The Etsy Blog

An Apartment With a Personal Touch handmade and vintage goods

Celia Catalino is a resident of the lovely city of Oakland, California, a blogger, and the Boss Lady of Monday’s Child, an Etsy vintage shop. Her blog, Life According to Celia, chronicles her adventures in home ownership, meals she shares with her family, and what it’s like to live with a somewhat crazed two-year-old. She is fond of cheeseburgers, her well-stocked bar, and people who make her laugh. She is not so fond of raisins. She also likes to keep it real. 

After living with a baby in a 650-square-foot one bedroom apartment for over a year, my husband and I decided to put on our big-girl panties and venture into the world of home ownership. It was stressful and daunting, but after months of searching and hard work, we landed the deluxe apartment-in-the-sky of our dreams (okay, it’s really not that deluxe…but it is on the top floor). The next challenge? Furnishing the place.

We quickly realized that all the stuff that made our apartment feel cramped and cluttered was nowhere near enough to fill our new 1150 square foot space. I’m all for minimalism, but I also don’t like my home to feel cavernous and desolate. We’ve spent the last year slowly acquiring pieces we hope to hold onto for a lifetime, and Etsy has been such a valuable resource for this project. Not only can you find just about anything here, you know that these amazing finds are special and one of a kind. If you ask me, that’s all it takes to make a house a home.


[1. Mid Century Modern DAYBED from GoModRetro; 2. Contemporary Desk from UnionFurnishings; 3. Modern Floor Lamp from amplefurniture; 4. Vintage Metal Barrister Cabinet from MDQualityGoods; 5. Bullhead XV Coffee Table Bench from JosephHuber; 6. Set of 4 Bent Wood Armchairs from RevolverSeattle.]

Oh, the trials and tribulations of buying furniture! I spent all of my twenties (and even a touch of my thirties) buying cheap and disposable furniture, and all I got in return was a whole bunch of wasted money. Now that I’m older and wiser, I know that it’s better to save your pennies and wait for that perfect coffee table or set of dining chairs to fall into your lap. After months of searching for a liquor cabinet, we found a vintage barrister bookcase that beautifully displays our bar selection and has become one of my most beloved pieces.


[1. Vintage Cups and Saucers from luola; 2. Large Authentic Gazelle Horns from highstreetmarket; 3. Vintage Wall Mirror from SnapshotVintage; 4. Danish Modern Candlestick from GallivantingGirls; 5. Accordion Rack from littleveggievintage; 6. Vintage Landscape Painting from littlebyrdvintage; 7. Vintage Woven Basket from bonnbonn; 8. Vintage Stube Kitchen Scale from BottegaVintageMaison.]

Speaking of vintage, those older gems can be such a great addition. If you have an interior space that is looking a little too catalogue-y, the best remedy is to add a few vintage pieces. Vintage is also an excellent route to take if you’re looking into accumulating and displaying a collection. The design characteristics and attention to detail in the common items of times past are unbeatable. Whether it be candlesticks or kitchen scales, they just don’t make them like they used to.


[1. Large Moroccan Rug from MoroccanTribal; 2. Handmade Leather Pouf by Leatherfinework; 3. Set of 3 Handprinted Tea Towels by RoomforEmptiness; 4. Kantha Quilt from Roopantaran; 5. Lines Pillow by mexchic; 6. California Poems Scarf by leahgoren.]

Textiles tie everything together in any home. Having gone through two horrible sofas, we knew it was time to commit to a real deal piece. So we ordered a custom navy leather sectional, and as sexy as that may sound, when the delivery guys finally hoisted it up over our balcony and into our living room (long story), it looked a touch uninviting. I panicked, thinking that we had made a very expensive, very big mistake. I went on a manhunt for some killer accent pillows and throws and was blown away by what a huge difference they made. Our sectional went gone from cold and dismal to warm and cozy in the blink of an eye. And once we added an area rug? Forget about it!


[1. Hanging Air Plant Cradle from mudpuppy; 2. Brass Himmeli Wall Planter by HRUSKAA; 3. Staghorn Fern from ConceptualNature; 4. Copper Grande Balle Hanging Planter from PlantworksPDX; 5. Cotton Rope Plant Hanger by indieandarrow; 6. Handmade Concrete Gold Modern Planter by dachshundinthedesert; 7. Obelisk Terrarium by megamyers; 8. Air Plant Grab Bag from Eucca.]

Displaying plants is one of my favorite design tricks. Not only do they work with any and all styles of home decor, but they can also add so much life to your space. In fact, when I have a tabletop or corner that needs something but I just can’t seem to figure out what, I always add some sort of plant or terrarium. It does the trick every single time.

All in all, furnishing a new home can be a ton of effort, but it’s a fun job nonetheless. Take your time finding items that are meaningful and will personalize your place. And in the words of a very wise friend of mine, “Your home is never done…whether there’s a doorknob that needs replacing or you’re in the market for a new tea towel to hang in your kitchen, you’ll always be working for a better space.”

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  • valeriephoto

    Valerie from valeriestitchery says: Featured

    Great suggestions. I agree with Celia. My motto for home decorating has become "less stuff, better stuff." I don't want to waste time and money cluttering up my space with cheap junk that will only last a few years, or stuff I acquire just for the sake of filling space. I want to be thoughtful, re-use what's there by buying vintage, and invest in solid pieces that mean something to me, will last for years to come, and make my apartment feel like my very own special space.

    2 years ago