Reader Design: Kristin's Cali Cool Home

I don't know about you, but I am SO ready for Spring. I know I'm a couple weeks past Groundhog Day, but boy do I wish the outcome had been different. I need to trade in my huge parka for a light jacket, my boots for some sandals, and I long for the day when I don't need to add bronzer to look healthy. All I can say is thank goodness I now see the light when I leave my good ole day job. 

That light and hint of summer are two of the reasons for my envy of Kristin's Venice Beach, CA home. 

Kristin's family home is mid-century, bohemian, bright, and kid-friendly. It's everything that is right with California style! And that style is the result of some pretty great influences.

One of those? Kristin's mom and her partner.  

They travel to craft fairs and galleries and very carefully hand pick art and pottery. They both have an excellent eye and have taught me the importance of collecting special pieces (furniture, too) over time.

Another? The physical surroundings in which she's chosen to raise her family. 

Venice has gorgeous diverse architecture. It is so inspiring! I love the modern beachy bohemian design trending here and it has definitely influenced my style.

It still takes a heckuva internal compass to get the blending of all those influences right. And for Kristin, that compass is her family. Above all, her space feels like it's made for a family. For movie nights, games, making a mess - all without, as Kristin says, "freaking out."

And with a family, everything has to be built to last.

I love picking furniture that is simple, modern and classic made to last for a very long time. The grey couch in our family room, for example, is a couch I’ve had for 15 years! And then, as trends come and go, I can keep up with them with accessories. Accessories can be sourced for so much cheaper! For example, my bohemian basket wall in my dining room cost $30 total because I found the baskets at antique and thrift stores.

Some of those trends that Kristin just nails are her bright white kitchen (Kristin would like to thank her friend Hannah, @repeatworld, for her valuable input), which is the perfect clean and beautiful family gathering place; the indigo and mudcloth pillows, lovingly placed both for their cuddling abilities and for impromptu photo ops; and the graffiti art that pays homage to none other than Venice Beach itself. 

Kristin, your home represents everything we love about style mutts. It's functional, fun, and most importantly, a reflection of you. Thanks for showing us around! Follow Kristin along on Instagram @ksdion

See you next week, mutts! 

Reader Design: Janie's Timeless Traditional

Janie was ready to trade up from the small rental she shared with her boyfriend plus a roommate in Los Angeles, California. First on the list, for Janie and so many of us city-dwellers, was space. Space to spread out, space to be. 


From Janie:

My style is dictated by creating a beautiful space that is our haven from all that life throws at us. This meant our home had to feel clean and fresh while balancing form and function. Our home is not a “McMansion,” but it definitely is a huge step up. So the above philosophy made it easy for me to find my style rather than falling for trends since we really had to take into consideration the space available.

Then, Janie made use of those clean, minimal lines this 1950's traditional has to offer to the best of her ability.
She considered the light during their airy renovation:

As much as I would love to have dark forest green cabinets in the kitchen, it just wouldn’t make sense since our goal is to open up the kitchen and make it bright to make the space feel bigger.

She considered the needs of her family: 

And as much as I love the look of having poufs on our living room floor, it just won’t work for us with our dog. She’s a Pomeranian, meaning lots of shedding!

And then, it was time to focus on style. The design is timeless and traditional just like her home but still packs a punch by incorporating some "on trend" elements - namely, indigo and brass.  

One design trend I absolutely love is the use of brass in homes. I had to make sure not to go overboard with it because originally I wanted to use brass fixtures in the bathroom and bedroom but eventually I let our bedroom take the spotlight. It’s all about taking trends in moderation.

This home is intentionally simple - and makes for a perfect landing place to recuperate and relax in between Janie's avid traveling. Thank you, Janie, for letting us in! 

For more design and travel inspiration, follow Janie along on Instagram @janiejoyfuleigh

See you next week!



Shelly's Surprise Makeover: A Community Collaboration

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

It is such a pleasure today to introduce you guys to Shelly and her husband Geoff, (and their totally normal not weird at all kids, Katie, Brenham and Austin, in youngest to oldest order. I kid. They're awesome, as you can clearly see).

Four-ish months ago Shelly was diagnosed with brain cancer after having a tumor removed. Glioblastoma, to be specific, (in her own words, don't Google it - the stats aren't pretty). This family's new 'normal' is nothing that we could ever imagine; We're not trying to exploit their life or plaster their journey over the great world wide web, (and Shelly is graciously open to us sharing all this). We tell you because it's important for you to know that without the Lord it would be impossible for them to have the immense joy and peace that they have at this time.

Matt and I have the pleasure of attending Christ Community Church with Shelly and her family, and she has been blowing our minds with her outspoken peace and pure delight in the Lord. Her entire perspective has been made new. As Shelly has expressed, cancer sucks, (!!!), but she wouldn't change a thing and. She speaks from experience when she says that something as scary as brain cancer doesn't have to defeat or define a person. Knowing someone going through this otherwise disparaging journey who knows deep, deep contentment in Jesus, is like having a backstage pass, or access, to the remarkable gifts from Him. Because of Shelly and the Truth she's spoken through her testament, I've felt a shifting in my focus that I think the Lord has been working on for a while.

So, despite her world getting turned upside down, Shelly had a unique and awesome request a couple months ago: A living room makeover!!! And better yet, we share a mutual design friend with Shelly who we got to work alongside with for this project - Kate from Olive and Ford Designs, (Instagram, @oliveandford)! So let's recap: That's one makeover, for a friend, with a friend. Yes, yes and yes!!! Ultimate dream.

Shelly's living room actually had really good bones before we got to work - floor to vaulted ceiling windows, distressed leather sofas, a gorgeous new-ish entertainment center, plenty of light, and neutral walls, carpet, etc. Really, not bad! But our dear friend desired a refresh and with all she's got going on can you blame her?!

And After!

And After!

At this point in our reveal we must stop to acknowledge those who stepped up and helped this makeover happen. The first thing we did was reach out to some of our incredibly talented friends in the design community that we knew shared a similar aesthetic to the style we were running with and asked if they'd be interested in being a part of this makeover with donated goods. Upon hearing even a tiny bit about Shelly and the incredibly positive outlook she has, the generous responses were immediate. We'll include sources under photos with donated items - these folks didn't ask to be tagged, but their work is just so incredible and we do hope you'll consider supporting them next time you need a thing!

Denim Pillow with Fringe,  INDIEbungalow

Denim Pillow with Fringe, INDIEbungalow

The gorgeous mint and leather bike was also donated - by Katie; Shelly's teenage daughter! She agreed never to ride it again, ever. Hah! Seriously though, isn't it errr-thang?!

Baskets, Books, and Blue Glass,  Harper and Arrow Market   Abstract Art, (this piece is a smaller version of one this artistis custom painting for this space insimilar colors),  Christie Adelle

Baskets, Books, and Blue Glass, Harper and Arrow Market

Abstract Art, (this piece is a smaller version of one this artistis custom painting for this space insimilar colors), Christie Adelle

Striped Indigo Pillow,  The Woven Home

Striped Indigo Pillow, The Woven Home

Shelly, loving the beach as she does, already had plenty of aqua and teal-y green in her home, (she painted those kitchen chairs and you'll see the color a bit more saturated on the accent wall in the mudroom). The addition of blues and peachy pinks and coral just brought the look home like a sunset.

Beach Print,  The Woven Home

Beach Print, The Woven Home

Blue Pillows,  Sweet Clover Barn

Blue Pillows, Sweet Clover Barn

There you have it! This makeover was such a delight for so many reasons. Joining with other creatives to put this together was a humbling experience, as was getting to collaborate with the amazing Kate - please, please follower her at Olive and Ford, (Instagram, @oliveandford); her work is amazing. She literally does. it. all. And mostly, the opportunity to do this makeover for Shelly was such a gift; she's an amazing woman full of grace, grit and one of THE best senses of humor ever - working on her home was such a natural response of our admiration of her.

If you'd like to stay updated with Shelly you can follow her journey at, Site Name: shellyhoward

Thank you all for stopping by!