Friday, October 12, 2012

Everyday Lives, Everyday Homes - My Home

"Everyday Lives, Everyday Homes" will be my on-going blog series looking at homes of everyday people from studio apartments to single-family homes. I really would love to show an honest picture of how people live as seen through their living spaces. These homes are not about perfection or about showcasing the most hip, design-savvy places. Moreover, they are not so much aspirational pictures as they are more just a glimpse at people's lives told through their homes. I believe that every house has a story and whether big or small, our homes have the power to reflect our identities. 

I invite you to take a look at these everyday homes for what they are and just remember that home is where the heart is. 

I begin with my home:

  • Everyday People: Family of Four with two boys (ages 9-and 6-years old).
  • Everyday Home: Single-Family House
  • Heart of Our Home: Dining Room

We live in a 900-square foot 1920's bungalow in San Diego, CA. My husband, Carlos, an engineer and I, a decorator at IKEA, moved into this charming house just over nine years ago. I was about 6 months pregnant with my oldest son, Paco, when we bought our home. As first time home buyers, we didn't know the full extent of what owning a house would be like. You sort of form a relationship with your house and you realize most days are great and some days not so great. But through perseverance and a lot of love, it all works out in the end. And of course, buying an old house comes with a handful of imperfections. Luckily for me, I adore imperfection!

So, please come in! Vampires welcomed too!

Entering our home you are first greeted by our piano which was a Craigslist find for only $100. I kept my piano books that I learned from as child and now Paco is learning from them. Our dining room, currently decked out with Halloween decorations, is definitely the heart of our home. A lot of family time, from eating meals together to homework to playing board games, takes place in this room. Our dining table is one of my favorite furniture pieces. It's a 1970s Danish Modern table with two extension leaves that expands to 94 inches long. I always have numerous stools handy in case family and/or friends come over to eat. It's quite the sight to see at least 12 people sitting around the table just eating and talking. Family gatherings are music to my ears, loud and lively!

A look into our kitchen from the dining room. We remodeled our kitchen in 2010. We couldn't have done it without our friend and carpenter, C.J. Thompson, who passed away earlier this year. 

Our entire kitchen is IKEA. We choose white ABSTRAKT high gloss drawers and doors, which are very easy to wipe clean, with butcher block countertop. I've always loved the warm wood look of butcher block rather than hard granite. My favorite part of the kitchen is my VARDE drawer unit with stainless steel drawer fronts. I love the whole VARDE kitchen series from IKEA and would have done all VARDE but my kitchen is too small for these generously-sized cabinets. So when I planned our kitchen I had to include at least one VARDE piece! It holds up well to all the chopping and prepping work I do there.

Our kitchen is home to not only the typical cooking gadgets and wares but also houses some very personal decorative pieces of mine. The ceramic painted Japanese woman and girl are gifts brought back from my dad's Navy travels back in the late 1970s. They were part of a larger collection that included other similar ceramic figurines representing members of my family. The Japanese woman seen here represented my mom and the little girl represented me. Mine and Carlos's favorite coffee mugs are out in the open and easily accessible on the corner shelf unit next to the microwave oven. Also, on display in the kitchen are my little collection of Japanese anime fully-posable action figures located on the shelf right below the mugs. They are quite awesome! 

On one of our kitchen counters next to the stove is a display of mid-century ceramic vases (gifts over the years from me to Carlos) . I use the triangular vase to hold my wooden utensils. I love to buy ceramic art for Carlos because he's a material science master particularly with ceramics!

Pictured above is Tomás doing his school work on the dining room table. Our large dining room table accommodates homework time for the boys and crafting time for Mama. The lavender cabinet in the background is from IKEA (with Anthropologie knob handles) and stores all our arts and crafts supplies easily.

Paco quietly reading his latest book in our living room. Those familiar with IKEA will appreciate our living room with 80% of furniture from this mega-Swedish company. All pillows and rugs are non-IKEA. Our faux-orange leopard print rug was actually a Christmas gift for Paco several years ago. One of his items on his Christmas wish list was a new rug so Santa Claus got him this rug!

Our coffee table is currently the "drawing table" for Paco and Tomás. I make sure we always have plenty of recycled printer paper and coloring markers for them to use. They draw every day! Our fireplace never worked (at least it didn't look safe to use) so Carlos and I decided to cover it up with MDF board and paint over it with chalkboard paint. The boys love it and I love it! We take turns drawing whatever our hearts desire! 

Mine and Carlos's little eclectic bedroom. I fill our bedroom with my favorite and personal pictures and artwork. The rose painting is by one of Carlos's brothers and the framed drawing right below it is a sketch by Carlos of me back in college. Carlos is a big fan of Willem de Kooning's paintings circa 1980s so I found this print and got it framed for him. Our bed frame is from IKEA and it was our first bed frame purchase after we ditched our futon bed. It is still sturdy and looks great after 12 years.  I bought this beveled mirror frame about the same time we moved into our home. It's nice and large which helps make our 10 x 11 room feel a bit bigger. I also have a little spot for my sewing machine complete with undone sewing projects. 

The boys room is just about the same size as mine and Carlos's bedroom. They share a silver framed TROMSO bunk bed (not pictured) from IKEA. The birch storage unit is great for toy storage and other knick knacks the boys accumulate over time. We found this large cork board at the Container Store on sale for only $5 because it had a tiny piece of cork scratched off. A large United States map is attached to the board and we place push pins on all the cities we've travelled to. We also pin postcards from family members on the cities they visited. The boys dresser drawer unit has been revamped with new drawer knobs several times already. Changing out drawer knobs and handles is one of the simplest ways to refresh any piece of furniture.

I love that our narrow driveway is so long because it makes the perfect second dining room when hosting large parties, of course, depending on weather (which is mostly nice in San Diego). Using fold out tables, patterned table cloths or fabric, and various chairs creates a fantastic party table for many guests. In addition, we hung string lights across the driveway to accommodate any get togethers that last into the evening. I love string lights! They are never too bright and create the most romantic glow.

I hope you enjoyed my everyday home! I look forward to presenting more everyday lives and their homes...and I would love to feature your home too! If you're interested, just send me a message or post a comment below on how to reach you! Thanks!


  1. What a great home! I think your living room is my favorite!

    1. Thank you! I will be sure to stop by your blog also!

  2. Hi Jessica,
    gosh what a cute post! i love your home, so neat compared to mine! love how you used all the spaces in your home.. makes me want to clean out my stuff.

    1. Thanks Bing! I try to keep it as neat as possible because you definitely notice any mess when you have a small home!

  3. Love your post! What a great space to call home. I will share my home when it's all nice and close to being clean! Follow me back at
    I sit next to your cousin "Bing". She's my co-worker and blogger buddy.

    1. Hi Anabella! Thanks for stopping by :) I will make sure to stop by your blog too! Also, I will definitely take you up on sharing your home on my blog series! Please send me a message when you're ready & start taking some photos of your home! Thanks so much!

  4. Fantastic tour! Your home looks so inviting! Good to meet you!

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed reading about your home: always enjoy learning about other folks' lives! Just dropped by from Blogging Buddies and will be following you! Hope to see you back at my site too sometime soon!

    Isobel from

    1. Thanks Isobel! I will most definitely join your site :)

  6. i love coming inside your home j. It always feel warm and comfy. You must redecorate the White House and it will change the course of history, i bet. xoxo

    1. Thanks dear friend! You are always welcome in my home :) I think we both should tackle the White House and have tea with First Lady Michelle :)

  7. Love those mid-century ceramic vases!
    Great post and photos!

    So nice to meet you through Etsy’s Blogging Buddies Team.
    I am your newest blog follower via GFC! :)

    All the best,
    Mixed-Media Map Art