A two-story California house rooted in nature

 

Hi there! This is June, a working mom based in the sun-drenched hills of California. I moved to the States in 2005, met my husband after two years, and raised an 11-year-old son together since. We settled into a serene home located in a suburb, about an hour drive from downtown LA. Now come with me and find out how we decorated our home for peace and quiet.

 

This is the neighborhood we live in. Standing at the corner of an access road to a canyon, our home is surrounded by the natural landscape, bringing the beauty of the changing seasons inside. It was around mid April when we first met this house, and I recall vividly the hillsides filled with colorful flowers and abundant foliage. We instantly fell in love with the house and its surroundings and even to this day, we’re more and more in love with this place.

Floor Plan

 

Our house is roughly 1700 square feet – a two-story house built in 1989. Walking in through the garage, the kitchen is in sight, connected to the dining room, living room, and main entry; three bedrooms upstairs.

Living Room

 

Stepping inside, the two large windows overlooking the backyard freshens up the house, the bright ambience coming from the sunlight gives a fresh Spring look every day. On clear days, the surroundings liven up the house; the rain drops and lush leafage together add coziness on rainy days. The vaulted ceiling provides height to the house, making the room grand and creating spaciousness. Every day, I’m more pleased than I thought I’d be, living in this wonderful place.

 

Most of the houses around this area have a long history – ranging from 20-30 years old to even a century. Though built in 1989, this house had already completed the flooring, interior painting, and kitchen renovation when we bought it. The whole surface is covered with floor tiles that give the look of wood, a coat of off-white paint on the walls offers a warm and clean feeling. The white-colored kitchen cabinets and counter make the overall vibe of the space feel fresh, elegant rather than cluttered.

 

As you can see, the main floor from the living room to kitchen is opened up, making the home feel larger and airier, also it’s safer that while cooking in the kitchen I’m still able to watch my kid play in the living space. Open floor plan was our top priority in choosing a new home. Because with the open-concept kitchen, I get to feel that I spend more time with my family while working and cleaning. Unlike the closed-off kitchen separated from the living space in our previous homes, I find this home more interacting with the rest of the family.

 

I instantly fell in love with that large-scale piece almost covering up the wall and had to bring it into our home (my husband thinks it’s a no). The minimalist design never gets old and brings calm by simply watching it.

 

The color scheme used throughout our home is based on a neutral palette of off-white, beige, and white. Complemented by the green views coming from the backyard, it makes for a comfortable, serene and relaxing retreat right in our home. I also added fixtures of natural elements like rattan to create a coherent soothing ambience.

And for home accessories, rather than shopping from any particular brand, I prefer searching for hidden gems from select shops nearby or finding unique items at low prices in malls like HomeGoods. Target also sometimes has cute and trendy items at great prices.

 

This monstera adds life and beauty to our simple and monotonous home.

 

Small cabinet under the stairs. I tend to dress up here with seasonal ornaments around special occasions.

 

Through the holiday season, a Christmas wreath and decorations create a festive feeling.

 

Getting ready for Easter, a few stems of lavender and bunny objects make a fresh statement for spring.

 

Kitchen

 

White kitchen cabinets bring in a nice amount of warmth to keep the space feeling comfortable and warm. I usually like to keep the countertop clean and tidy, only leaving the essentials on display. Without a pantry, you can’t have both endless counter space and sufficient storage, so I try to make the most of the shelves inside the cabinets and drawers.

 

I use versatile shapes and sizes of baskets to organize and store my stuff neatly.

 

Getting organized with baskets

 

Finding the right stools was one of my toughest challenges as there’s not much room between the dining table and countertop. The wood stools might look flat-out dull with the wood table by the side, and stools with backs just didn’t work in the small space. The metal balances out all that wood and allows for a contrast of the industrial and modern touches against the more traditional cabinetry.

 

This naturally-finished table I got from Pottery Barn took quite a long time to finally find a spot in our home. I prefer a round-shaped table than a square one, because the setting feels cozier and more intimate. A rustic touch of warm wood flows well with the rest of our home, perfect for everyday use!

 

To maintain the earthy texture of a log table, I apply wood wax once or twice in a year to seal and polish the surface.

 

Backyard

Located on the way into a canyon, our home is wrapped around by the bushes and woods. While we can embrace and appreciate nature from every corner of this house, it requires a lot of our time and work to tend the surroundings.

 

Staircase

Right by the entryway, this open staircase climbs to the very top, providing a bright and airy look. It’s also less exhausting running up and down carrying laundry loads with not that many steps 🙂

 

Remodeling the bathroom

Unlike other rooms, this bathroom on the second floor was preserving its old look. First I thought of hiring professionals, then I decided to go for it ourselves as it had decent bones including the cabinets.

We painted all of the walls with Dunn Edward’s Swiss Coffee for two times and cabinets with pale dove gray for four times including the finish coat.

 

Here’s a shot after the painting is done. I also added round-shaped cabinet knobs to give a cohesive and comfy look. Spending two full days and roughly $100 completely transformed the room. The color gray makes it more calm and stable while giving a youthful update.

After

 

Bedroom

Last but not least, the master bedroom. This space is literally just used as a place for bed as we spend most of the day downstairs. So I focused on creating a soothing and relaxing atmosphere designing this room.

By the way, I’ve come to realize that our home is filled with IKEA products, including the furnishings in this room. You know, they’re readily accessible and affordable, plus, they definitely come in handy.

 

My go-to material for furniture pieces is rattan, especially wicker baskets with a variety of shapes, styles and colors to choose from. They bring a breezy and laid-back vibe to sharp modern edges around the home.

 

And this rattan armchair is by far the most favorite piece in this room for being practical and portable at the same time. Its natural feel, rustic yet modern style meshes well with the room while adding characteristic. I occasionally move it here and there, or even downstairs during the summer to have a little more fun with the décor.

 

Our house is not built around professional touches nor luxurious items, but filled with handpicked and thoughtful pieces connecting one another. Thank you all for joining me on this tour, wish you all the best and luck!

 

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