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Betsy’s House

Betsy’s House is a dream home, with many possibilities and projects to unfold in the future. After a mini-renovation, the family moved into the home in the early Fall of 2015. Her warm rustic wood beams soar over an open living area surrounded in light and lifted by a lovely wide plank pine floor in a natural finish. The house is a two story ranch built in 1966 into the sloping terraces of the Pacific Palisades. While midcentury lines prevail throughout the home, tons of french paned windows look out over a rustic ambiance in the canyon she was built upon. It is natural that this elevated perch among such lush landscaping has influenced a treehouse like effect. Her gardens and lovely blue paned windows and doors are the features of fantasy living! Let’s get started.

Betsy’s House Update: The Master Bedroom Evolution

Things have progressed in our master bedroom, but the process is still a process and if you’re anything like me, then you’re never really done. (What would be the fun in that?)

But let’s talk about where I am with the Master Bedroom evolution. Here is a little visual journey of of the room since I placed the bed on this wall in the room.

In the early days of committing to this layout, we were quite bare. We lost this particular rug in a puppy accident.
It was a cheapie score from Ebay that I wasn’t too sad to let go.


In this progress pic, we’re rugless and contemplating the Marimekko print for over the bed.


Here, we’re still rugless, still contemplating art for the frames over the nightstands, but we do have 1 partially DIY’d bedside dresser with hardware and we’re trying out some matching reading lamps.

Most recent status. Looking more and more like a real room. Here we have committed to some matching ocean art prints and I’m trying out the Suzani for over the bed.

We finally landed on a great Moroccan rug for this room, and the touch of green is inspiring where we may go next as the room continues to evolve.

The last time you and I spoke here about the bedroom, the dude and I had settled on a bedframe. We chose the drommen from CB2. This bed is aesthetically good looking – but despite upgrading from our casper mattress to a big cushy springy Serta, the bed rails still squawk underneath when we roll over. I’ve read enough reviews to think this may be a problem that we can fix with a new set of bed boards. Looks great though and overall it was a nice compromise between upholstered (me) and wood(him). I’ll never say no to a little midcentury inspired design in the mix, though I’ll admit that I do think more and more lately about swapping it out for something with a bit more stature.

For a really long time, I had paralysis on side tables for this bed. Its beauty lies in the angled wood feature that cradles the headboard. I didn’t want to cover that up. But alas, we need freaking drawers to hide our clutter.


The Bunching Table by Four Hands
27.5W x 27.5D x 15.75H in

I thought real long and hard about the Bunching Table for some time. I still thinkin about it. It’s from Four Hands, a brand that Shop TEOT carries. It’s just the right mix of rustic and modern to suit the decor sweet spot where Heffe and I merge.

Instead, I got Ivar.
31 1/2W x 19 5/8D x 22 1/2H

The Ivar is significantly less sophisticated & special, but also whoa… significantly less pricey. I’m a sucker for an inexpensive DIY project. I always end up springing for the inexpensive option and tell myself its a short-term solution while I continue to belabor thoughts over the investment pieces.

Truth be told. I should put my big girl pants on and buy two of the Bunching Table. And despite all other options that I constantly consider, I really really like them and have for quite some time.

Meanwhile, on the merits of IVAR as a solution, these natural pine babies are just simple dressers from IKEA. They are actually meant to suspend inside of the modular shelving unit that I use downstairs in the TEOT pillow studio. I did attach my own feet, set back to give a floating appearance.  And I hilariously fumbled my way through the addition of some matte black drawer pulls.


Moving on to the other wall.


Back in our giant puppy days the wall was bare.

Then we introduced the giant black Television and these white shelves were just wrong.

Eventually, I swapped the furniture out for a homemade tv stand. Now its time to rethink the surrounding art pieces.

The art gallery surrounding the TV still needs some thought.
I took the puppy box out for a minute, but we still need it, so it’s back. Baby Ky just isn’t ready to be left at home alone with free range of the house.
You can also see that we’ve added an adorable baby bassinet!

This whole TV situation really needs work. For so long, I felt stuck, but moving it off of the leggy white shelves has been a huge improvement. Meanwhile, I totally have the solution to this design dilemma. I just simply can’t talk the dude into trading up for the new Samsung FRAME tv to solve my large tv hate woes, but that will do the trick one day! (I do LOVE having this large TV in here when my sleepy pregnant self is falling asleep to Bob Ross painting happy trees.)



If you are unfamiliar, this is The Frame. It’s less TV, more art.

So, that’s where I’m at with the bedroom here lately.

Looking forward.

I need to talk with you at some point about bedside sconces vs. table lamps and explore that curiosity.

I’ve added my inspiration/design board below because these always help to guide my slow decorating process and helps me to focus on the ideas that have staying power. Maybe you will enjoy that format too.



Bedroom by The Estate of Things for SHOP TEOT


New Additions at Betsy’s House

Hi, It’s Betsy and I got news!


Long time readers around here know that our personal sharing comes in waves. For this momentous event, we decided, hey let’s take the blog along on the journey.

I’m gonna hold off on our conception story at the moment. Some of you may be into that kind of thing since it involves factoring such hardships as his cancer recovery and my advanced endometriosis diagnosis which I casually dropped in this update from last May. But I need to be drinking caffeine (or wine) to get into that one here on the blog. I’m drinking neither of those these days. But the good news is, it worked and we have been #blest!

For now, we’re bringing you along, because with the addition of this human being to the world, we will also be introducing an addition onto our home!

Well, we hope to. Here’s the skinny.

This is a current image of the two story end of the home with the open garage we’d like to convert.
The vehicles represent the area where we’d like a new garage to go.

If you weren’t around for the house hunt and the progress we’ve made since 2015 – the home is perched on the slope of Rustic Canyon, in the Pacific Palisades. It’s just a quick walk to the beach, nearby restaurants, and the Santa Monica Palisades Park. It’s a 1960’s rancher built into the slope and on the exterior, it gives off the impression that its a two story house. It has charming blue window frames with a white exterior and its surrounded by huge leafy tropical plants.

I rarely leave it. Especially these days!

In the past two years, we have converted the upstairs living area from a two bedroom back to its original 60’s floor plan with three bedrooms. We added HVAC, removed some of the previous owner’s more traditional built-in units to modernize a bit and we painted all the main living areas white with black interior window frames. We are slowly but surely making it our own.

This is our baby Aussie that we call Kitty. She loves to feel the sun in the sunroom.

It’s somewhat of a split level home in that when you walk in the front door, you are immediately led up a set of stairs to the living space. But once you are up, it’s all up here. The downstairs is nothing but garage, cellar and a studio. Downstairs is the area we want to become livable.

I took this photo of the front entry back in the house hunting days, when the previous owners still lived here. So, that’s their lamp. Don’t look at me!

The Entryway stairs open up into the middle of the home, between the Living area and the hallway that leads to the bedrooms.

Here’s a look at the current floor plans for the upper level and the lower.

We are hoping to add on a new garage and convert the existing downstairs garage & studio area into an integrated living space with two new bedrooms, a laundry room, storage and if we can squeeze it, a little TV den. This should turn our downstairs area into an official teen dream for Heffe’s kids as they are entering into a more grown-up era of their kid lives. (They are 10 and 12.)

Currently, we access the downstairs studio from the back side of the house, through a separate entry at the bottom of a terraced patio. On the front, there is a two car garage that is half tools and normal garage mess, and half Heffe’s car, plus another room that we call the cellar. We call it that because that is where we store all of Heffe’s home brew supplies and his craft beer collection. It’s also where I moved the laundry because I hated it in the kitchen. But boy its rough down there and its only accessible through the garage door, which makes laundry even more deplorable. It has straight up plywood walls, exposed plaster, wires and plumbing, dude mess everywhere, SHOP TEOT packaging supplies and kids bikes.

This image of the empty cellar is of particular interest because it illustrates the height difference between the front entry main landing and the cellar floor. You can see where the plaster wall ends at the entry landing floor.

Now bear with me from here, or skip along to the pretty pics. I wouldn’t blame you.

I’d hoped we could work with the architect to open up those plaster walls of the current entry and maneuver the existing stairwell into an access point to a new downstairs mudroom/foyer area that is currently the cellar. Upon initial consultation, she and the contractor agree that we may wish to explore other options for stairs. It’s apparently too challenging with the floor height discrepancy, and being that its our main entry, they agree it will be easier and more cost-effective to build a new stair and keep things as they are in the current entry.

I really want to be able to illustrate better for you, but even in person it requires a certain amount of bouncing back and forth between the cellar and the front entry to see just why this idea is such a challenge. Let’s pretend the height discrepancy isn’t so steep and below is a rendered view from the same vantage point as above, but with the walls blown out.

It would take about 7 or 8 steps to get from that entryway landing to the cellar floor in the real world.

Anywayz… that’s why we hire an architect! We’re waiting to hear from her on what’s feasible with the city, zoning wise and hoping that we can add enough square footage to accommodate our new needs. At the very least, we’d like to squeeze another two bedrooms into this house, somewhere. But at the moment, I’m not sure what the end product might look like.

That’s the gist. Now let’s look at some eye candy, that may or may not apply to our final plans.

Dreaming of a clean white laundry nook in my future.

We need bottle storage in a major way. The dude’s craft beer collection is a tad bit over the top. Maybe we will get to explore something creative under the stairwell.

by Studio McGee
I believe a downstairs den area will result in a small and cozy media focused room. Some new windows for light will be crucial to keep it light and airy.

I’m looking at small spaces for the den too, in case we end up needing most of the area for bedrooms.

If ever you are gonna pull off the low slung Togo profile, a teen dream den seems like the opportunity. I’ll take mine in a leather as aged and smooth as the design idea itself.

This is just a corner that I like. If I was a teen I’d be into this in my SoCal dream den.

A built-in daybed with some storage seems like a cozy solution for a small bedroom.

I don’t know what the consensus is on babies and spiral staircases, probably imminent death, but I know that if we have to add a second set of stairs somewhere, I’d like for it to take up as little real estate as possible.

These doors are a dream that may not fit into my reality anywhere. They are a bit of a departure from the current style of the home.

Maybe this is more our speed. Either way, I’m dreaming of a wide opening with large panes of glass, to take in the view.

The new garage roof will hopefully end up as outdoor living space for us (in exchange for the yard we are giving up.) That means the current sunroom with the black window frames will open up to this outdoor space and the french windows will all have to be replaced.

We’ll likely talk about that aspect more in depth as I can hardly wrap my mind around it at the moment. It just opens up all kinds of worms. Excited worms.

All of this is very exciting and the beginning of a whole new era for our home and our family as we grow from a crew of 6 to 7. If you need help figuring out that number, that’s two pups, two adults, two kids and a brand new tiny baby.




Black and White plus Wood

Hi, it’s Betsy.

I’m moved by all things black and white plus wood lately! Just can’t stop pinning this fantastic combo in many different iterations.

My favorite thing about this job that we’re doing here, is immersing ourselves in design inspiration and then interpreting all that we’ve seen into our own spaces.

I love so many styles, from the sentimental and maximalist touches of boho to the rustic mix of farmhouse modern and of course the midcentury time capsule homes that are ubiquitous here in So Cal. Plus part of me still pines for the style of the cottage and craftsman homes that pepper the state streets of Southern Pines.

A little bit of all of that has made it into own home, and of course lots of it is apparent in my inspiration file.

I’m happy to take from all of these styles and use what I like and what I feel works in my own home.

Thanks to Sarah, I’ve honed in on a look for my new house to aspire to.

One trend that has emerged, both in my inspirations and in practice, is the black and white plus wood combo.

Let’s have a look at some of the inspiration images I have been referencing.

Becki Owens olivia-babarczy-home-3From Becki Owens

Modern in Black White and Wood


the-olivia-palermo-guide-to-styling-your-homefrom MyDomaine

studio mcgee kitchenStudio McGee


Of course, as a color lover, I like to see these elements play as a backdrop to other lively textures and pops of hue.

In our home, we’re working with colorful accents in the way of boho rugs, diy art projects and a boat load of ever-changing African Indigo inventory for SHOP TEOT. Throw in some global textiles, a vibrant vegetable dyed Persian pattern, a little fur for texture, plus some plant life and you have what, in my mind, is the winning combination of the moment.

We’ll call it California Eclectic! It’s a work in progress.

Shaniqua Black White and Wood Combo



Betsy’s New House Progress


Decorating is a living process, kinda like training this little dog of a puppy!

We’ve been in the new house now for just a little over 3 full months, and each day it gets better.

I suppose it’s a never ending effort to get a home feeling like home. I know all of mine have always remained a work in progress, cause being “done” isn’t really something that I’m interested in. Otherwise, it would be time to move, right Sarah? So, we have lots of projects left and I can think of many things that we still might like to acquire (like the perfectly sized persian rug.)

But, we’ve also made a few strides lately and I’m finally at a place where I can snap a few pics and share.


We’ll start with the least impressive… the kitchen!

We knew that this would be my least favorite aspect of the new home, and that we would be taking our time before planning any renovation. But I did swap out all of the previous owner’s glass knobs. In theory, a glass knob is a sweet option for cabinet hardware, but it wasn’t working for us and our desire to give this home a cleaner more modern vibe. We can deep dive into this room and how we are changing it later, but for now, I updated the cabs with the absolute most inexpensive hardware in the world, and while I know they aren’t what we ultimately want, the overall look is better. It’s got a little graphic punch, and if it makes any sense, this black speaks to the black window panes on the other side of the room. I’ll keep dreaming of an eventual gut renovation for this kitchen.

Care and the picture ledges

Speaking of spreading the black around, we pulled a little something off in the stairwell entryway as well. Back during the renovation, I purchased a wall of picture ledges, and we finally got them up. Most of this art came together from our previous home, and I’m just real pleased with all of it, the kid’s art, the family photos, and every stitch of sentimentality that I’ve ever put in a black frame. I imagine this will be an ongoing evolution.


shaniqua bedroom

If you are into that Hmong lumbar pillow, the extra rare extra large indigo bedcover, or those Euro pillows in indigo, you know where to find them!?!   

I am aware that the rug is too small for the bedroom! I have to decide on one huge, or maybe two large rugs for this room that are cozy, dog friendly, something the dude can live with, something economical, plus beautifully bold without us being sick of it in 6 months. So far I can only seem to love the $11,000,000 Persians. So for now, I have the same rug under our bed that was under our bed at the last house, in an 11×10 bedroom. So yeah, it’s too small, I’m aware. Thanks Emily Henderson and Sarah Farrell, it is an honor to be schooled in this way by you! ;)



Lastly, here is a little look at one end of the sunroom. It’s one of my favorite spots in the house, since as you know we deliberated hard on painting the black window frames. I’m sure glad we sprung. They make just the personal stamp on the home that we need. The other corner still has some boxes stacked up and it does NOT have a hammock. Oh, the shame.

We have drawn up some plans for some built-in shelving and a floating console for the living area. That should give us the final storage needed to finally unpack all of our books and board games, and then we’ll be box free! Also, the kids’ rooms are really coming together nicely, and I love them both. I’ll share them someday soon, we still have a few projects up our sleeves for those rooms too!

Alright, that’s where we are, thanks for being here with us! <3


Betsy’s House: The Bed

It took us a while to get our new bed selected, and you guys may have recalled when I was polling for opinions. I thought we had settled on a particular bed… the one on the left.


but then Heffe realized it was upholstered and decided that this was not appealing to him. Turns out, he says he’s thinking more along the lines of a rustic wood.

It is always a bit fun and funny when the dude presents his distaste for what I think are solid choices for our shared life. I do my best to respect his desires, but I’m sure you can imagine that it’s often met with rolly eyes and or giggles if not heavy sighs while I shake my head. But, back to the drawing board I went, this time digging into some full bedroom imagery to illustrate to him my case for the upholstered headboard, and then a few looks into the style that I assumed he was after, for comparison.

First I gathered the rooms, and here is what we looked through. My case included examples from Amber Interiors, that Archiectural Digest feature of Patrick Dempsey’s house (not only b/c I love “Can’t Buy Me Love” but also b/c that entire Malibu house is dreamy,) plus the home of Ione Sky since I was in an iconic 80s actors mood.

I was leaning toward upholstery due to my desire for draping various textiles over the headboard. I felt like a nice neutral backdrop could play well to my evolving obsessions with the pieces of fabric I bring home from time to time.


As I dug, similar themes emerged… white backdrops, neutral upholstery, global textiles, rustic woods and maybe even an accent feature! At least we know what we’re after.

Next up, we thumbed through the beds that I found to suit the style.


So, after all of that storytelling with the dude, we settled on this sweet midcentury design that combined a bit of the upholstered look along with the wood.

drommen-beds CB2 Drommen


Betsy’s New House: Hallway Decorating Ideas

It’s move in day y’all. As I type, the old house is full of boxes, being carried out one by one.

I’m so excited that tonight will be our first official night in our new home. My mind is reeling with all of the new features that I’ll get to actually live with.

Throughout the renovation, I took an abnormal preoccupation with the hallway. Here is what was going on in my  brain from my favorite vantage point.



I went all E Hendo on y’all and made a gif… really I made this to illustrate to the dude what I was having a hard time articulating without a visual.
Now bear with me for a minute while I belabor myself with over-explanation.

Our house was full of doors. There were two in the hallway where there should be none. Once we started getting into moving things around, I was pinning long light filled halls with beautiful runners and quiet design moments and I wanted that in our hallway. I started to think about perspective and how soothing it is to visualize those two lines running to meet each other at a point on the horizon.

So the threshold into the back part of the house became a pre-occupation. I felt it was cutting off an opportunity for a beautiful line of site, a lovely perspective leading to a statement door frame to the Master, or a quiet chair in that far away corner. I was envisioning a thing of simple serene beauty and all of these extra door jamb angles were getting in my way.

This is what it looked like on our initial house tour, with the old homeowner’s stuff.


The contractor was happy to move the door jamb in the middle of the hall, but he was not so keen on busting out the door frame at the threshold. You would need to come over to the house and get the real feeling of the space to feel me out on this one, but his argument was that we needed the door trim to maintain the consistency throughout the home. I am not really so much into consistency.

My thought was that we are trying to modernize the home and clean lines would help with that.

Opening up the hallway with a flat drywall corner seemed like a sound design decision to me. But, he held out on his stubborn design opinion by deciding that while he would do it for me, he would charge me an arm and a leg for the job. So we decided fine, we will wait and we will live with it, and if I’m still obsessing over the hallway perspective when it comes time to redo the stairwell, then we can address it then.

It’s always interesting when you have a conviction that people want to challenge you on. Am I POSITIVE that the home would look better with the gaping opening. Nope.

But I still haven’t stopped thinking about it either.

Either way, it is miles better with the two doors and the one door jamb removed. Here is the new blank slate.

hallway-emptyThose holes in the floor will be filled in soon.

Will I run a long runner up the hallway? Will we adorn the walls with radical art? Will there be repeating pendants to guide us down the hall?

Here are the inspiration images that I started pinning for a hallway decorating ideas. I’d love to hear your ideas or see your hallway spaces.


hallway decorating ideasArt + Persian runner does a lot for this hall.
via Domaine

hallway decorating ideas runnerThe wall flood lighting adds drama to a window less hallway, and I love the chair at the end.
From Carla Aston

hallway ceilingWe could keep playing perspective games and go with a linear picture ledge.
From Apartment Therapy

black wall hallway with chair railChair rail is an option, but I think we’re steering away from traditional moulding. At any rate, I like all this for fantasy fodder for a different style of home.