided this was likely a mass produced print (potentially from the Sear Roebuck catalogue) that her parents purchased in the 70’s, and which many many years later later, a copy found its way to a Brooklyn flea market, and into the artist’s hands.  We’ve always felt like our home was meant to be, but in that moment, we were struck by how true it was that everything worked out perfectly, and we are exactly where we are supposed to be.

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The beautiful blanket on the couch is from Northern California brand Erlum Alpaca. This is a great example of a piece that I loved for our home after I worked with them on a few modelings and styling jobs. (erlumalpaca.com)

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I feel very lucky that my fiance has great taste, and is really collaborative in creating a space that we both love and can relax in. Prior to moving in together, I tended to gravitate towards neutrals, and lots of white, but he’s introduced me to lighter wood tones, bright accent colors in our art, and has encouraged me to have more fun with our decor. He loves to collect art & prints, and has done an incredible job finding pieces that are fun, and bold, from the “I love Life” stencil from Cartagena, to the “Little Red Riding Hood with Machine Gun” from ParkLife, and the giant bronze paper mache rhino head from Mexico (above.) These pieces bring so much life to our home, and make people smile when they walk in.

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My secret hobby is that I love to cook. I think most people assume that fashion people don’t cook and keep sweaters in our ovens! But I studied in Florence during college, and lived in this amazing home where we all shared three sit-down, family meals per day sourced from the local market. I learned to cook from my time in Italy, and became passionate about bringing people together over a great meal, and a good bottle of wine. Mexican culture is really similar, and this love for long dinners with friends and family is something my fiance and I certainly share. Because of this, the kitchen is my secret rabbit hole. I love cooking Italian comfort food, and lately I’ve been learning how to cook traditional Mexican meals. Given how much we work and travel, taking the time to disconnect (and reconnect!) over dinner is really important to us.

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The bright colored totes are imported from Mexico City for our new project, Shop Padrísimo. (shoppadrisimo.com)

// —as told to Bob Cut Mag. Follow Caroline’s adventures through Paris Fashion Week on her Instagram NOW!

Conducted by the Bob Cut Editors, photography by Anthony Rogers, written by Caroline Rooney — Meet more inspiring Bay Area folk here.

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