Calligraphy + Coffee 101

There is nothing quite like receiving a beautifully handwritten note in the mail, wouldn’t you agree? The rarity of a greeting sent the old fashioned way is especially endearing. Old-fashioned cards also make the sender feel as good as the recipient- there’s something so satisfying about actually dropping a note in a mailbox! So why don’t we send out more thank you’s, thinking of you notes or love letters anymore?? In a world of electronic everything, from emojis to emails, it’s almost as if we’ve forgotten how to express ourselves on pen and paper.

Now, we’re the first to admit we rarely send out cards in the mail ourselves. So, in an attempt to keep the handwritten note from becoming a dying art form, we decided it was time to brush up on expressing ourselves on paper- no laptop or keyboard required!


To help us out, we enlisted on local calligrapher, Kim from Bright Room Studio, to school us on fun writing treatments to jazz up our snail mail. We all gathered round the table on a Saturday morning (with much needed coffee in hand!) to learn some tricks of the trade – and of course we had to share it all with you!

calligraphy-and-coffee-apartment-34-2calligraphy-and-coffee-3-apartment-34 our favorite card stock, envelopes & paper goods from Tiny Prints

When it comes to a handwritten note, where to start is easy: cute stationary is a must {we love this set and this set!}! Then you just have to decide to whom you care to send a special note. We have a little {pretty!notebook in the office to keep track of ideas. It doesn’t have to be a cousin who is celebrating an upcoming birthday or a friend who is expecting. In fact, we argue that it shouldn’t be. We love the idea of sending “just because” notes; they’re such an unexpected gesture that will no doubt turn any friend’s mid-week frown upside down!


But if you’re still feeling stumped on how to write something that’s actually longer than 140 characters, we’ve got your back!

Get Past Notecard-Writer’s Block With These “Just Because” Ideas:

> Send a loved one your favorite memory of them
> Tell a person why they inspire you
> Start a card with “thanks for” & express what you truly appreciate about the recipient
> Share something that will make them laugh- something you’d normally text to them
> Write out a favorite quote from the book you’re reading and send it off for someone else to enjoy


Once you’ve got your note ready to go, here’s where you can take some additional creative license: addressing the envelopes! There are a couple of different writing styles Kim showed us.

> Calligraphy is a classic way to put a sophisticated spin on your mail. It takes practice to perfect, but it’s so much fun. We urge you to pick up a nib and try it!

> Watercolor is so on trend right now. You can either write with a thin, rounded tip paintbrush or paint a watercolor background and print with a pen over it. We’re obsessed with this playful and free flowing style. Let the paint do its own thing- embrace its imperfections and runs.

> Combine fonts and sizes, spacing between characters and colors to instantly take your handwriting from drab to fab.

The key here is to simply let your creativity flow!


And for us creativity definitely starts after coffee! Since it was early and we needed to stay focused on our craft, we set up an ultimate coffee bar with three different roasts from our favorite Bay Area-based coffee roaster, Wrecking Ball {you may remember them from here!}. We felt a little like coffee aficionados while we sipped the different blends. Since you usually get whatever is being served at your local cafe that day, we certainly indulged by taste-testing a cup or two {or three}!


Don’t you just love that print Kim made for our coffee and calligraphy date? You can get your own {in black or white, or both!} here!


So one of these weekends, why not motivate a handful of your gal pals for a different kind of “girls day.” Set up a fun coffee bar; indulge in your local coffee shop’s beans and grind them yourself to really bring things back to basics. Dust off your cutest mugs that quickly get forgotten amidst the convenient thrill of to-go cups. Set out all your pretty paper and cards {don’t forget the address labels either!} with a couple of different writing tools, and you’re set to go for a really simple and super fun weekend activity. We’re here to attest that calligraphy and coffee is the most inspiring way to start off a Saturday!


original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick // art direction + styling by Bianca Sotelo 

This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints, where every choice is a stylish choice. Thoughts and opinions are 100% our own. Thanks for supporting our partnerships!

We’ve Got A Crush On…

Even as all things fall try to break onto the scene, we’re still finding summer-inspired ideas seriously inspiring. Maybe it’s because Karl the Fog has been working overtime in San Francisco lately. Regardless, right now we’ve got a serious crush on…

Leather baskets over terra cotta pots…


The most beautifully designed nail salon, ever…


A smokey eye with beachy hair a la Heidi Merrick’s summer collection..


An artful take on black and white photography…


Beautifully styled entryways and THAT door…


High fashion beach-wear…


and triangular floor mirrors with cute palm tree reflections.


We’re curious. What are you obsessing over as of late?? Tell us in the comments!


1 via Flodeau // 2 via Bonnie Tsang // 3 via Heidi Merrick // 4 via A Beautiful Mess // 5 via Smitten Studio // 6 via Volkskrant Magazine // 7 via Miss Moss 

How to Decorate a Beach-Inspired Home

Answer: without a single seashell! When interior designer Orlando Soria was tasked with decorating a sea-side home, complete with a beautiful view of the ocean, he didn’t find it hard to apply that inspiration to his design. But how exactly do you achieve beach-chic without literally bringing the beach inside? Buckets full of sand and found seashells on your shelves is only cool when you have braces in elementary school. Orlando figured out how. We’re taking notes:


We’ve long been fans of Orlando Soria ’round here. You may remember him from Secrets of a Stylist on HGTV with Emily Henderson?! From his incredibly good looks {he’s hot as summer, baby!} and his light hearted personality, to his hilarious hashtags on Instagram {we die over #victim} and super entertaining posts on his blog, Hommemaker, he always has us laughing out loud.

But our major crush goes beyond his handsome looks and self deprecating personality, Or-lahn-do is also super talented. These days he’s creative director of Homepolish, and we got the chance to pick his interior design focused brain after drooling over his latest project: a clean and polished beach home. All we can say is our own dream vacation home – or any home for that matter – would look a heck of a lot like this!


Incorporating beach-inspired elements into the home in a non-traditional way is very important. As Orlando explains, “I tried to steer clear of any resources that were obviously beachy or nautical themed. [Instead] I tried to bring in as many colors from the outdoors as possible. The beautiful golden jute rugs to reference the color of the sand, concrete side tables to reflect the polished sea rocks on the shore, and ivory and beige keep everything feeling calm and relaxing.” With the view being so impressive, Orlando didn’t want the decor to be too ornate or distracting.


Orlando worked with a lot of small vendors and makers for this project. We love how he always has a sophisticated mixture of high and low. Most of the lighting came from One Forty Three {we’re big fans- see our lamp here!}. The chandelier in the living room is from Etsy- an affordable place to keep in mind when decorating. Normally a piece that amazing would have been CRAZY expensive! It’s a testament to the fact that the most expensive pieces aren’t necessarily the show stoppers.

“The client for this project loves inventive, distinctive pieces so I knew I wanted to include some,” said Orlando. Additional innovative home furnishings included the geometric concrete bedside tables. Orlando counter balanced those pieces with more subdued ones. Orlando told us, “I had to so it didn’t turn into PeeWee’s playhouse,” but with his sophisticated taste we aren’t surprised that he was able to find a perfect balance. The sisal rugs, minimalist lounge chairs and the basic {but elegant!} marble coffee table all are simple and streamlined to allow the statement pieces to really shine!


It’s easy to let our obsession of this crisp and clean style to get the best of us. But before we run to the store to redecorate our homes for warmer weather, we asked Orlando to give us some advice on decorating season to season. “I do think it’s a great idea to freshen up your home every season. You don’t have to go crazy, it can be swapping out accessories or changing art. But making a few changes here and there can really help maintain your appreciation for your space,” Orlando advised. “In summer, I love bringing in a lot of plants to enjoy the extra hours of sun that pour through the window. In cooler months, I like to add more wooden items to bring in more warmth {trays, candlesticks, etc}.”

We all agree that the best way to keep things fresh without spending too much is to invest in seasonal things you love and can store away and reuse the next year. If you want to give your home a bit of summer update, Orlando suggested looking at the work of his favorite designer, Robert Stilin. “He does beautiful, understated spaces that are somehow beachy and ridiculously sophisticated at the same time.”

Alright, at the end of this you either want to run to the nearest beach, turn your home upside down or drink up a tall glass of Orlando! Which ever option you pick, we’re just glad we could help. — Victor

photography by Tessa Neustadt