Melissa & Jake's Cozy Cole Valley Rental

Melissa & Jake's Cozy Cole Valley Rental

Nora Taylor
Apr 4, 2016
(Image credit: Photos by Jake Durrett )

Name: Melissa (“Mel”) Nichols, Jake Durrett and Apple the adorable dachshund
Location: Cole Valley/Upper Haight — San Francisco, California
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; rented

Jake and Melissa have lived in four apartments together over the last seven years. But they love this apartment so much—located in a neighborhood close to Haight street, Golden Gate Park and tons of great food—they almost can't see themselves living anywhere else!

(Image credit: Photos by Jake Durrett )

Jake and Melissa met in college and first moved to the Sacramento region four years ago when Melissa was accepted into Teach For America (she also runs a cute Etsy store for future fashionistas). Two years later, they moved to San Francisco when Jake got a position at a creative agency downtown. (The couple also got married in a tiny park in Russian Hill around the same time!) Apple, the adorable dachshund, was adopted from the SPCA.

(Image credit: Photos by Jake Durrett )

Melissa and Jake's styles complement each other well. They both love "modern, clean lines. Not much clutter. Bright, airy rooms. Small, meaningful details." And, a unique aspect to their apartment building also adds to the enjoyment of this rental:

"We are very lucky; Jake is one of eight children and two of his brothers were already living in San Francisco. We actually moved into the same apartment building as one of his brothers, Daniel. We even welcomed another sibling to SF and our building in January! We're all friends and it's kind of amazing. We meet at our favorite bar, Toronado, for beers and share the same tattoo artist."

(Image credit: Photos by Jake Durrett )

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Modern, warm, clean lines, somewhat sophisticated, and personal but sans a lot of clutter.

Inspiration: San Francisco, mixing old and new, bright and airy spaces.

Favorite Element: The Victorian architecture; our apartment and the greater building in which we live is classic San Francisco. We love the hardwood floors, the molding, the funny little fireplace…

Biggest Challenge: Like most San Franciscans, we don’t have a ton of space. Sometimes we find a piece of furniture that we love, but we have to let it go because we just don’t have enough room. We make due by changing things up a lot.

What Friends Say: “Your apartment is so nice! Can I live with you?” They usually comment on the involuntary workout required to get up to our apartment, since we live on the top floor; we personally like to refer to it as the penthouse! Also, Jake is one of eight children and two of his siblings live in our same building. People always find that unique and hilarious.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our bathroom floor. It’s cheap, checkered linoleum flooring and it always looks dirty, regardless of how much I try to clean it. I just bought vinyl stick-on tiles from Etsy and when I find the right weekend, I’m going to try them out. If anyone has any good suggestions for renters, I’m all ears!

Proudest DIY: The huge grey desk in our living room was a Craigslist purchase from around four years ago. We had a tiny two-door car at the time, but we somehow managed to fit the entire desk into it. We got it home, sanded it down, and repainted it. I work from home so I sit at it every day. The two of us carried it up the four flights of stairs to our apartment when we moved from Sacramento to San Francisco. Woof. We really love it.

Biggest Indulgence: Our West Elm dining set. I really wanted something substantial that would fit a good number of friends. And it’s just so pretty!

Best Advice: Always make the bed.

Dream Sources: Stuff SF, Ace Hotel - Palm Springs digs


(Image credit: Photos by Jake Durrett )


  • Behr: Gentle Rain (Kitchen)
  • Behr: White Clay (Bedroom)
  • Behr: Contemplation (Bathroom)
  • Behr: Silver Drop (Living room)
  • Behr: Painted Turtle (Bedroom and living room accent
(Image credit: Photos by Jake Durrett )


  • Desk: Craigslist find
  • Chairs and typewriter: Stuff SF
  • Couch: Ikea
  • Kilim rug pillows: Etsy
  • San Francisco poster by Kevin Dart
(Image credit: Photos by Jake Durrett )


  • Dining table: West Elm
  • Chairs: Threshold
(Image credit: Photos by Jake Durrett )
  • Ceramic berry basket: Anthropologie
  • Cookbooks: Booksmith SF (most of them, some wedding gifts)
  • “Eat Your Veggies” decor plate: Etsy
  • California Lager plaque from Anchor Steam Brewery (our drink of choice)
(Image credit: Photos by Jake Durrett )


  • Bed frame: IKEA
  • Dream Catcher: Etsy
  • Italian Money Pot: Uncommongoods
  • “Spring Splash” watercolor by Shadra Strickland

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Thanks, Mel and Jake!

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