It was the night of March 6, 2017. We had just landed at SFO and were waiting for our Dominican brother, Eastman, to pick us up. "You ready?," Nu says, as excitement and reality set. Goodbye Brooklyn, Hello Bay Area. 

We had just moved in together, and now we were moving across the country. Nothing can prepare you for the culture shock of coming from Bed Stuy, Brooklyn to Mission Bay, SF. One, a neighborhood where generations of black families live and greet you when you walk by, where the bodega serves a side of platanos with your chopped cheese, and the Rosé flows like water at local bars, the other, a desolate and industrial area with a view of AT&T Park.

It was hard to settle in, and even harder to figure out where we fit in. So we picked up our stuff and drove across the bridge to Oakland. It was like a cartoon movie of the 80s as we made our way, where the sun is shining extra bright, and the clouds seem to move out the way as the birds fly past.  It felt surreal, and exactly what we needed. 

We settled into a beautiful one-bedroom apartment, in a 1920s building with all original fixtures,  in the heart of Lake Merritt. The rent was out of our range, but we couldn't resist. From living in the closets New Yorkers call apartments, this felt like a steal. But now we had to furnish the place. 

Nu and I have very different aesthetics when it comes to decorating the home. He loves dark, masculine pieces with timeless designs; I was the IKEA queen of Brooklyn that had no idea what an Eames was. But we loved vintage furniture. So we decided to hire an interior designer to help blend our styles. Afterall, IKEA furniture is supposed to stay in our 20s along with the bad decisions. So she came through, gave us her proposal, and left. We sent a note back asking if we could collaborate and source the furniture ourselves, and then the correspondence stopped. I think we accidentally offended her (we're sorry!).

That's when it all started. We began our Casa Pasta Pinterest page with inspiring (unattainable) photos of what we wanted our place to look like, spent our Sunday mornings rummaging through the Alameda Antique Fair, local estate sales, and Craigslist and found unique, beautiful pieces that seamlessly came together with our array of plant babies. We found inspiration from both coasts- the Cali laid-back vibe and the put-together classiness of New York- and found what works for us. 

With mandana blvd. we want dwellers to have the same attitude towards creating their perfect space. It's a place to source what will make you happy living in your home, a place for inspiration, a place to pay homage to the past and embrace modern living. 

We found our joy. What's yours?


Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

Cristina Ramos