Rachel’s Beach Bungalow: A Quickie Design Project

A few weeks ago a good friend and former colleague of mine hit me up for some design advice on her sweet Beach Bungalow in Santa Monica.

She’s lived in her rent controlled studio for 12 years and isn’t about to give up such a stellar location, but after a recent promotion from her PR role into a big-time producer gig, she was ready for an update to take her home life to the next level as well.

We put our heads together and easily identified a few key pieces that needed to be replaced to give the space new life. After my visit, I went home and started sketching out some ideas.


I’d really love nothing more than to get into her space with one of those crazy-awesome organization gurus. We’d pull every item she’s collected over the past 12 years out, and then put it all back in super thoughtful “tiny house” fashion. She could really gain from tons of earthquake-safe wall shelving for her necessary CD collection, a custom under-the-bed platform with drawers, and a new privacy partition to separate the living space from her sleeping space…

but with rent control comes a rather unforgiving landlord who vows she will evict if Rachel so much as puts a hole in the wall. Fantasy design bubble, burst.

So, we are taking baby steps first, and we will see what happens with a shopping list that stands to give the studio a new patina.

I put together the design board that you see above, and we created a Pinterest board. Rachel is new to Pinterest but she seems to have really enjoyed the experience of seeing new items and ideas pop up on the board as we were each brainstorming from home. I utilized the captions to explain my thoughts to her for each choice and then we would text back and forth while she was out shopping.

This of course ended up in a shopping trip that we took together to identify the perfect sofa to buy. We were looking high and low for a low to mid-range price turquoise sofa with mid-century lines and a shallow seating bed for her small apartment, and small self. She is just over 5 feet tall. The best option we found was a sofa by Gus Modern that was SO close, but just not quite right and twice the budget.

So we took to customizing it and we almost pulled the trigger on a custom design, until the perfect sofa called out to her from the window of a Los Feliz showroom, on sale no less.

CUsomt plus Los Feliz Sofa copy

I love working with Rachel because not only is she super trusting and open to any and all advice, but she was also really ready to pull some triggers! She has sent me a note or two about her new turquoise sofa along with the ikea console and lamp and she says it already feels like a tremendous difference!!!

Rachel Beach Bungalow Design Board copy

Rachel’s Pinterest Board

Written By
More from Betsy

It Takes a Village

It takes a village to raise a little home decor blog… I...
Read More


  • I’ve been dreaming of the West Elm Charm rug for the last six months. Fun to see how you would incorporate it here.

    • Oh Amy! This rug is so inexpensive comparatively. I’ve thought about buying it just bc it’s so cute and so reasonable. Follow the Pinterest board to find it on rugs USA or some such rugs bonanza type site.

Comments are closed.