Carrie Anne’s thrifted paradise in cookie-cutter suburbia

Posted by

bedroom 27
The 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.

The Thrifted Home Tour

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

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.

Thrifted Home Tour

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

The Thrifted Home Tour

The Thrifted Home Tour

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.

The Thrifted Home Tour

The Thrifted Home Tour

The Thrifted Home Tour

The Thrifted Home Tour

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.

The Thrifted Home Tour

dining 4

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.

bedroom 6

bedroom treasure


Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 11.40.38 AM

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.

Peaches Approves

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 11.42.32 AM


Terrarium Shelf

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.

Comments on Carrie Anne’s thrifted paradise in cookie-cutter suburbia

  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.

    • I know this was years ago… But… Can we please talk about that baby blanket? If you happen to know what yarn/what pattern, I absolutely adore it.

  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. 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 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

Join the Conversation