Raya Carlisle is a wedding photographer and occasional lifestyle blogger raised in Santa Cruz and now living in Ventura, California, with her husband, Forest, their kids, Baker (age 4 1/2) and Genevieve (1 1/2), and dog, Maisy. About seven years ago, the family bought this 1951 cottage that is approximately 1300 square feet including the garage. The open floor plan and nice south-facing light, as well as the antique O’Keefe and Merritt stove and pool, made up for the modest size. Raya and her husband have been honing in on their house’s style: a mix of mid-century, flea market and quirky with lots of color. Thanks so much for this peek, Raya (and for the pictures, too)! — Anne
Image above: This is my happy corner. It’s a good representation of all the styles we mix in our home, and I love all the color.
Image above: After seven years of red brick, we had the fireplace painted the same color as our walls (Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17). There are very strong opinions about painting brick, but since it’s not original and is in a weird spot between the kitchen/living room, we thought it would open up the space nicely. The Andy Warhol “Hearts” print is from art.com, the gold peacocks are a Rose Bowl flea market find and the cameras all belonged to Forest’s grandfathers.
See more inside Raya’s beautiful home after the jump . . .
Image above: I found this reproduction lounge chair and ottoman buried under a pile of stuff at my favorite (now closed) antique shop. I had an upholsterer patch some tears and paint the leather, a much more affordable route than reupholstering. The painting is by Santa Cruz artist and friend Danielle Rahe Fox.
Image above: Our playroom is normally sprinkled with toys, but I prefer this view! This room is an add-on by previous owners, and you can only see this half from the living room, so I tried to make this corner more of a sitting area. It has great light, and I love to hang out on the sofa while the kids play. The school lockers were sitting outside my neighbor’s house for weeks until I finally saw him outside and asked if he’d sell. $20 with delivery! Forest painted the doors, and we store most of the toys inside with baskets. The table is an old Ikea tabletop with vintage hairpin legs, and the rug is from rugsusa.com.
Image above: When I was pregnant with our second, we decided to give up the formal dining room and turn that space into a playroom so that we didn’t have to have all the toys in their shared bedroom. We used to have a massive farm table that was not working in this new space — the bench seat off the kitchen. We sold it and bought this little table at a thrift store, which works for now. The chairs are Thonet, purchased on Craigslist and originally from a church in Santa Barbara. I love the color, and they are the first “real” dining chairs I’ve ever had.
Image above: The tepee [off to the right] is one of my best purchases ever. We set it up either outside or in the playroom and fill it with blankets and pillows. Tree blocks are my new favorite thing. I think I play with them more than the kids do.
Image above: I’ve been looking for lockers for friends, and it’s hard to find ones that are big enough to actually hold toys. These are 12 in. square, and the resin strap baskets from Land of Nod fit perfectly. I painted round wood discs from Michael’s with chalkboard paint and attached them with Velcro. I don’t mind lots of toys everywhere as long as they all have a home when it’s time to clean up. And that’s Genevieve running through my shot — a happy accident.
Image above: Our kitchen is unusually large for the houses in this neighborhood and was a big selling point. Not much has been done since we moved in, except painting and changing the light fixtures. I have grand plans for it someday. The bar stools are from Industry West, all the lights are from Schoolhouse Electric and the island is Ikea.
Image above: I love bar carts, but our house doesn’t have much wall space, and I don’t know how it would go with small kids in the house. To get that feeling, Forest’s whiskey and scotch bottles are on a counter in the kitchen. I put this together the other day with a West Elm tray, favorite glasses from Anthropologie and a milk glass bowl from my small collection. If you notice the wood grain on the wall, that paneling was used throughout the house, but this small wall is all that remains of its former funky self.
Image above: This is my “granny” shelf. I gathered a bunch of tea tins for a baby shower and then decided to display them in the kitchen. I found this set of yellow dishes at a thrift store as well as that weird painting. That’s the kind of thing I buy and later ask why? But the heart wants what the heart wants.
Image above: I have always had a chair problem. I get it from my mom, who is a professional slipcover maker and is always bringing home chairs from everywhere. When I started getting more into design, the vintage Bertoia chair was my first purchase, via eBay. I love it, and it should probably have a better home than this corner. The pillow is one I made from fabric given to me by my best friend. We share a love for good florals.
Image above: This is the other side of the playroom, and everything except the Ikea shelf is thrifted or from the flea market. I bought the vintage Spanish map at Saffron & Genevieve in Santa Cruz, and after getting insanely expensive quotes for framing, we DIYed a solution with a simple wood panel that Forest built and spray mounted.
Image above: Our house is a two bedroom, so the kids share. I did most of the decorating when Baker was small but tried to make it neutral enough to last. The paint is Sherwin Williams “Nurture.” The bedding is Dwell Studio for Target, the curtains are Land of Nod and the big art piece is from Ikea. Stuffed animals fit nicely (and out of sight) in Senegalese storage baskets. My mom made the quilt at the end of Baker’s bed out of Japanese fabrics, and it’s called a picture quilt; the idea is that you play a game of “I spy” with the prints. There is everything from robots to honeybees — very cute.
Image above: Forest’s family surprised us with this Eames rocker as a gift when I was pregnant with Baker. They know me well! My good friend Jess made the “monkey dragon” softie, and the elephant is by LookWhatIcanDo. The wardrobe is a family piece from Forest’s side, and it’s been used for many kids in the family.
Image above: The living room is long and narrow, so our sofa is on the smaller side. I am learning a lot about scale with this house. It’s from Room & Board, and though I like the look of upholstery better, slipcovers have been a lifesaver with small kids. The dhurrie is on loan from a friend, and the blue and white rug is from rugsusa.com. In this small room, I like how the CB2 acrylic coffee table doesn’t take up extra visual space, but people often ask how I keep anything on it and does it get scratched? It does, and our baby pulls all the books off, but I don’t mind piling them back up. It’s worth it to live with some scratches and have things we really love in our house versus opting for something else.
Image above: I saw these zany portraits of 1960s actresses at an antique shop, and I could not get them out of my head. They were in the powder room for a long time, but recently moved out to the living room. The colors are so good, and the plastic gold frames are so bad. And they make me laugh! The artichoke lamp is another favorite thrift find, and the chevron shades are by my mom (she’s amazing).
Image above: These chairs are a Craigslist find that were originally an awesome goldenrod, but sadly our dog attacked them when she was a puppy. I couldn’t find any affordable fabric to replace the upholstery and decided on slip covers for now, which were made by Katie Baker in Santa Cruz (my mom). There is a fuchsia sofa in an old issue of House & Garden that I love, but it took me a long time to actually do it. The last couple years we’ve been going a lot bolder with color in the house, and I am so glad. And this color acts like a neutral, where anything you put with it looks good. I sewed the chair pillows with Premier Prints Chipper fabric in candy pink from fabric.com.
Image above: The oil painting is from the Ventura Flea Market. The front door opens right into the living room, so these accordion peg racks hold our coats and bags. It’s a big challenge for me to keep the house clutter free, as I am not naturally inclined to minimalism, but I’m becoming a better editor and getting as much up off the ground as I can helps.