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Hitting “Refresh” on a 1920s-Era Bungalow

by Garrett Fleming

Oleander & Palm creator Jeran McConnel was on a mission. It wasn’t uncommon to see her walking the tree-lined streets of Bakersfield, CA, but this time she was hunting down a scarce sight — a rather rare sign. Red and rectangular, she simply had to find a quirky, older home that had one. No luck, and then… presto! Sure enough, her dedication wasn’t for naught. Finally, Jeran had stumbled upon a 1920s bungalow with a “For Sale” sign planted in its front yard. Now she and her husband, Lonnie, could leave behind their above-garage studio and raise their family in a lovely home.

The bones of the place were perfect for the young family. The bungalow’s clawfoot tub, hardwood floors and built-in cabinetry added just the right amount of old-world appeal that Jeran wanted. Not to mention, it was a heck of a lot larger than their place at the time. Paperwork signed, and anxious to start crafting their dream home, the family prepared for the big move.

Since Jeran found the three-bedroom house 13 years ago, improvements have given the 95-year-old space a whole new look. The major changes took place in the owner’s suite and kitchen. These two overhauls kept the family on their toes for a bit – four months, to be exact. When all was said and done, the previous owner’s suite became the family’s bathroom, and a new bedroom addition was constructed. During the renovation, Jeran and Lonnie even had to sleep in the dining room. The kitchen was also totally gutted. New IKEA cabinetry, tile and appliances were brought in so the family could have a fresh start in the space. “It was a huge job,” Jeran says. “It definitely still has a way to go, but I’ve loved this house every year, more and more.”

As with all old, stubborn houses, another round of updates is bound to happen at any moment. For now, however, the McConnel family is more than content — and it’s not hard to see why. They’ve built a bright and modern home in which to make memories, while giving their old house a new look. Click through to see the entire space, and enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Jeran McConnel

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The family turned the previous owner's bedroom into their master bathroom and added on this new owner's suite for themselves.
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The 1,400-square-foot home is full of souvenirs from travels far and wide. A knife and map from Yemen, where the couple previously lived, are hung above Jeran and Lonnie's bed amongst pieces from Minted. The bedding is by West Elm, and both of the nightstands were thrifted and upcycled.
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Biology teacher Lonnie, blogger Jeran, and their children have been nestled into this 1920s bungalow for 13 years.
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This vintage dresser was refinished by the couple, and Jeran made the leaf pillow. It sits in front of a throw brought back from a trip to Ireland.
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The couple's updated bathroom, complete with his-and-hers sinks. This part of the home was the previous owners' bedroom until the McConnel family revamped it.
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The family's dining table proves there are some fabulous finds on Craigslist. The couple has mixed metal chairs from Wayfair with a plywood set from West Elm to create a mid-century-inspired look. The set sits on a rug from FLOR.
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These vases were found at a local thrift shop and are sitting pretty on a Nate Berkus table runner Jeran made with fabric from his JoAnn Fabrics line.
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An alphabet print and frame that Jeran crafted herself are accompanied by a teak stool from India. For four months, while their bedroom and bathroom were being remodeled, the family pretty much lived in the dining room.
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Jeran has an extensive collection of fine china. The second she laid eyes on these built-in cabinets, she knew that the collection would fit perfectly inside. The oil paintings that hang above it were thrifted in France.
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A Papuan basket and vintage, wool blanket add warmth and texture to the living room.
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The entryway's vintage credenza is Jeran's "pride and joy." Not only is she in love with the look of it, but she fell in love with the price, too. It only set her back $69 and came with a side table. Since the home doesn't have a truly defined entry, Jeran uses her sofa and the credenza to create a walkway into the house.
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Dwell Studio makes the family's comfy sofa. Jeran and Lonnie picked this one up through All Modern, and it's grounded by a Target area rug.
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A mid-century-inspired coffee table from West Elm and a leather butterfly chair won at auction give the room a retro vibe.
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Jeran says, "I chose to paint [the fireplace] white to keep it bright and light. During the winter, the fireplace is filled with birch branches from a tree that died in our yard. The mantel also has built-in bookshelves and a pull-down desk. Every nook and cranny of storage in this house is used."
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"Our kitchen is the most used room in the house. About six years ago, we gutted, added on and renovated our kitchen completely with the help of my dad and brother. We took over the old laundry room to create this 'U'-shaped section of the kitchen," Jeran explains. "The stool is vintage, and my dad found it on the side of the road and refinished it for me when I was first married. It’s always in our kitchen."
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To save money on appliances, Jeran suggests buying floor models. Sure, all of the pieces came with a few dings and scratches, but with a big family, those were bound to happen anyway. These IKEA cabinets were installed during the renovation. The rug is from HomeGoods.
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The beautiful olive tile is actually glass. Lonnie and Jeran say having two sinks is invaluable when entertaining and preparing meals. Jeran's father and brother made her the cutting board, the towel is by ferm Living, and these pretty countertops are grey quartz from Lowe's Home Improvement.
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Most of the family's meals take place here. The home's original breakfast nook sits under a Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. chandelier and metal sign from Hobby Lobby.
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Pumpkin, the family cat, peeks out of the girls' bedroom window. The bedroom has two walls of windows, which heavily influenced the furniture configuration. In short, this was the only way the two twin beds would fit inside! The rug and bedding are from The Land of Nod.
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This butterfly piece was brought over from Sri Lanka, and Jeran made the "Sisters" banner herself.
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The decorations for the girls' room had to satisfy both a teenager and a toddler – 14-year-old Denali and 4-year-old Olivia. This thoughtful, eclectic mix of accessories works perfectly. A Land of Nod decal sticks above an upcycled Target desk, perfect for both homework and fun-work.
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Each of the couple's daughters has a bookshelf to fill with knick-knacks. The eldest child, Denali, collects owls and displays hers here. They sit below paintings from Jeran's grandmother's home. She slept under them as a child.
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Dylan's room features a chalkboard for cracking tough math homework. A Land of Nod pouf, vintage chair, and desk (found on the side of the road) round out the room.
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Both Jeran and Lonnie's parents live close by, and sleepovers are frequent. The bunk bed is a great option for when the home's a little fuller than normal. In these cases, Dylan takes the top bunk and his sisters take the other so Grandma and Grandpa can comfortably sleep in the girls' room. The Star Wars bedding is from Pottery Barn, and Target makes the shelf and throw pillows.
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Jeran sanded and repainted Grandma's old dresser for her son. Nearly the entire piece got a facelift, except for the hardware. She loved the vintage look so much, she kept the piece's drawer pulls. The dresser sits in front of planetary decals from Target.
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The bathroom has little built-in storage, so Jeran brought in and painted this cheery dresser to hold all of her children's accessories. It's also the perfect spot to display her shells from Papua New Guinea. The Home Depot makes the mirror.
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The original clawfoot tub and beadboard immediately won Jeran over. They're two of the reasons she chose the home in the first place. The towels are Nate Berkus for Target, and the basket is from Papua New Guinea.
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The bathroom is on the smaller side, but the large window lets in enough light to make it feel airy.
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The home's floor plan.

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