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"This Is My Chick Cave"
Lauren Murrow | Photo: Kelly Ishikawa | February 25, 2013
Digital media maven Erin Hiemstra of Apartment 34 puts down roots.
“Most houses have a man cave,” says Erin Hiemstra, kicking off a pair of leopard-print Emerson Fry heels. “This is my chick cave.” After she had already orchestrated two apartment moves in less than a year—one across state lines—it was this room that persuaded the packing weary design guru and her husband, Google acquisition integration manager Chris Wick, to unfurl the bubble wrap yet again: a spacious home office for Hiemstra’s growing consultancy, Apartment 34, which counts Kate Spade and Mark and Graham among its clients.
The decor parallels the tasteful, subtly cheeky tone of Hiemstra’s blog, which nets 150,000 monthly visitors. (A Rothko print shares wall space with a framed vintage photo of scantily clad showgirls playing chess.) There are the expected shelter-blogger touches: stacks of design tomes, a pinup board of fashion magazine tearouts, an accessorized dress form—but there are also tomboyish accents, like a Mad Men–evoking bar cart and baseball ephemera among the heirloom china.
The demure, unfussy feel carries through to the living room and kitchen, with leather and wool seating, industrial lighting, and wood-grain accents. The couple pared down clutter with 15 “cathartic” trips to Goodwill—“We embraced the purge,” Hiemstra sighs—to reveal a well-honed mix of personal mementos (from their childhoods; from Seattle, where they started dating; from their wedding in Mexico three years ago) and cleanly designed investment pieces. “I didn’t want our home to feel girly,” says Hiemstra. “Chris isn’t the type to mumble, ‘Whatever you want, honey.’” They struck an aesthetic compromise, and both are finally satisfied: After ridding their artful pad of its final cardboard box, the vagabond pair are staying put.
Originally published in the March 2013 issue of San Francisco.