When Peter Sauer came into the West Elm Emeryville store, he had just moved into his very own two-bedroom apartment—a big step that left him with a lot of empty space to fill. “Previously I had a lot of hand-me-down furniture,” he says. “When I found this new apartment in July, I made the decision to kind of start over and get rid of everything, which meant I was living in an empty place for a while.”
As a busy product manager at Lyft, he knew he wanted a clean space to come home to, but didn’t have a solid plan on how to design it. Through some online research, he learned about West Elm’s free Design Crew services and met Silema Bogans from the West Elm Emeryville store. “We developed a really cool rapport and we became fast friends,” Silema says. She learned that Peter liked mid-century style – he had saved a ton of inspiration pics on Pinterest – so she designed his dream home with a lot of products from West Elm’s Fair Trade Certified™ Mid-Century Furniture Collection. She leaned into his love of clean lines and large live plants from Bloomscape. “He’s a calm guy and he’s super busy so he doesn’t like a lot of fuss and muss, but he still wanted to make it feel like home,” she says.
Peter Sauer & Silema Bogans from the West Elm Design Crew
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“Now that it’s done, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I should’ve done this sooner,'” Peter says. “Living in a place that you love and makes you happy and that you’re proud to share with your friends and family, it affects your life in a big way.”
Read on for the full tour!
Photography by Landon Vonderschmidt
Peter has to walk up 25 steps up to get to this landing, so Silema wanted him to have a comfortable entryway bench to take a load off. They chose the cushioned Mid-Century Entryway Bench and paired it with a stylish Industrial Shoe Rack. “I really like having the entryway bench since I use that every single day when I come in and go out,” Peter says. “I love coming home every day to my little oasis. It looks beautiful, and everyone who walks in is like, ‘Wow, it looks so great in here.’ But beyond just company, it’s so nice for me to come home after a long workday to a home that looks good and is functional too.”
The dining table was one of the first items that Silema got Peter to compromise on. “He had originally chosen a very dark dining table, and I told him it was going to be too dark with all the nice natural light in his flat. After discussing it with him, he finally trusted me to order the Mid-Century Expandable Dining Table in acorn,” Silema says. When that worked out perfectly, he had more confidence in letting her take the reins on those types of design decisions. “He likes to joke saying, ‘I should’ve just listened to you, Silema! I tried to go out on my own and it didn’t work!'”
Since Peter likes to entertain and work from home, the Mid-Century Mini Desk in the bay window does double-duty. It can act as a small bar with Nickel + Wood Barware on a Mid-Century Angled Tray, or he can pull up a chair and use it as a desk to get some work done.
The living room is where the apartment’s architecture really shines, with built-in book cases, gorgeous beams and an enviable fireplace. Silema says Peter wanted to keep the living room neutral (but not washed-out) to enhance these details without outshining them. To keep things interesting with a contrast, they paired a light gray Andes Sofa and a darker Monroe Sofa in Performance Velvet Shadow.
Silema says Peter was originally adverse to too many “tchotchkes,” but he totally warmed up to the idea of decorative vases and accessories when he realized how much homier the space could feel with them. “It was really helpful working with Silema and having her push me out of my comfort zone a little bit,” he says.
The kitchen’s warm wood cabinets help complement the acorn finish of the furniture elsewhere in the apartment. The planters on the shelves are by Jonathan Q. Swanson, a LOCAL maker at the Emeryville store.
The Mid-Century Furniture Collection looks great in the bedroom too, with two Mid-Century Nightstands and the 6-Drawer Dresser. Silema broke up all the wood with the upholstered Modern Show-Wood Bed and fresh Belgian Flax Linen bedding.
Silema Bogans, West Elm Emeryville Design Crew