A Professional Organizer's Fun & Functional Silver Lake Apartment

A Professional Organizer's Fun & Functional Silver Lake Apartment

Jessica Isaac
Jul 22, 2017
(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Name: Fay Wolf
Location: Silver Lake — Los Angeles, California
Size: 660 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years; Rented

Apartment Therapy's resident organizational expert Fay Wolf is living proof that being highly organized doesn't have to mean being sterile and rigid. Her modest one-bedroom apartment is filled with colorful mementos and multiple instruments for her busy life as a musician, organizational consultant, and, most recently, author—yet it doesn't feel overly cluttered (or empty). By keeping her valuables organized, easily accessible, and attractively displayed, Fay has achieved the perfect balance of an organized, functional home that also feels personal and inspiring.

Fay's got a lot of irons in the fire, which is why having a multi-functional home is important for productivity. Her office, dining room, living room, record playing station, and entryway are all contained in one small great room, while her bedroom doubles as a music/recording space. Each separate area has a clear division yet still allows an open flow from one section to the next. Small vignettes found throughout the home add visual interest and encourage movement between spaces.

In Fay's house, form follows function, and you can't have function without fun (that's a lot of F's). Several pops of color and lighthearted, intimate pieces of art warm the space and keep it comfortable.

Editor's note: Check out Fay's post on Apartment Therapy: 10 Habits of a Highly Organized Person to gain some insight into what you can do to achieve an optimal level of productivity for your lifestyle. Her book, New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else), debuted January 12, 2016.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Warm-cozy, bold colors, semi-bohemian.

Inspiration: I've always enjoyed the feeling of warm and small: rustic cabins, tiny houses, colorful old homes. I'm also continuously inspired by my fellow organizers to keep paring down my belongings…so that each thing I own and display has positive meaning. (Even the organizer needs reminding sometimes.)

Favorite Element: Couch! Hands down. It's the undeniable centerpiece of the space and each surrounding element was chosen in relation to it.

Biggest Challenge: It took me about five tries and over a year to find the best spot for the piano. I like to feel enclosed when I'm writing songs (perhaps because I first started writing them in the closet of my old place). My first choice wasn't the bedroom, but the piano wasn't working out in the main space—I felt too "exposed." Finally, after painting a dark color in my bedroom, the room felt more like a hideaway. So then I tried the piano in the corner facing the window, and everything fell into (creative) place.

What Friends Say: "Ooh, it's so cozy." I hear that a lot when people walk in. "Feels like a home." Friends can tell I've made choices with the space. They're also surprised that it's not neat and tidy all the time, considering my occupation. But when you work from home, it's impossible to keep everything in its place all the time. (The trick is: everything does have a place to return back to.)

Biggest Embarrassment: I'd like to do more work in the bathroom—I have my eye on one of Justina Blakeney's yellow wallpaper patterns. And I'd like to figure out how to infuse more color into the dining/office area…that corner is functional, but it feels unfinished design-wise.

Proudest DIY: Proud that I allowed myself to ask for—and pay for—outside help to install my kitchen pegboards (hung by my friend Dustin at Hands-On CRS). Then afterwards, I painted the stripes and spray painted the pegboard baskets to match the kitchen colors. That felt real nice.

Biggest Indulgence: I don't usually spend too much on decor on a regular basis, so allowing myself to spend even 60 bucks recently on the IKEA Ranarp lamp felt like a real treat. I'd wanted a reading lamp for so many years—not sure what took me so long. (Probably some good ol' inner clutter about money and not being a good enough reader or something.)

Best Advice: See what's wrong to know what's right (for you). Place furniture in weird places. Hang up art even if you're unsure. The worst-case scenario is you move things to a different place and need to spackle a few holes. Don't be so precious. Embrace imperfection. Know that there's no "right"—only the fun, ongoing experimentation of building a home.

Dream Sources: My dream source is my dear friend Angie Rubino. (@angierubino on Instagram) She has given me so many special pieces. Sometimes they just show up on my doorstep—art, collectibles, cards—items she just knows fit my style and my heart.



  • Main room: Benjamin Moore Marilyn's Dress
  • Accent wall: Martha Stewart Wrought Iron
  • Kitchen: Martha Stewart Wrought Iron
  • Bedroom: BEHR Regatta Bay


  • Couch: vintage via Casa Victoria in Silver Lake
  • Vintage pillowcases: Stephie D on Etsy
  • Geodesic pillow: Terry Fan via Society6
  • Other pillows: IKEA
  • Key table: IKEA plant stand, spray painted
  • Green rug: World Market
  • Shelves: Umbra Conceal Floating Bookshelves
  • Lamp: IKEA Ranarp
  • Curtains: vintage twin sheets via Stephie D on Etsy
  • Corner chair: found on street
  • Small stool: HomeGoods
  • TV stand: found on street



  • Pillow: Full Moon and Pyramid by Budi Satria Kwan via Society6
  • Dressers: found on street
  • Reclaimed wood shelf: Ben Gould


  • Shower curtain: IKEA
  • It's Happening Here: Neil Wax
  • Her Hair - Les Fleurs Edition: Bianca Green

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Thanks, Fay!

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