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A San Diego Rental Proves How Design Can Comfort Kids

by Garrett Fleming

Moving is stressful. Period. The logistics, the financial burden, and the house-hunt itself can be enough to make anyone pull their hair out. Add children into the mix, and you’ve got a whole new ballgame. My parents saw this firsthand when they uprooted me in sixth grade. While it ended up being the best decision, at the time it was terribly hard on me.

When transitioning in between homes, an inviting place to land can make all the difference. Isobel Benesch made it her mission to ease that moving stress for her own children when her husband Dustin started a new job in San Diego, CA. Their children Holden and Gray are under the age of four, so Isobel and Dustin were a bit anxious about how the move would affect the family. In order to make the transition easier, Isobel went straight to work adding colorful and familiar decorations to their new rental. Paintings came out of storage, playful bunting went up, and works created (and inspired by) the boys were scattered around the space. She wasn’t sure if her strategy would work or not, but it’s proven to be a wild success. Holden takes pride in seeing his work displayed, and the home’s seaside color palette has kept him and Gray soothed and smiling since day one.

While most of the fun touches Isobel has added are inspired by her children, the realities of renting also played a major role in her choices. Permanent changes were out of the question, so instead she’s gone about dodging and covering up some of the home’s less-than-ideal qualities in some pretty clever ways. As you peek inside, you’ll barely notice the “blah” carpeting now that she’s layered patterned rugs on top of it. You’d also never know that the space was a rental after gazing upon the eye-catching mural in the kids’ room. She and Dustin stenciled a stunning, geometric pattern on the home’s standard, white walls. Overall, they’ve crafted one of the most personalized rentals I’ve ever seen, and proven just how comforting design can be. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Chrissy Powers

A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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Gray's side of the bedroom is given a custom touch through stenciling, some careful painting, and a Born on Monday blanket. Older brother Holden often pops out of his bed and into Gray's crib, comforting his little brother when he needs him.
A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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While Isobel and her husband Dustin don't see their pad as a forever home, they've still gone out of their way to make the space feel as comfortable as possible.
A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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A close-up of Isobel and Dustin's handiwork.
A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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Playful touches like this tassle banner from his birthday and a rowdy quilt from Australian brand Goosebumps give Holden's side of the room pizazz. The laser-cut quote is from Oh Dier. Holden picked it out himself.
A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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The boys' bedroom isn't huge, so organization is key. This shelving at the foot of Holden's bed is a one-stop shop for reading, playing and all things imaginative. It looks great, too.
A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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The large, multicolored piece of artwork was the catalyst for the entire gallery wall. Isobel had forgotten it in storage, but it went up the second she found it. She then went through her son Holden's artwork, picked out pieces in complementary colors, and filled in the rest of the wall around it. Below the collection is a sofa from Craigslist and rugs from Rugs Direct and Pink Rug Co.
A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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The living room's side chair is from Joybird. "It's my favorite color and seems fitting for our little house by the ocean," Isobel explains.
A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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Pieces inspired and created by the family dot the West Elm shelving unit next to the sofa. Holden painted the figure, and his interest in learning about the world set his mom on the hunt for this pretty globe from Spin Gallery Goods.
A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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Isobel was stumped when it came time to decorate the living room's fireplace because of its unique shape and lack of mantel. Her solve: fill the empty space above it with this DIY yarn hanging. The cradle below it is from Baby Bjorn, and the print to its left is filled with notes from their wedding guests.
A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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The entire home is covered in beige carpet. While not her first choice, Isobel has rolled with it and cleverly layered brightly-patterened rugs on top of the drab element to detract from the less-than-ideal detail. The light-up sign is by Carnival Letters.
A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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Holden accidentally smothered the ottoman at the foot of his parents' bed in green paint, so they improvised and covered the mess in this gorgeous xNasoxi throw. At the opposite end of the bed sit pillows from Ourlieu and a tassel banner from Fleur Lux.
A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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This wave light from Saw and Steel is Dustin's favorite decoration in his home. It sits on his and Isobel's dresser in front of recent snapshots of the family.
A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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Isobel's side of the bed gets a West Elm nightstand and Target task lamp.
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A San Diego Rental Proves How Design can Comfort Kids, Design*Sponge
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The floor plan of Isobel and Dustin's 1,400-square-foot rental in San Diego, CA.

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Comments

  • Lovely home with lovely ideas. Most noticeable is the love and passion in the home for each other. The boys are blessed to have lovely parents in Dustin & Isobel

  • this place oozes with the love of its inhabitants – incredible and beautiful.
    i have a question and i hope it doesn’t come across in an aggressive way: i have noticed on many occasions but especially in this post that many decorations contain tassel banners and this home also has many ‘quotes’, custom made, it seems. I have ONE in my house (Do more of what makes you happy) over Hero Husband’s piano and I’m slightly jealous of their rich collection…. ;) My question is ‘Is there a special meaning to those banners which escapes me (being 1. European, 2. Swiss, 3. sadly officially no longer in the age group of banners, string lights etc…. (have plenty of light guirlandes however & 2 swiss flags on wooden sticks in the garden…)? I’m thinking ‘Indian ancestors’ or such? Or is it just fashionable as macramé potholders and wall-hangings used to be when I was younger? Tks for any info. I’m here to learn.
    A big thank you to this great and smiling family – may you be v.happy in your temporary home! As someone who lived large parts of my life abroad, moving about, I can appreciate your work & labour of love.

  • This design is really peaceful, full of colours and shows that if you use your imagination there is nothing impossible no matter if you own the apartment or just rent it.

  • I love how they use calm blue tones and geometric patterns but it’s still a warm “livable” space. Having so much detail and personal stuff around really gives the design life. Thanks for sharing!

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