sneak peek: rachel thurston


newlyweds rachel thurston and grant porter have set up house in this 520 sq. foot bungalow nestled in los angeles county nestled between sony studios and downtown culver city. rachel is a photographer who takes some seriously gorgeous photographs – lovely wedding and portraits and absolutely amazing birth images! even though it’s not their dream house, the couple loves the location – they are within walking distance of some great restaurants and two movie theaters, and have a backyard, front yard and driveway – huge pluses for L.A. and all reasons to make this tiny rental home work. {thanks rachel and grant!} -amy

[We’ve been told that the little blue house we are renting near downtown Culver City, is one of the oldest houses in the area. At a whopping 520 sq ft, it’s crammed full and still standing – but barely. Although we love the blue bungalow, it’s not anywhere near our dream living situation. With our tastes leaning more in the direction of mid-century modern design and vintage/sentimental pieces – our current living situation has a slight “farmhouse” feel due to chicken wire enclosed shelves and one closet the size of a shoe box. So for now, we are a little country in the big city.]


[photo above: For our wedding we used old glass bottles as table decoration and after the fact, thought they would be a perfect addition to our yellow sun porch. We bought most of the bottles at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. I couldn’t for the life of me tell you where the stand is that sold these, but if you every want to go with me I could probably use the force to get us there.]


[photo above: My favorite piece of furniture in our living room is my orange Knoll Pollock Chair. I bought it years ago at the Green Ant in Salt Lake City. I think I paid 50 bucks for it. The lamp, stool and green medicine cabinet end table were all bought while I was living in Salt Lake City at Elemente, which is an amazing vintage consignment store. I have this thing for globes and someday want to own a lot more.]

CLICK HERE for more of Rachel’s home (and all the images on one page!)


[photo above: I think I got the idea to hang some wire on my walls from an old Sunset magazine. We randomly change what we hang based on mood. Since we are on a healthy food kick, some delicious eye candy adorns the wire. Some are my images and some inspiration from favorite foodie magazines. We just signed up for a CSA farming program, where we pick up a box of organic fruits and veggies every other week from a local farm. [editor’s note: for more about CSAs, read Small Measures with Ashley English] I also just finished reading “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer. It’s a must read for anyone who eats food – so I guess that’s everyone. The table and chairs are from Ikea.]


[photo above: Awww…the chicken wire enclosed shelves – they are growing on me more and more. The yellow Copco porcelain-enameled, cast iron pans were given to us by an uncle.]


[photo above: I store some of my old camera on their own little boxes. The upper right one is a old Nikon rangefinder that my grandpa bought in Japan in the 1950s. The middle top is a Polaroid 330 land camera with a beautiful glass lens that my sister snagged for me at a garage sale for a couple of dollars. I’ve found that you can shoot anything or anyone you want if you are shooting with a bellows polaroid camera. It’s like a golden ticket – they are too busy checking out the gear to tell you “no”. Three of the cameras I bought at a fun Antiques store in Seattle WA, Seattle’s Antique Market.


[photo above: Our bed fits into the only spot it can. We decided to keep it simple and comfy with white linens, pillows and a fluffy down comforter.]


[photo above: Our bathroom isn’t much to speak of – although it does boast the best light in the house (and I have been know to shoot portraits of clients in the tub, FULLY CLOTHED).  Above the toilet hang vintage music sheets I bought at a store in Anchorage, AK.]


[photo above: Office table and printer cart were purchased at Elemente. I recently bought a Zody Hayworth chair and it has literally changed my life. Not only is it super comfortable but it is ergonomically and environmentally friendly.]

  1. love it!! everything looks so cozy!

  2. Love the display of her collection of old cameras. Is it me, or is that the longest sidewalk ever?! What a cute bungalow.

  3. jodi says:

    wonderful space!

  4. patty says:

    I like that long walk to the house – very cute – although if I had a heavy armload of something I’m sure I would not be as thrilled ….

  5. Brit says:

    I LOVE old bottles…so I am loving the pictures on this post :)

  6. Ashley says:

    Love this bright and sunny home! The chicken-wire cabinets, vintage bottle collection and blue house color – just charming :)

  7. I love what they have done with the cameras.

  8. bridget212323 says:

    oh how charming and in culver city!

  9. Alix says:

    Love this cottage, especially the old bottles and the white-on-white bedroom.

  10. Thank you! Thank you! Design Sponge I love you and am honored to share our home with you. ps. it is the longest sidewalk in the world.

  11. Wendy says:

    Happy to see the Green Ant talked about in this post. They have wonderful pieces! Cute bungalow!

  12. liz stanley says:

    LOVE Elemente in Salt lake and beautiful cozy home, Rachel! The old cameras and food photos displayed are beautiful

  13. kayla poole says:

    love everything single thing about this charming home. but most especially, that glass bottle collection. oh my!

  14. Nancy winter says:

    What a darling place you two created and the best part is the pictures. You will love to see them in the next 50 years to say it was your first house!

  15. Emily says:

    That just looks so gorgeous and adorable. Looks like my kind of spot.

  16. Jana says:

    It’s really nice and minimalistic!

  17. Mallory says:

    I’m endlessly envious of the old bottle collection! I have three… sadness.

  18. Tanya says:

    I’m in love! What a great space, all the details, colors, jars, boots…oh!

  19. Heather says:

    It is adorable! I love the camera boxes!

  20. Aubrey says:

    Rachel! How fabulous is your little blue house. Always fun to see someone you know and love featured on Design*Sponge. Congrats!

  21. Cayla says:

    This little blue home is beautiful! Love the old bottle collection!

  22. Mandy says:

    Rachel you and your home are anything but, short on character. Rachel is so talented! Thank you for the view inside “The Little blue house”

  23. Esz says:

    Gorgeous house! I just love it. :-D

  24. chassie says:

    very well done! I especially love the honeycomb cabinets! So fresh and unique!

  25. melina bee says:

    gotta admit that glass bottle collection is making me green with envy. My collection of one seriously pales in comparison

  26. Katy Kristin says:

    You’ve made a tiny house not feel tiny at all! Love the little round midcentury stool with magazine storage!

  27. Tod says:

    the bottles and the cameras are my favorite! so fabulous! i love the blue house.
    xoxo
    http://bibliochicshop.blogspot.com/

  28. Bubbly says:

    Your home is absolutely wonderful. It has a je ne sais quoi that you should feel very proud of! It looks so cozy and welcoming! You just made mid-century jealous of your home I’m sure!

    PS: love the old bottle collection!

  29. Brittany says:

    Cute and quaint and impeccable decorated. Well done!

  30. Thanks for all the bungalow love! Everyone come for a visit & we can hunt for more glass bottles. Lots of love for Design Sponge. xo.

  31. Zelma says:

    Lovely house!!!

  32. karisoo says:

    Very nice, what you’ve done in a small space. Is that a hot water heater hiding by the stove? We uncovered ours since we like it’s shape and functionality. An added bonus is they are metal and magnets stick nicely(it may be code that it’s covered).

  33. That collection of bottles drives me crazy! I think I’m in love with the above space.

  34. Cassandra says:

    I love how you displayed your cameras, and the bottle collection looks fantastic! I could move right in and feel at home. I might have to get some of those wall cubes for my cameras, too.

  35. Deanne Wilde says:

    Loved the Blue bungalow- Rachael
    Thurston must be an artist.

  36. sarah b. says:

    cute little bungalow!

  37. Christine says:

    I think the shot of the bed is one of the most personal photos I’ve seen in a sneak peek; thanks for the unique take. I really enjoyed this one.

  38. Daphne says:

    Thanks for the idea of using boots as a gift wrap holder. I have a pair of treasured riding boots that I outgrew (after the birth of my child my feet went from an 8.5 to 9) which I love too much to give away. Now they are out of the closet and serving a new purpose, continuing to give me pleasure… anew. Tx D*S. Daphne

  39. Trude says:

    What an amazing job they’ve done with just 500 SF! Love it all.

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