Interior: HGTV House Tour

2018 is off to a lovely start with a feature of our home in HGTV.  Yep, that’s right HGTV!  I’ve been watching the channel religiously since 2003, when we started looking for our first house in LA.  Through the shows, we used to go on virtual house tours and it helped make the process of first time home buying seem less daunting.

For those of you who have followed Relocated Living since the beginning, you know that our house in the Bay Area was a labor of love. For those of you just joining in from HGTV, welcome I hope you’ll follow along as I have more projects in store.

To give you more back story on our house, it was 2012, we had just moved up to the Bay Area. We were renting, paying a mortgage on the new house AND remodeling the new house from the studs up.  We stretched our budget as far as it would go. HGTV really captured how I managed to maximize the style of the house, while keeping costs of the furnishings low, since all our money was going INTO the walls.

You can see the full house tour below.


If you look at some of the my early construction posts, you’ll see what the house used to look like.  It needed everything! What’s great about the HGTV tour is that they show you some of the rooms I never got around to featuring on the blog in a Before & After.

I love design and would much rather spend my money on the pretty stuff, but the truth is that shoddy construction will come and bite you in the end. Very few of the pieces we had in our old home in LA worked in our current house, so I had to get creative and resourceful when furnishing 3,300 sq ft, and my Vintage Finds were a big part of achieving style on a budget, while injecting soul into what was essentially new construction.  Hope you enjoy. We certainly like living here!


Lena Margulis - Love your home! We are also in the middle of gut reno of a 50’s fixer upper and have similar style to yours, so this post helps to see what we will have once all the work is done 🙂
I was wondering where you have found the fabric you used for the dining chairs? It is lovely, and would work great in our dining room! 🙂

isadorag - Hi Lena,
Thanks for stopping by. The fabric is from Joann’s. I upholstered them a while ago, so I’m not sure they still have that same fabric.
Good luck.

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INSPIRATION: Modern Foraged Holiday Wrapping

You’ve heard of Noma right?  The restaurant in Copenhagen that was voted best restaurant in the world for several years running.  The concept of the food there is not simply seasonal farm to table, much of the menu relies of foraged food. I desperately wanted to get a reservation when I went to Copenhagen a couple of years ago.  Ever since then I’ve been much more aware of foraging.

Modern Foraged Holiday Wrapping

I’ve created tablescapes based on foraged greens from one of my morning walks.  Recently, a neighbor of ours at the Farmhaus surprised us with a whole basket of fruits and nuts that she had foraged around Sonoma.  The bounty included persimmons, pineapple guava and apples, along with an assortment of nuts. It got me thinking about ways of bringing that spirit into the upcoming Holidays. I have kids so I’m sure I’ll be wrapping a lot of plastic, but how about wrapping gifts with the beauty that surrounds us.  So, I went searching for modern, gift wrapping ideas that incorporated foraged elements.  The wrapping is so gorgeous that it immediately elevates the act of giving.

Do you want to tone down the commercialization of the Holidays and bring life back to the simpler elements? I sure do.

Sources clockwise from top left: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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Retail Therapy: Affordable Modern Leather Armchairs

I’ve been remarkably absent from the blogosphere thanks to a combination of work (good) and health issues (bad).  Today, I decided to dive back in with a round up of affordable modern leather armchairs.  I use the word “affordable” loosely, since some of the chairs are close to $1000 each and I realize that for many, that is not affordable. That being said, leather is more expensive than regular upholstery, so 12 great looking leather armchairs ranging from $299 to $999 is not bad.

Affordable Modern Leather Armchairs

I have been looking high and low for the right leather accent armchair for one of my current design projects.  So, I thought I would share with you some the chairs I’ve found and like best. They range from sculptural, to vintage-y, to comfy, but none of them have the over-stuffed vibe of your grandfather’s den armchair like this sad looking chair. Yuck. A real case, of  what not to buy.


Which one do you like best in the round up?

1st row left to right: 1 | 2 | 3

2nd row left to right: 1 | 2 | 3

3rd row left to right: 1 | 2 | 3

4th row left to right: 1 | 2 | 3

LBD - My idiosyncratic opinion: wire or hairpin legss convey “cheap” visually to me, while leather communicates “legacy”. Even in Scandimodern design the wood looks better, less at odds with itself.

Just my two cents.

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In the Mood: Sophisticated Relaxing Modern Living Room

A while back, I shared with you the inspiration for my living room redesign, a look I’m calling Sophisticated Relaxing Modern.  Since then I’ve been playing around with the floorplan and looking at furniture that I felt would capture the vibe I’m aiming for.

One of the big reasons it’s taken me a while to move on this room is: THE PIANO.  Exhibit A:

Vintage Modern Living Room Before and After

To see what the room looked like after our remodel, go here.

Moving a piano is no small task.  I’m stubborn and often believe I am stronger than I am, but moving a piano is not something I would attempt.  All the floorplans I had included our massive baby grand, which felt a bit wrong because my husband (the piano player in the house) never loved the quality of sound that this big piano produced.  So, after some discussion, we decided to bite the bullet and look for a new piano. We also determined that we could get an upright piano instead of a baby grand, one that would sound better, but would eat up less space in our new dedicated “music room”.  Basically a win-win. Go here to see my husband after he found “The Piano”.

Once the piano decision was made, things started happening including delivery of the new piano, and more importantly removal of the old piano.

Piano 1

Piano 2

Bye bye piano, you served us well. Now the fun starts and I’m also removing the old rug and getting rid of our beloved rounded loveseat to make way for my new design.  I went through a couple of different moodboard/floor plans to arrive at one that I felt hit the spot.

Relaxing Sophisticated Living Room

Sadly, the grey velvet sofa in the moodboard is only a stand in, but I couldn’t find an image that more closely matched the sofa we will be keeping.  What do you think of this new plan?



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Reveal: Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Tween Bedroom

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _20t

It’s week 6 of the One Room Challenge.  That means it’s time for the reveal!

Before we dive into it, let’s walk down memory lane. When we bought the house, the room looked like this:


After months of remodeling and renovating we got to move in and I gave our older son a big boy room:

ReLocatedLiving_Bedroom1_20 copy

Now that he’s on the doorstep of tweenhood I decided to give our older son’s room a makeover as part of the One Room Challenge. The look I was inspired by was “Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom”. After six weeks of I am happy to report that the room looks like this:

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _04

It’s incredible how different the room looks and feels, yet this is really a story about the power of decorating. I made no structural changes, I didn’t even a change the paint on the walls (which he wanted to keep). Since we’ve been busy with hardcore physical labor fixing up our Farmhaus (see my instagram for what I’ve been up to lately), revamping this room with furniture, finishes and a reimagined layout was actually relaxing.

To get the full effect of the Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer vibe, I think the transformation is best shown in sections. Since this is a bedroom, let’s start with the sleep zone.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _02

In my original moodboard, I imagined a different bed but my son/client insisted on a trundle. I’m very happy with the one I found, it’s handsome and tailored without being stuffy. In fairness it took a lot of energy to put the bed together, but the result is worth it.  The navy piping is a little extra detail that elevates the design.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _21

The nightstand is one that he’s had for a few years when I decided to replace his original nightstand. It’s a classic midcentury design, but I gave it a little DIY treatment by painting the front of the drawer white. A small change that makes a surprisingly big difference, plus it ties it in with the desk and makes it feel fresh. Another big change was opting for a wall-mounted sconce instead of a lamp. I didn’t want to call in an electrician, so I knew the sconce had to be a plug-in.  I looked at so many options until finally finding the one. I chose a sconce because it gives him more surface area on his nightstand. That way Big Boy can have his speaker nearby and listen to music (that’s a thing at this age, plus this is a cool speaker that he got to build himself and learn about sound waves, electromagnetism, etc. but I digress).  To bridge the space between the nightstand and the sconce I decided to hang a photo I took last summer featuring him jumping into a pool.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _17

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _19

The beddings have a hint of pattern without being theme-y or juvenile.  The accent pillow cover is another DIY from a scrap of fabric I found in my “stash”. I chose to mix blue, with white and tan as a reference to the sand and sea, the colors are similar to those in the rug. The art selection is very chillax in a surfer dude kinda way. While I prefer to use non-mass art, these prints of palm fronds make me think of palm trees so I go them anyway. The photograph is just that quiet moment of heading out into the water to patiently wait for the perfect wave. I looked at tons of images of surfers and surfing, but didn’t want one that was “too active” lest it break the spell of relaxation I was trying to cast.

Speaking of relaxation, let’s move on to his favorite spot in the house, his new armchair in which he reads, plays video games on his iPad or kicks back and listens to music.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _15

The chair is super comfy and was a complete steal. It was the first piece of furniture I really knew I wanted for his room, so everything in my moodboard was selected to work with it.

As you keep moving around the room you will find his new bookshelf. He used to have his books tucked away in his closet, but now that they are out, I feel that they are being celebrated. I’m happy his books have come out again.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _09

In my moodboard I had zeroed in on a different bookcase, but once the pieces started to come together I knew I needed more height to keep things balanced and the eye moving. Fortunately for me, this new wood + white number came out just in time. BTW – if you’re installing a bookcase by screwing it into the wall, use proper wall-plugs that will anchor your screws. I saw this same shelf in someone’s shopping cart in the return aisles. Having just installed the same shelf I inquired about what had happened. It had come tumbling down! I politely asked if they had used proper wall anchors. I could tell from the blank stares that they had not and had simply put screws straight into the wall. People, use common sense!

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _08

Finally, we get to the desk. I debated long and hard about which white+wood modern desk would work best.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _05

Ultimately I chose this desk because of its clean simple lines, features, dimensions and price.  At just $180 (it’s currently on sale for even less), I think it’s a very good looking desk. It’s #8 in my desk roundup.  It captures the vibe of #3 which I had featured in my moodboard, but cost $400 less and has the clean Scandinavian lines I was after. The placement of the desk was the most controversial aspect. My son didn’t want the desk where the bed was, but I did want it back under the window as his desk gets all the afternoon sun, not good for homework.  He also didn’t think I could have the desk jutting out like that. But by placing it as a peninsula, he can still have the view to the window but without the glare.  He realizes now that mommy is usually right, and loves the new location of his desk.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _24

His work zone features a little gallery wall that includes a mixtures of personal photographs including a beach scene from our trip to SoCal during Winter break, purchased prints, a vintage painting and my very first DIY wall hanging.  Remember when I wrote a post about wall hangings and that I wanted to give it a try? Well, I finally did and I loved it.  Now I have to find space for all the yarn I am starting to accumulate. Oops.

My son is ecstatic about his room.  He had his best friend over this weekend and when his friend’s mother came for pick up, my son proudly asked her if she wanted to see his new room. Mission accomplished!  Hope you like the room as much as he does.


On a parting note, first off, thank you for following along!!! I am so happy I decided to participate in the One Room Challenge.  I have discovered new and like minded designers around the world, but also it forced some needed discipline in my blogging.  In this spirit, make sure you stick around as I’ll be posting overdue updates of the Farmhaus in the weeks to come. Lots happening on that front.  In the meanwhile I’m excited to explore what the featured designers and guest designers of the One Room Challenge have come up with.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _02sq

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _01

Trundle Bed | Sheets | Surfer Print | Palm Prints | Plug-in Sconce | Armchair | Rug | Floor lamp | Bookcase | Desk | Desk chair | Flushmount Light | Beach Print | Bamboo Blinds | Curtains (discontinued) similar

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Cassie Bustamante - what a great makeover! it was awesome before, but now it’s so much more grown up for him. love the bed and the artwork and his desk area is fab!

Lizzie | Emmerson & Fifteenth - I love the whole room! All the gorgeous textiles you chose, the Danish-style bookcase, the new desk, and that adorable wall hanging. He must love it!

LESLI - i LOVE this room…I have two sons and I have always advised folks doing boys rooms to “choose the wall color wisely” because it has been my experience that boys do not like too change colors. My daughters walls have been 6 colors – the boys – 2 . Your color choice is spot on and looks great both before and after!!! Great job!!!

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