, her husband, Nathan, and pups, Peachy and Skip, have called this Spanish Colonial in Santa Barbara, California, home for four years. Leslie works as both a and a graphic designer — through she creates custom stationery, and as she does print work for non-profit, corporate and small businesses. Like most renters, Leslie and Nathan were challenged to turn a rental house into a home that feels personal and warm. Luckily, they had a great canvas to work with: white stucco walls and warm hardwaood floors. They furnished the space with a collection of family hand-me-downs, Craigslist finds, handcrafted objects and a few token “big kid” purchases. The result is warm, bright and welcoming. Thanks, Leslie and Nathan! And a big thank you to Kirsten Ellis of for the lovely photos! — Amy Azzarito
Image above: Our dining room is one of the sunniest spots in our home. My dad made the steel table for us, and he and I drove it to California from Texas. I love that you can see the vibrant pattern of the rug through the glass tabletop. The child’s chair is a score from a friend’s “donate” pile. The gas station painting is an oil-on-paper study I did for a large painting in college. I never liked the final painting and framed the study. We painted the walls off-white throughout the house, and we use artwork and patterns to add color in each space.
Image above: The vintage green knobs were part of the kitchen when we moved in, and we love them.
See more of Leslie’s Santa Barbara home after the jump . . .
Image above: One of my favorite features of the house is the fireplace, a hallmark of the 1930s Spanish style. It’s regal and quiet, and I imagine it has witnessed many stories unfold. I never had a fireplace before living here, and I enjoyed arranging the furniture around such a traditionally communal centerpiece. This room doesn’t have much wall space for artwork, so we found a rug with a bold pattern. The typewriter is a painting of mine. The curtains and pillows are from Anthropologie, and the rug is from West Elm. The leather director’s chair is a Craigslist find; there are three others speckled throughout the house.
Image above: Our kitchen is a hub in the house and is often abuzz with cooking, baking, painting, and multi-tasking. I picked up the rag rug at a market while traveling in Portugal.
Image above: We have a prolific lemon tree, so lemons make appearances throughout the house as installations and centerpieces — and most often — desserts.
Image above: The portraits (of Leslie) over our bed are part of printmaker Ellen Heck’s () Plus A Century portfolio. The pillows are from Anthropologie. We’ve grown to love the quirky old light fixture; somehow it seems to fit with our mix-and-match style in the bedroom.
Image above: Our bedroom has a great little vanity area. I found the unfinished wooden dresser on Craigslist. The drawer pulls I have slowly collected from various places and travels. My grandmother gave me the earring and necklace tree when I was 12, and I had maybe two necklaces. Now it’s full. The mirror was in my mom’s room when she was young, and I love the combination of the antique filigree with the simple dresser. My dad rehabbed the stained glass window from an old house.
Image above: Our spare bedroom gets a lot of use and doubles as artwork storage. We found a shiny white day bed frame (with trundle!) on Craigslist and painted it black, and it works great in this small room. The bicycle print is from Thalia Lampert’s . I made the duvet cover, and the rag rug I found at a market in Portugal.
Image above: In my painting space, objects/subjects of past or future paintings hang about and work their way into new ideas. The small surfboard painting on paper is a sketch I did for a painting for Nathan years ago.
Image above: My graphic design workspace is an enclosed sunporch; we call it the design porch. The flat file is a Craigslist bargain (it was a groovy ’70s glittery brown, and we painstakingly took it apart and painted it a steel grey, then put it back together) and is a great work top for projects that require a lot of assembly. The wall of windows overlooks the back yard. I feel lucky to have such a pleasant space to spend my workdays. On the wall is an ever-changing smattering of photographs, postcards, current projects, and artwork that inspire me.
Image above: When we moved in, I nabbed the breakfast nook as a spot to paint. It has three walls of windows that let in great light, and one solid wall where I hang larger canvases to paint. I like living with works in progress when I’m in the kitchen cooking, or passing through, although sometimes I end up with a spatula in one hand and a paintbrush in the other trying to make a painting just right.
Image above: Our potted succulents come from cuttings from friends’ yards, neighborhood walks, our local neighborhood garden exchange, and local nurseries.
Image above: Our home has some great little arched niches. When we moved in, the shelves were glass and non-functional. So we built wooden shelves and painted them the same color as the wall. Now they showcase our little collection of funky plates that add a bit of color to the space. The ceramic labyrinth is from Aloe Tile in Corpus Christi, Texas.