My House: Visual Strategist Kate Davison’s Chic Bay Area Abode
Cool girl Kate Davison invites us in for a tour of her cozy, stylish home in the Oakland hills.
Roving visual strategist Kate Davison’s 1920s storybook home is full of curated vignettes and clean lines—while offering lots of room to breathe and take it all in.
It was the character of the overall house that she originally gravitated toward when she found the rental on Craigslist two years ago—"quirky in the most wonderful way" with archways, stained glass, and textured plaster walls. Floor-to-ceiling, south-facing windows span both the living and dining rooms.
Kate spends half her time in Belgium with her boyfriend, and aspires to host photoshoots and assist as a prop stylist full-time. Until then, she’s cozied up in her charming home.
"I think we all have our quintessential ‘dream home,’ and as a rental, I have accepted and appreciated my current home for what it is: temporary," says Kate. "I feel honored and incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful place, even if it’s just for now."
What's your favorite nook in the home?
My back porch is definitely my favorite place to spend time. Whether it’s just a few minutes in the morning while watering my plants, or hours upon end with friends and/or a sunset. The view just never gets old.
What's one detail that made this truly feel like home?
The way my home smells. It’s a small detail, and one that I don’t think many people would immediately consider, but scent and memory are so closely linked. There is nothing like coming back from a long trip and smelling the familiar scent of "home" right when you open the door. My go-to at the moment is 11 Howard by Oliver Gustav.
What's a trinket or souvenir that has a lot of meaning for you?
That’s a really tough question, because I have so many. But a repetitive theme throughout my home is my Napoleon Bonaparte collection. It started innocently enough, with a high school crush, but has developed over time into a very different kind of complex. I have Napoleonic themed everything; art, books, busts, drinking glasses, candles, even a musket ball from the Battle of Waterloo. Most have been gifted to me by friends and family over the years, and I will cherish them always.
Tips for a minimalist space?
There is a difference between collections and clutter, and that difference is adequate storage! I have so many little cabinets and cupboards to stash away my large collection of pottery, dishes, vases, etc. I still believe it’s considered minimalist, even if you still have a lot of things behind closed doors. It’s all in how you display what is visible.
What was on your checklist when designing your home? What were your must-haves, in terms of furniture and accessories?
When I first moved into my home, I felt really challenged to find ways to make the space seem more contemporary while still honoring it’s historic architecture. I replaced many of the original wrought iron light fixtures with sleek new brass ones and used modern, streamlined furnishings and accessories in juxtaposition to the classic storybook/ Spanish colonial revival elements. I love how my modern grey sofa from Article pairs perfectly with the dramatic pitched ceiling in my living room. The two work off of each other so well and create a more open and airy feel in my living room which I just love!
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