Interiorssneak peeks

A Family Home that Redefines Living with Pets and Kids

by Amy Azzarito

Who says kids and glamour can’t go together? Certainly not Southern California designer Betsy Ginn of SMID. She’s all about injecting glamour into even the most practical of design spaces. In her home, the result is a space that juxtaposes vintage glamour with a rock ‘n’ roll edge. Every part of her home is lived in – the concrete floors are perfect for riding bikes indoors, the chalkboard entry wall gets a lot of use from little hands and even the artwork was created by the smallest family members – that would be daughter Charlie and son Paxton. In addition to the kids, Betsy and husband Stewart juggle two dogs – Bommer and Pig Dog. They’ve lived in the house for nine years and renovated the upstairs shortly after moving in, but Betsy has only recently turned her attention to the downstairs of the home. Betsy describes her style as a little Audrey Hepburn meets leather and tattoos and she strives to master juxtaposition in all of her design projects as she uncovers the personality of her clients and finds ways to articulate those personalities in the design of their space. Here, she’s done just that for herself. Thanks, Betsy! And a big thank you to Renata Stone for the lovely photographs. –Amy

Image above: This is by far my most favorite room in the house because it such a great representation of juxtaposition and everything I believe in.  Believe it or not, this room use to be a small dark guest room with only two windows that looked outside underneath a balcony. I wanted our house to be light and open. We have a beautiful back yard and beautiful weather here on the coast. Our house needed to invite that light in and reflect the feel of the outside. To get more light, we opened up three walls. The room where you see the yellow four-posted bed and the opening on the left used to be outside. We expanded out and closed in under the balcony.  The old wooden doors were salvaged and painted high-gloss white. I did not want these doors to simply open and close like any old door. I was going for more of a statement. So we put them on a track and hung them as barn doors allowing for more light and functionality. When open, they frame the room.  When closed, it’s a dramatic statement. I chose the ball chandelier to play off the round molding on the doors. The black seats are an old vintage find, representing the glamour in the room. The couch and the rams (both vintage consignment finds) are very playful. I toughened up the look a bit with the raw cement floors and the wooden coffee table. The coffee table was an old work bench that had been thrown out, and I saved it! I cut it in half using the lower half for the coffee table in this room. The other half is outside. The kids use it for their art or outdoor eating table.  Our ceilings in this downstairs area were lower than our ceilings upstairs. To counteract that, I used furniture that was lower to ground to give an illusion of more height in the room. I used blue metal paint in eggshell by HDC.

Image above: This was my old childhood bed. I gave it a new flashy life by painting it bright yellow. I used Unmellow Yellow in high-gloss by Behr.  The pillows were such a great splash of color and texture for this room, I couldn’t resist them.


Image above: Again, I try to have fun in my designs and have them livable and functional. This is my eye mask that I sleep with at night. I didn’t want to throw it on the table during the day, leave it in the bed or store it in a drawer where I would only remember I needed to get it out of after getting all cozy in my bed at night. So I store it on this old mannequin head. I am also obsessed with coasters, trays and small bowls. You will find them in just about every corner or on every table of my house. I think they add a fun layer of detail and texture.

Image above: This is an example of one of the storyboards that I create for each of my projects. I get my inspiration from fabric, textures, fashion mags, construction sites, vintage icons, you name it. This is how I wrap my head around colors, textures and the feel of the design before I start.

Image above: This is looking into our indoor/outdoor kitchen from the room with the rams. I chose to expose the ceiling to give the feeling of more height and to add warmth from a visual perspective. I wired the lights myself. I wanted to have a whimsical playful feel to lighting and not have a bigger light that would block our view of the outside. The exposed conduit gives it an edge.

Image above: This lady is actually a cement pot that I painted flat black. She is much more striking in black. You cannot see the oranges in this picture but she functions as our fruit bowl.

Image above: I designed the entire space downstairs around these doors. They close off the other space completely and give it such a dramatic feel. I am old school in some aspects of my designs. We left a pocket open in the wall so that these doors will all disappear and make the space open up even more when desired.


Image above: We call this guy creepy baby head. He is so creepy and unusual that he is beautiful and striking. It’s a great statement when you enter our home.

Image above: This is our chalk board nook.  It use to be a closet under the stairs. We opened it up and painted it with black chalkboard paint. This is a place where my kids can go crazy and you can see they did.

Image above: My SMEGalicious fridge. Obsessed!

Image above: I wanted my “littles” to have a room that they could grow in. I was not interested in them growing out of the design in a few years. My lil’ guy and my girl share a room. So, it needed to have a good balance of femininity and masculinity. It also needed to be playful for them and a bit sophisticated for me to love it. The yellow horse was a great find and helps pull in the carousel that sits outside. It makes it feel as if it is in the room. And yes, it is a real carousel that was a hand-me-down from a great friend.

I am obsessed with this blue velvet fabric. It’s gorgeous. I felt these curtains would make the room more glamorous and help pull this room together with the rest of the house. I designed the curtain rods out of galvanized plumbing and hung the curtains from floor to ceiling to play on the height of the room. The curtain tie backs were left raw and they helps draw the eye up from the floor.


Image above: This is how our house stays clean. This vintage filing system is used to store all the toys, dress up clothes, etc. a.k.a. my life saver. I dressed it up a bit with the marble piece on top.

Image above: I had the most fun designing the kids closet. I used metallic silver liquid paint by Rust Oleum. It is such a beautiful color. The clothing racks are designed from galvanized steel plumbing. The shelves use the same plumbing and raw wood. I found an old garage fluorescent light flea marketing and use this to light up the closet. Charlie has pink velvet hangers and Pax has blue. So fun!


Image above: This is the master bedroom. These are my most favorite lights in the house. They are cylinder steel industrial lights with crystals hanging from this. Juxta what? I love these.

Image above: The mirror is an old window from T. Boone Pickens historic home. It was salvaged and turned into a mirror. I love this piece. My dog has taken over the small French day bed and it is no longer mine.

Image above: We have black and white striped wallpaper in our bedroom. This mid-century black and white side table was too much fun to pass up and a great play on the wallpaper.


Image above: I went heavier on design and glam in my office because it was my personal space. The artwork is by my sister-n-law, Selby Ginn.

Image above: My sense of style if much like the way I design. My closet is full of crazy vintage pieces. I love throwing this pink skirt on and then toughening it up with a rock-n-roll t-shirt.



My plumber calls this frankenstein design. We fought over this for days. I wanted to expose copper piping and found these great red industrial nozzles at home depot that I wanted to somehow function in the bathroom. My plumber thought I was crazy. When I drew it out for him, he said it was Frankenstein looking and wasn’t so sure about it. We agreed to call it that if he carried out my design. When it was done, he took pictures of it to share with people. I searched forever for the 12″ all-copper shower head which pulls it all together.


Image above: This painting and the one from the kid’s room were done by my kids. I didn’t want your typical kids art in the room but I did want something that they would love and be proud of. I bought a roll of canvas and ripped off a large piece. I gave them about 6 different colors of acrylic paint and let them go for it. They put their hands and feet in the paint and danced around. I literally had to strip them down and carry them to our outdoor shower when they had finished. They had so much fun, they were covered from head to toe. I left the raw edge of the canvas instead of framing it in. I think it makes more of statement. If you look closely, you can see little footprints.

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  • LOVE your house and the pops of color and texture. It’s given me some good ideas on how to zazz up my 1-room apt rental. Small containers of all shapes & sizes are my downfall and now I know how to go forth with my stash. My favorite room of yours is the small cafe table & chairs next to the chalkboard wall facing a view. Thank you for sharing!

  • Creepy baby head – LOL!!! This is truly a house that looks as though fun is being had, every single day… a house in which memories are being made and love sealed for a lifetime. It’s not often a design moves me like this, but then, so much is superficial, imposed on the residents by an outside designer. This home truly speaks of and with and to its inhabitants. I love it!

  • I love the house overall – it’s so textured and sumptuous; however, I don’t like the taxidermy goat heads. It just a personal preference thing!

  • I hardly ever comment. Your home and style are just lovely very very inspiring!
    The vintage pieces the black and white stripes work so well together. Oh and the chandeliers I envy you!

  • Lovely house… and yet I can’t get the image of Betsy and Stewart juggling two dogs and two kids out of my head…

  • Awe! Thank you M.K. I am happy it helped. Yes, those little containers are treasures. Keep them! I’m obsessed with them. Have fun!

    lol thank you also The STORE GIOVANNA. Yes, we love to have to have fun.

  • What a fun place. I love, love, love those chairs in the first picture, the picture of the monster that says “I’ll eat you up” and the deep read children’s table and chairs. I love the rest of the house too, but those are my favorite things.

  • This place is soooo much fun! I think it’s the best if an interior contradicts itself. Never a dull moment! Great shower. I mean, Ultimate Shower.

  • Wow. What fantastic and imaginative yet workable combinations you’ve installed in your space! The chandelier in the yellow bedded room is fantastic, and I love your crystal lights in the master. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  • OMG! You are truly the only designer I would want to help me with my home! I LOVE the joyous ‘what the hell’ attitude from the chalkboard that mixes with the absolutely stunning selecti0n and placement of your furnishings. Everything looks so vibrant and happy! I love everything you’ve done here, from the artwork, (your kids are talented!) bright yellow bed and horse, the details, details, details–the head flowerpot as a fruitbowl–and I’m quite sure that plumbers all over the world are going to be faced with the picture of your tub and forced to install the Frankenstein Plumbing!
    Thank you so much for this uplifting, energizing, and inspiring tour!

  • Your Frankenstein plumbing method is quite popular- I’m surprised your plumber hadn’t seen it before! We did copper tubing with the red valves in our sauna shower as well, but i wasn’t as lucky as you to find an all copper shower head. I know how ‘convincing the contractor’ talks go though, I had to do the same with my fireplace surround, they definitely are not usually the visionaries. The photo of your kid’s chalk drawing on the wall looking into another room is gorgeous! The dark tones in that photo with their bright chalk scribbles is so striking! Beautiful home.

  • I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is that is so intriguing/seductive to me about this house, but whatever it is, it’s there in spades! I love it! It’s so unusual and original… so different than the stuff i usually see on the blogs. Kudos to her! And come do my apartment! :)

  • I am so in love with this home! It has something for everyone. It’s so interesting. I feel like the design must always be changing and growing. It’s alive! Thank you for sharing!

  • Unless those animal heads on the wall are fake, they are in extremely poor taste – especially since the title of this section refers to living with pets and kids. Are those the pets?

  • Such an eclectic and fun house. I love the hanging lights in the master bedroom an the pops of yellow throughout this home. Very lovely!

  • I love love love this home! It’s perfect in so many ways. Gorgeous and filled with so much personality and uniqueness. Amazing job!

  • gorgeous, unique, edgy and romantic at the same time! this is what I strive to realize!

  • Just awesome. I am jealous of your dog! What I would not give for a day bed like that and the red nozzles in the bath are after my own heart. Love the chandeliers in the master bed too!

  • There is so much to look at in this house without feeling overwhelmed. It’s kind of just like a constant maze of inspiration and whimsy. Dig it.

  • The taxidermy turned me off immediately and then there is the recurring theme of random heads. I’m also disturbed by animal skins whether real or faux. I don’t think any of these things send positive messages.

  • Holy cow! Fabulous and totally my cup of tea!
    Where, oh where, did you get the Wild Things print? I need it. I am an adult, but I need it!

  • I love homes that have an equal balance of masculine and feminine be it the colours or textures used in the room! I love the eccentric styles that come out of europe especially!

  • I’m totally digging this combination of crisp and rustic, patterns and solids, modern and vintage, collections and minimalism… taking notes!

  • Dana – thank you. You can find it on etsy (search “I’ll eat you up I love you so.” My friend from LaceandLikes gave it to our family as a holiday gift. Our family….we say it all the time to each other. It was the perfect gift for us. I love that you need it! I totally get it!

  • Lovin the aesthetic….I recognise myself in lots of your choices…however..please rethink dead carcasses as art…why do SO many people buy into this…its horrific…

  • This is such a beautiful home. Where is the stunning clean-design bed in the master bedroom from?

  • I look at all these ideas as they’re here but for me. I’m one for simple taste as I love country nothing too much but a taste of country. And so for nothing jumps at me. Still in search my country kitchen table. I don’t mind the dents or painted. Those things are not important to me and can be fixed. By sanding and refinishing then staining. My second hobby. I live in rural small town of 2,200 and I love it people here too. As my search goes on been 2 years waiting to find that table of mine. Oh, I already have my chairs and old-fashioned too.
    Carol Hawkins

  • Do you have any info on how to design the exposed shower plumbing? I love the Frankenstein style!!!!