Kameron Richie’s Minimal Bay Area Retreat
The photographer's apartment is as considered as his work.
Inside his Berkeley home, it’s clear his appreciation for those moments extends to his own space. The 1915 apartment maintains a lot of its original detailing, and the light is ideal for Kameron, who spends each day in creative pursuits. Kameron’s warm minimalist aesthetic meets the classic details of the space to envelope guests in a low-key embrace.
We talked to Kameron about his philosophy on meaningful objects, how his visual style translates to interiors, and why he loves to keep his space simple.
Hey Kameron! Could you introduce yourself?
Hi yeah of course, I’m Kameron and I’m a photographer / creative producer in the Bay Area. I’ve been in the Bay for over 4 years, but am originally from Texas. I come from a design / printmaking background that probably informs my minimalist tendencies as well as just spending too much time researching and collecting visual media online.
My apartment building was built in 1915, and maintains a lot of its original character. I love an apartment to feel like home rather than feeling like a high tech Jetson’s flat. I prefer it even if my windows don’t necessarily keep out sound or maintain a temperature too well.
Tell us about your home.
My apartment is located in South Berkeley, about a block or two from the divide between Oakland and Berkeley. In all honesty, it still feels like Oakland to me.
My neighborhood is a Black neighborhood (~50%), which is comforting. It’s a residential area, where in my block is mostly homes rather than apartment buildings or high rises. There are a lot of families around and a great grocery store. It’s pretty laid back.
What drew you to your space? Did you feel that immediately or did it come with time?
My current apartment building was something I was watching before I was even ready to move out of my last apartment. I came and saw the unit that was above mine and was stunned. Once I was ready to move out of my last place, this unit was just published as a new listing and I moved as fast as I could to get my name in.
The lighting in here is magical and close to public transit which are my staples, but how open of a space it is for the price, the french doors and bedroom nooks I couldn’t pass up.
How would you describe your interior style? Has it evolved over the years?
I wouldn’t describe it, it’s just an extension of myself. I know I’ve mentioned my minimalist tendencies, but having less things is as much of a choice as it is a limitation. I live within my means and only acquire new objects when it’s appropriate and I feel I’ll keep them for a long time.
A lot of my favorite possessions are gifts. Objects with sentimental value always mean more than anything purchased. It’s evolved as I’ve matured as a person, as a creative, and through relationships. My high school bedroom and college apartment version of myself would think I’m way too cool for him.
Does your style at home reflect how style-conscious your work is in the outside world? Or do you try to separate the two?
Maybe, I don’t try to separate my inspiration from my work or from my space. I don’t think I always hit the mark either. I think through digesting a lot of visual information as a collective creative community it comes out in other areas as well. Each of us has a style that’s both learned and inherent, creativity is a fluid thing.
When it comes to design, how did you approach your space?
I didn’t think there was any need to reinvent the wheel. This is where I spend most of my time, especially now that we should be. I just want to be comfortable and have what I need. Having things I enjoy that align with my taste alongside that is a privilege.
Do you tend to change and experiment with your furniture & decor or do you stop once you consider a space “done”?
I doubt that I’ll change much, but rather slowly add things over time. I don’t accumulate things very quickly and don’t like to keep things I don’t need. I trust myself enough to know if I choose to add something to my space it's here for the long haul. A little patina never hurt anyone.
Does your home reflect any of your favorite pursuits?
Probably, I love interior design, art and fashion publications, minimalism, and natural materials. A lot of my education and career is based on aesthetic conditioning, I like what I like based on what I’ve studied and obsessed over for over a decade.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re spending time at home?
Listening to music at home is my favorite, especially while cooking or cleaning. I make playlists on Spotify pretty often to keep it fresh.
What’s the story of some of your favorite pieces in your space?
I have a vintage Lane coffee table I haggled for at the Alameda Flea Market as well as the terracotta Mali cloth in front of my bed. I doubt Alameda Flea is a thing during quarantine, but while it was active there were always good finds and good conversation.
What are some of your favorite sources of inspiration for your space? Does any of that inspiration carry over from other parts of your life?
I still keep a visual moodboard and collect a lot of publications that still fuel what I’m interested in. I also like objects that are modular. The building of the home is just as important as living in it.
What makes you feel most at home when you walk in the door?
Golden hour light in my home is a must.
What’s a favorite memory you have in your home?
Any time friends have been over. This place is meant to be shared.
Images by Kameron Richie.