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See inside the gorgeous space a four-person VC firm uses to both live and work in San Francisco

Main room

Dustin Walker for Laurel & Wolf

The main room of their new apartment.

The jet-setting investors of Arena Ventures have mastered the art of business travel. Though Los Angeles is home for this four-person team, weekly trips to San Francisco mean a lot of time spent away.

Expensive hotels and room service quickly lost their luster and, with sky-high rents in San Francisco, a lease on a four-bedroom apartment wasn’t any more appealing.

So Arena Ventures found a one-bedroom apartment and enlisted the help of one of their own investments, Laurel & Wolf, a Los Angeles-based interior design startup that pairs clients with designers to refresh specific rooms for $149 each. For $249 a room, you can pick from three different designers whose concepts you can preview before selecting.

Laurel & Wolf designer Erica Johnston helped the team transform their one-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom space where the team could both live and work when they’re in town. Let’s take a look inside.

The main priority was to create a space that would house one or all of the founders at the same time. “And as a seed fund, we also needed an affordable solution to hotel rooms that could be used for sleeping, hosting founders, and meeting with our companies,” founder and managing partner Paige Craig said to Laurel & Wolf.

Laurel & Wolf designer Erica Johnson split up this tiny, open-concept floor plan into three sections. It was an especially big challenge given the apartment has only 600 square feet of space.

The central living room creates a functional place for both meetings and relaxation.



Based in Soma — an area of San Francisco that’s popular with tech startups — the team wanted to match the space to the surrounding modern architecture. Johnston used muted tones to create this feeling.

“I love industrial antiques and contemporary furniture, but we didn’t have the time or skill to give the space the style and functionality on our own,” Craig said.

The bed looks out onto the San Francisco cityscape.

The wooden headboard divides the space efficiently.

Johnston also used the headboard as a place to hang art and essentially create an alcove.

The startup world is all about functionality, and the team wanted an apartment that would match that concept.

Johnston used a wood-finished, slatted screen room divider to carve out a second bedroom in between the living area and the kitchen. This creates an extra sleeping space that another team member could potentially use.

Johnston used a blue color palette infused with organic browns and metallic finishes to complement the space’s neutral, modern mood.

“Not only did Erica manage to create a functional living area, kitchen, work spot and bedroom, but she was also very responsive and thoughtful about incorporating the tastes and styles of Arena into the space,” Craig said.

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