Carrie Anne's thrifted paradise in cookie-cutter suburbia

March 8 |

bedroom peacockThe offbeat occupant: Carrie Anne, librarian

Other occupants: Husband Anthony, daughter Isobel, and cats Zorro, Poppy & Jupiter

Lives in: Modesto, California

Tells us all about your neighborhood: We live in the midst of typical middle-class, suburban tract homes.

What makes your home offbeat? Despite being a cookie-cutter home in a suburban neighborhood, we personalized it through vintage items found by thrifting or scouring our families' storage sheds and cast-offs. We incorporated our tastes with items we love and things that will last. At the same time we tried to keep things simple, clutter-free, and usable, so it's a home that not only looks good, but functions well.

bedroom anthony

First of all, I loved the big fire place in the living room, but it was a weird calico "natural" brick color: black (verging on navy), rust red, and beige. It was awful and we immediately painted the brick a deep brown. It took many coats of primer, and then many coats of color after that, but it was so worth it and transformed an eyesore into something we love.

The Thrifted Home Tour
She cleaned up pretty well.

Secondly, we've had our issues with the paint color choices of the previous owner. We still need to add color to the hallway, bedroom, and office, but before we moved in we had the bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen totally repainted.

And last, our largest challenge has been the nasty, worn, original carpet from 1986. Our solution for the time-being? Avoid looking down.

Thrifted Home Tour
Way to match the print to the wall color!

What's your favorite feature of your home? I love the green walls in our living room. That's probably the first thing a prospective homebuyer would change, but I love them.

I really like the layout of the space, too, how the kitchen is connected to both the dining and the living room but not necessarily a part of it.

dining 4
Well, this is straight out of a magazine.

What's the most important lesson you've learned from this home? You really need to work with a space, not against it. I'm not a huge fan of the navy countertops in the kitchen, but I can make them look the best I can, which helps.

What's your grandest plan for the space? All new floors (except for the kitchen and dining rooms.) The carpet has to go, and I'd like to change out the chipped entry tile and worn, dented linoleum in the bathrooms and laundry room.

I also want to paint the ceiling beams in the living and master bedrooms. Deep brown—to match the fireplace.

Peaches Approves
Peaches approves.

What advice do you have for other Offbeat dwellers? Don't get discouraged by lack of funds or the interior sea of beige in tract homes. Paint color and thrift stores, two relatively inexpensive things, can transform a space into something personal and amazing.

It's like, chic, modern, and retro ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

Any stuff or services you want to recommend? Instead of getting prints custom framed, scour thrift stores for frames of less common dimensions. That alone will save you all kinds of money, look great, and help break up the monotony of suburban style.

Is your home amazing? Have you customized it to your needs? Are you living in a punk house or with an exotic pet or under unusual conditions? Round up your photos and submit your home to us.

Enough talk! Show me that Offbeat Home porn!

  1. I love the green walls! My sister's bedroom was that color for a few years. I also love the placement of kittehs.

    Small world moment… I literally just put down a Robert A. Heinlein book!

  2. I really, really admire homeowners who manage to blend "straight out of a catalog" with "random crap we managed to find and use" so seamlessly. Beeeeeeautiful home!

    It's a testament to my addiction to office supplies that, out of all the lovely thrifted goods in your home, it's the kelly green filing cabinet that I swoon for.

    2 agree
  3. Love this post! We also live in a super suburban neighborhood. I really love the area and I like that making our house unique is more of a challenge :) But still in a pleasing-to-the-eye sort of way! And you nailed it!

  4. How did you paint the lovely "Isobel" design over your daughter's crib?

    • Hi there,

      Actually, we didn't. We purchased a wall decal through Etsy. You can find thousands of decals, and they come off without damage to the walls.

  5. LOVE your place! I saw your Dala horses and called my husband over since he's part Swedish, and we have several of them. He saw your viking ships and almost wet himself. Where did you get them?

    • I was lucky enough to nab the Dala horses while thrifting. My mom has several, though, that we purchased locally. My town historically has a large Swedish population (us included), so it's easy to find them.

  6. I LOVE the color blue in your nursery… do you by any chance remember the name?

    • I get asked the SO OFTEN that it's a deep regret of mine that I don't. We painted our two bedrooms this color when we moved in in 2005. It's a Martha Stewart color from way back. I've tried searching for it online with no luck.

      The thing I love about this color is that it ranges from gray to blue to green, depending on the light and time of day.

  7. Two cheers for the fish bottle opener!! I bought two in Mexico when my brother got married down there and I totally cherish them. Mine are red and orange though. It made me giggle to see their cousin in someone else's home.

  8. I love what i can see of Isobels room, i'm at the stage where all i want to see is babies rooms for inspiration!

  9. I love your place, and I especially love the picture of the cat on the changing table. :)

    1 agrees
  10. Woah………. I totally have stranger in a strange land beside my bed right now. Freaky.

  11. Hey there, lady… I know you! Haha, what a small world, eh? I should have known you'd be on this site. It's so YOU. Love your place, and love that it got some off-beat attention. So fitting!

  12. I also live in a cookie cutter house. And we have had such luck with repainting things bright colors and incorporating our funky fun furniture.

    A bonus I never expected was to see in our neighbors houses and how they met the same challenges we face in our matching house. I have gotten some great ideas from them! Whenever I am in a new neighborhood home I am always asking to see in the bathroom!

    Love the house! Great color choices!

  13. I actualy found the picture of the peacock cologne bottle while looking for peacock home decorations on flickr. I'm going to buy myself one off of ebay. ;)

    • I happen to one of the peacock cologne bottles! Love it! It's made by Avon and they have dozens of fabulously cute shaped bottles, I collect them and have found them everywhere from thrift stores to garage sales.

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