Design

Berkeley House Tour

Ariel Clute's Berkeley Home

Jewelry designer Ariel Clute lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and three children. Her welcoming home is full of family furniture and flea market finds. Here’s a peek inside, with photos by Lena Corwin

Ariel Clute's Berkeley HomeOn living in a work-in-progress: When we first moved into the house, it had two large bedrooms. Once our daughter and twins arrived, we renovated it into three rooms. We’ve also turned our attic into my studio/guest bedroom. My husband is an architect and a capable builder, so we’re always making changes. I like to think of it as problem solving to make the space work for our changing needs.

LIVING ROOM:
Ariel Clute's Berkeley Home Couch: family heirloom. Wool blanket: Coyuchi. Plant stand: Wylie Price. White planter: vintage. Terra cotta planter: White Elephant Sale. Dollhouse: Ikea.

On family pieces: My husband and I both grew up in California —  Wylie’s family has lived in Northern California for three generations! So, most of the furniture in our home has been passed down from relatives. We’re drawn to antiques. The big mirror in the living room is from Wylie’s great grandfather. It was originally from an armoire that was too big for our space, but we loved it so much we decided to hang the mirror part. When Wylie is doing a new architecture job, he’ll research the history of the building and try to incorporate that story into his designs.

Ariel Clute's Berkeley Home Shelf: designed by Wylie Price and built by Kelly Best. Raccoon: Rosina Finister, via Creative Growth.

On wedding bells: We got married when our daughter Talula was two. We wanted to wait so she could be in our wedding, along with my husband’s nieces and nephews. We rented a house in Joshua Tree for the reception. It felt funny to have Talula throw flowers down the aisle, since was the desert, so we decided to have her and the other kids ring bells during the ceremony. The bells are now displayed in a curiosity cabinet in our living room.

Ariel Clute's Berkeley Home

Ariel Clute's Berkeley Home width= Dollhouse: Ikea. Toy kitchen set (similar): Elves and Angels. Rainbow stacker: Amazon. Wooden push toy: Amazon.

On used toys: Most of our toys are really good garage sale finds. Now that we have three kids, it can be easy to accumulate clutter, especially when grandparents want to give kids everything. But since many toys are made to last a week, we’ve tried really hard to not fill the house with things that aren’t recyclable. As Talula gets older we want her to learn that things can have a history, can be cherished and last a long time.

On baskets: I love beautiful baskets. We have them all over the house. We’ll invite people over for dinner, and I’ll put utensils, napkins and toys in different baskets. We have a garden in the backyard, so we use the baskets to harvest lettuce, tomatoes, kale, cucumbers and herbs. Our children also use them to collect nature or make mini bouquets. I find baskets at the Alameda flea market, IKEA and the White Elephant Sale.

KITCHEN:
Ariel Clute's Berkeley HomeGreen lights: White Elephant Sale. Bar stools: antique. Kettle: Simplex.

On meals at home: My husband and I split cooking duties 50/50. He has cooked in restaurants before and has a real passion for food. Growing up, I often made simple meals for my brother and myself when my mom was working. So, we have different styles, but both love to be in the kitchen.

On Mexican food: We make lots of Mexican-inspired meals, tons of beans and rice. We’ll do a big pot of chile verde — with tomatillos, onions and pork shoulder — and eat it in different variations for few days. We’ll do it as a stew one night, then tacos the next. We love to make spicy sauces and salsas, too. We’ll give Talula what she calls “pink sauce,” which is basically our salsa mixed with yogurt so it’s milder.

Ariel Clute's Berkeley Home

On family drawing: We spend all our time in the kitchen and living room. They used to be two separate rooms, but we knocked down the walls to make it an open floor plan. Talula likes to help make dinner, and we all love making art together. We’ll put a big piece of butcher paper on the counter and the five of us will draw.

KIDS’ BEDROOM:

Ariel Clute's Berkeley HomeBedding: Coyuchi. Cribs: IKEA.Twins print: Nathaniel Russell. Rabbit art: Tara Tucker. Little green chair: Alameda Flea Market. Basket: Alameda Flea Market. Red rug: Flor.

On a personal shrine: I was pregnant with a son before I had my twins, but my water broke at 24 weeks and Oro did not survive. It was a heartbreaking experience. For a while, my husband and I questioned the idea of trying to expand our family again, but in the end decided to. We made a shrine, which holds Oro’s ashes, photos and letters to honor his spirit. We try to talk to our older daughter Talula about it. It was a memorable experience for her and we do not want him to be forgotten.

On naming twins: I made the mobiles above the cribs when I got pregnant with the twins. When we thought we were having just one girl, we loved the named Fermina Daza from the book Love in the Time of Cholera. When we found out we were having twin girls, brainstorming two names felt much harder. In the end, we decided to just split the name: Fermina and Daza. When they were born, one of the nurses — whose husband was an English teacher — recognized the name. And only one other person has recognized them since!

MASTER BEDROOM:

Ariel Clute's Berkeley HomeBedding: Coyuchi.

On homemade furniture: We needed a new bed and I really wanted a king, so Wylie built this frame. In his work, he designs or builds a lot of furniture. He did all the furniture at the San Francisco restaurant State Bird Provisions himself and collaborated with another woodworker at The Progress. We actually met because he did woodworking at an art center in Oakland, where I taught printmaking.

Ariel Clute's Berkeley Home

On making jewelry: I’ve always been a painter and printmaker, but I started making jewelry after Talula was born. Each piece is a mix of contemporary and antique material. It wasn’t a planned business, but it’s been a great thing to do since I’ve had kids. It’s more meditative and I can do it at home when they’re napping.

GARDEN:

Ariel Clute's Berkeley HomeLawn furniture: estate sales.

On pizza parties: When we have friends over, we cook pizzas in our backyard. Crazily enough, we built a wood-fired oven ourselves. We got Kiko Denzer’s book, invited some friends over and spent the afternoon building it. It actually wasn’t that hard. Now we’ll make dough the night before and make a little extra so the kids can make their own pizzas, too. We always make a margherita and a fresh sausage. Last time, we made one with local cheese, prosciutto and figs, and it was delicious.

Ariel Clute's Berkeley Home

Ariel Clute's Berkeley Home

Thank you so much, Ariel!

P.S. More house tours, including a colorful home in Utah and three kids who share a bedroom.

(Photos by Lena Corwin. Interview by Megan Cahn.)

  1. I know a half Swedish, half Korean family with a little girl called Fermina. You should go for it! ;-)
    http://cupofjo.com/2016

  2. Emily says...

    Thank you for sharing your home and your stories – your family is lovely! I have a two-and-a-half and an 8-month old, so we’re constantly trying to wrangle the toy situation (just this morning, I was explaining (again!) to my mom that she didn’t need to bring a present for my daughter, her visiting from away is enough of a present!). Our home is small and there’s always a project underway, so it’s nice to hear about your projects and how they’re helping to shape your home.

  3. Beautiful space; so lovely, lovingly appointed and sweet vibe! Are you Waldorf school parents, by chance? Waldorf homes often have wooden toys and organic gardens as the education favors this. It ends up creating a certain “look”, which I LOVE! <3

  4. Katie says...

    What a wonderful home, and it was fun to hear a little about her girls – we also have a daughter (who just turned 4) and identical twin girls (18 months). What a fun, adorable circus! :)

  5. Sarah D. says...

    Yes!!!! A beautifully decorated/curated home with kids that is obviously lived in and loved! Thank you for a down to earth home tour. Such a gentle looking family. xo

    PS – loooove the metal shelves in the bedroom – any comment on where to find them?

  6. callie says...

    my son’s name is Wylie. so cool.

  7. Lindsay says...

    It’s refreshing to see a cozy, beautiful home that looks real and isn’t perfectly curated just for a blog post. Really enjoy this!

  8. Haylie says...

    I love your home tour posts, Jo and Team. They always feel lived in and real.

  9. Jill H says...

    Lovely home! A a mother who had a traumatic birth experience (which resulted in a tiny preemie), I really appreciated Ariel’s honestly about losing her son. My son survived, and I can’t imagine what it would have been like if we lost him. These experiences can feel very isolating and lonely. It’s nice to have reminders that we’re not alone in difficult birth experiences.

  10. Beautiful, warm, inviting, and “real” home, Ariel! I think I’ve met you before at Social Studies and maybe at Lisa Fontaine’s house in Berkeley?? Anyway, your family and home are beautiful ;)

  11. Becca says...

    This visual reminder that things don’t have to be new and “perfect” to be perfect came at just the right time. Thanks ladies!

  12. Thank you for sharing your home Ariel! Berkeley is such a wonderful place and your home is so inviting. We’ve stayed at a few airbnb’s in the area and just love it.

    xo Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

  13. Ellen says...

    The tiny green chair in the twins’ bedroom! We had one when i was a kid in the early 70s. It’s a booster seat for the car. :)

  14. Annie says...

    I’d love to see Ariel featured in the Beauty Uniform series. So much soulfulness. :)

    • Yes, me, too! She is lovely. I love how intentional she is. Please, let’s hear about her beauty uniform :)

    • margaux says...

      agreed! i love her worn clogs.

  15. SummerLily says...

    I love this home. It’s so nice to see antiques mixed with new furniture. Seems like such a “real” home that I can relate to! Love these posts.

  16. The house looks so cozy! What a lovely family! I love the idea of cooking pizzas in the backyard! I would totally live there! Best regards from Barcelona,
    Marta

  17. Tricia says...

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful, sweet and real looking home. Makes me feel more sane knowing that other people have cluttered kitchen counters.

    • Traci Barr Segal says...

      I agree. They really live in their home. It’s not just a showpiece. Very NorCal!

  18. Gorgeous house! Now that I’m a homeowner, I’m loving these posts, it’s really fun to be able to take a peak into someone else’s home — their world — and see their designs and ideas. Why they went with one look vs. another, etc. Really fun and insightful!

    – Dara || http://www.peoniesandhoneybees.com

  19. Lexi says...

    The photos for this house tour were totally insufficient. It was more like a house glimpse rather than a tour. Often, things mentioned in captions weren’t visible in photos and it was hard to get a sense of the space with such tight shots. I love CoJ tours and this house looks great, but we need to see more of it.

    • I, too, would have enjoyed seeing a few of the items mentioned in captions — such as the wedding bells! That is such a sweet story. I’d love at a peek at the bells themselves :)

    • Agreed – for home tours you really need photos of whole rooms that also show entry-/door- ways into the other spaces in order to get a feel for the entire space. Or perhaps a floor plan – even a hand-drawn one helps so much in understanding the flow of a space.

    • Clara says...

      I agree! It’s lovely and I enjoyed it, but I would have loved to see much more of the home.

  20. This was one of my favorite home tours. I love that she gets a lot of her beautiful furniture from flea markets and the like. Who needs a new piece when you can get a beautiful one with some history. I’m missing that Northern California vibe over here in LA.

  21. so much to love, thank you

  22. That was pleasing. What a happy home and family. The shrine is a lovely idea.

  23. Such a lovely home! From my grandfather’s lace-trimmed baby quilt and inventions from my husband’s grandfather to a china cabinet my great-uncle made as a wedding gift for my parents, we also have a lot of family pieces that carry so many stories and memories. These make our NYC apartment unique and help make it OUR home!

  24. AK says...

    What are the materials used in the twins’ mobiles? They are lovely!

  25. Charlie says...

    I loved this home tour. And I agree with you Rach in Oz. This was the first home tour that I’ve really felt looked like real life. Or at least a real life that I personally can relate to. I so enjoyed the stories behind the objects. The photos gave a sense of the personalities in the house so well. I’d love to see more like this!

  26. Sara says...

    Home tours on some of my favorite posts, and this is my favorite home. (I also love the Davis home!)
    I have been a fan of Ariel’s jewelry after seeing it at Erica Tanov. It was a treat to see the home of the artist. Her family seems to create the perfect environment of what I call, accidental perfection. It is lovely.
    Bless Oro and all your children. I loved learning of his special place in your hearts and home.

  27. As I’m scrolling through this post, I’m reminded of so many of my friends and they’re homes. That living room looks just like so and so’s. Her children’s names remind me of these dear friends. The homemade furniture makes me miss this special friend….etc. Which is precisely why I enjoyed this home tour so much. Such familiarity, warmth and the feeling of ‘when can I come hang out?!’

    Xo

  28. What a lovely family!! Thanks for opening your home to us.

  29. Deidre says...

    Ariel! So lovely to see you here! Zara and Caleb was so excited to see the kiddos. Thanks for sharing .

    • Deidre says...

      Ariel! So lovely to see you here! Zara and Caleb were so excited to see the kiddos. Thanks for sharing .

  30. Bridget says...

    A charming, thoughtful home for a family that seems very thoughtful and loving. Very sorry for the loss of your son, Ariel. Thank you for sharing so openly your home and a part of your family’s story with us.

  31. Heather says...

    I loved this home tour. So cozy and dreamy.

    We, too, had a baby, then lost a son unexpectedly in our second trimester, and then had spontaneous twin girls – about the same age as your children.. I love that your second child has a space in your home. <3

  32. I’m curious about the bookshelves in the master bedroom. Are they made from angle iron or something else? Purchased or custom-made? Thanks!

    • Hi,

      The shelves are custom my husband built them.

      wylie@wylieprice.com

      Happy you like them

  33. Leah says...

    I love this house tour the best ever. It doesn’t have that “curated” feel like so many pictures of interiors do nowadays. It feels and looks real, like you just popped in to visit and took some pictures while you were there. They sound like a lovely family, too.

    • Michelle says...

      I thought exactly the same thing! :)

    • WMom says...

      I agree. I loooved this house tour!

  34. Natalie Brennan says...

    ariel, i’m really sorry to hear about the loss of your son. i’m sure he was a beautiful person. thank you for opening your home to us.

  35. AJ Douglas says...

    What a lovely home and family. I especially appreciate all the family treasures and hand built pieces. They make your house special and unique!

  36. Alice Quin says...

    Love her laid back philosophy!

  37. Kate says...

    Sigh. I love Berkeley! Sweet family. 😊

  38. Hannah L says...

    Cup of Jo features lots of lovely house tours, and I always love getting a peek…but this is the first and only home I’ve felt I would really want to LIVE in. So homey and loving. Just right. ☺️

  39. Regan says...

    This is such a heartfelt home tour. Can you tell me where Ariel got those clogs? I dream of a pair like that I could beat up up in my garden.

    • Hi,

      Haha, they are Sanitas I bought forever ago and wear for everyday happenings around the home!

      Thanks for the sweet comments

  40. Rach in Oz says...

    I loved everything about this! Sometimes I find home tour articles leave me feeling a little flat because everything has been so professionally placed ‘just so’, almost as if from a catalogue. I love the authenticity of this house and the way it seems to truly reflect its owners and their stories (and those of their family, through the passed-down furniture).
    As a relatively new mum, I also love Ariel’s approach to their toy collection. Am going to keep my eye out for a tiny piano…

  41. Zoe says...

    I love house tours on Cup of Jo–you pick some really unique and special homes that really stand out and this one is no exception. I love it all!

  42. Lovely home for a lovely family. Visit – Angel Eze’s Blog.

  43. They are quintessential Berkeley and I love it so much! <3 So much character, charm, and love in that house.

  44. PJ says...

    I’m curious about the bookshelves in the master bedroom. Are they made from angle iron or something else? Purchased or custom-made? Thanks!

    • Hi,

      The shelves are custom my husband built them.

      wylie@wylieprice.com

      Happy you like them

  45. Tessa says...

    I love Ariel’s name choices! I have adored Love in the Time of Cholera ever since I read it in high school and especially the name Fermina Daza. I always wanted to incorporate it into my children’s names but since neither my husband or I am from a Spanish-speaking country, I thought people would find it very jarring. This story gave me new hope that we could still use the name and it wouldn’t be inappropriate somehow. Also their house is stunning.

    • I know a half Swedish, half Korean family with a little girl called Fermina. You should go for it! ;-)

  46. Leah says...

    State Bird is my favorite restaurant in SF! I’ve been there 5 or 6 times and love the pegboard tables! Is the couch a Stickley? That arts and crafts style is the best (and very Berkeley)

  47. Sarah says...

    What a lovely home! Ariel, tell your husband I love the woodwork in the Progress. I went there for my birthday and sat at that little upstairs balcony table overlooking it all. Those curves are just dreamy! I have dreams of a little Berkeley bungalow with a garden. Thanks so much for sharing your home.