Tour Tuesday: Bonner House

Tour Tuesday: Bonner House

Welcome to Tour Tuesday! Today we are spending time with my friend (and neighbor) Leah Bonner at her family home. I’ve known Leah now for about ten years and she is one of my favorite people.

^^^Sweetie the dog in her favorite spot. The chairs are from Crate and Barrel.

Me: “Hi Leah! Thanks for hanging out with us today! OK, tell me a little about this home and how it came to be yours. What is the neighborhood like?”

Leah: “My husband and I moved to the bay area right after college for a job opportunity. We’ve been here 12 years now and really love this area of California. His family is in Washington state and my family is in Orange County. It’s nice to be within a day’s driving distance to both. We lived in our first house for 10 years in a close by neighborhood. For the past 5 or so years we had been looking for “the perfect house” to move to. We wanted more space inside and out. It took several years but we found it. When we saw the backyard we were sold.”

“Our home is in a master planned track home community. I have a love/hate relationship with these communities. I love the families with young kids, our park, the community pool, the close proximity to the school and other amenities. I hate the generic look of the homes, both inside and out. Yards are usually small. Our yard around a 1/2 acre. Very rare for this area. That’s why we jumped on this property.”

^^^Wooden chandelier from Restoration Hardware.

Me: “What is the feeling you were going for with your decor?”

Leah: “I wanted a kid friendly, coastal meets farm house vibe. Soothing tones of grays with pops of color. Something clean looking and organized but yet has that comfortable, lived in look.”

^^^Wood console table from Cost Plus World Market.
^^^ Most of Leah’s decor comes from stores like Home Goods but her favorite decor hack is to find items with a history at flea markets and antique stores. This yellow metal box came from a flea market in Napa and it has a storied past: it is a cutlery box once used by a naval cook to store his knives. It dates to 1943 and was used during World War II.

Me: “Did you decorate all at once or in little bits over time?”

^^^Leah found this red coke crate at a local garage sale.

Leah: “The interior of the house wasn’t in bad shape when we moved in, but it was lacking personality. Kind of an early 2000’s blah vibe. We did home improvements and decorated non-stop for about a year. My husband and I are DIY’ers. The only things we sourced out were installing overhead lighting in the bedrooms and the flooring. I have painted nearly every wall of this house. We tiled the kitchen back splash, changed out all the faucets and light fixtures, all new baseboards, door handles…I can go on and on…”

Me: “So, do you have any further plans or changes you want to make with your interior? What’s on your reasonable wish list of things to do?”

Leah:We replaced all the flooring in the house with a pretty, light oak flooring. I absolutely love it. The only thing we left was the carpet in the bedrooms. It desperately needs to be replaced. Every time I think we are ready one of my kids adds to the stains. I think we will hold off for another year or so. I wrapped my kitchen island in beadboard and painted it white. I was going to paint all the other cabinets, but decided to hold off and live with it for a while. After cutting the faces out of 3 of my upper cabinets and installing glass I decided I like the contrast of the maple cabinets against the island. We’ll see if I end up painting everything white next time I am itching for a project.

^^^Leah’s daughter has a darling bedroom. The bedroom set is actually three separate pieces; Leah used French Linen Annie Sloan chalk paint to bring the three pieces together. It is the perfect color against the pale pink walls.

Me: “What is your favorite thing about this home?

Leah:I love the floor plan of my home. The upstairs opens to a large loft. All of the bedrooms are off of this central location. This additional upstairs living space is home to all of the kids’ toys. No toys are allowed downstairs! There is a couch and TV where they play video games.

It might be weird to say, but my favorite part of my downstairs is the large walk in pantry. After a big Costco trip it’s nice to have enough room for all the groceries.”
Me: “So what decor projects or DIY projects have been the most rewarding to accomplish? Which ones have driven you crazy?”
Leah: “The backyard has been a lot of work. It is finally coming together and has become the neighborhood kid hangout place. With swings hanging from the big oak tree, a trampoline, zipline, firepit and climbing dome it really is a fun place to be.
My house didn’t have a fireplace when we moved in. I knew I needed to add one somehow before Christmas. I found an electric fireplace on Craigslist. that was in desperate need of love. I could see the potential and couldn’t pass it up. I refurbished it and love how it turned out. I love the look of shiplap and wanted to add some to a wall in the family room. It was a boring space and needed some texture and visual interest. I researched different ways to do it and ended up buying 1/8″ underlayment at Home Depot. They cut it into 8″ strips. After lots of sanding and with the help of a patient husband and his nail gun we installed. I painted it white after installing and finished it off with 2 1/2″ trim. The whole project cost around $100 and I’m in love with it. 
My hexagonal wall treatment in the powder room was the most frustrating project thus far. I wanted to stencil a repeating pattern on one of the walls, but couldn’t find a stencil I liked. I decided to make my own using my Silhouette. My finished product was a vinyl adhesive wall covering. It was time consuming and difficult to put up. What I thought would be a quick and easy install turned into days and days of frustration. I really like how it turned out, but I would never do it again.”
^^^Wall paint color Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain.

“The master bedroom started out as a great big vanilla box.  I wanted a rich dark charcoal or a navy blue on the walls. After a dozen paint samples I settled on Benjamin Moore, Iron Mountain. It’s a beautiful shade of charcoal with a blue undertone.The dark walls actually make the room look bigger. It emphasizes the cathedral ceiling. I’ve added a few bits of gold tone in the accessories and love the contrast with the charcoal. My bedroom furniture was a dark mahogany. After painting the walls I had to paint the furniture a high gloss white. I add a little color I painted the tall dresser a bright yellow”.

I love Leah’s home. It is imbued with heart and color and lots of DIY – what’s not to love, right? Leah is also a girl after my own heart: she is always working on a project or two for her home. Thanks for joining Leah and I today on Tour Tuesday!

*Would you like to appear in a Tour Tuesday of your very own? Contact me at trulaaluu at yahoo dot com; let’s collaborate!




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Transplanted from NYC to the Bay Area with 4 kids, a husband and a children's accessory company called Trulaaluu. I am inspired by my family, adoption, my friends, good design, running, beautiful spaces, social media connections and creating. Welcome to Dwelling by Design.
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