Finding My Style
After many years as city dwellers, my boyfriend and I bought our first home in Scituate, MA in July of 2020. (See Our move to the South Shore). As first time home owners, I finally had the opportunity to invest in proper furniture that I knew would fill our home for years to come.
Our favorite room in our home, and one of its selling points, is our sunroom. Almost two full walls of this room are covered with floor to ceiling windows with a full view of our private backyard. Because I knew this is where we would spend most of our time, this was the first room I put together.
Although our home is a classic New England cape-style home, I knew I didn’t want the decor to be traditional coastal or South Shore “preppy”. My aesthetic is a little bit more of a boho, or laid-back California style.
My style was shaped by years of living in the city, and most recently by my almost monthly travels (pre-COVID) to Santa Monica, CA for my previous job and to visit friends. I believe this is where I picked up my love for the California Casual design style, before I even knew it was called that. When my friend who now lives in Santa Monica said that this room looked like the inside of Élephante, one of our favorite oceanside rooftop restaurants in Santa Monica, I knew I got it right!
What is “California Casual” design style?
I didn’t know either until after I fully furnished this room and was looking into how to characterize it. (I’m new to design, and learning as I go!) When I came across the term “California Casual”, it was as if they were describing this room –
The California Casual style is characterized by neutral and earthly colors synonymous with nature. The walls and the comfortable upholstered furniture are almost always white, off-white, and/or neutral-colored, with a mix of caramel leather, organic wood, and textured accessories and wall art. The element of bringing the outdoors in with color and texture also translates literally with the addition of lots of green plants!
Styling the room
The rug and the wall art were the only pieces that I came in with. I bought this rug last year when we lived in the Seaport of Boston, and I knew I wanted to incorporate it into this room. To fill the rest of the room, I started a couple Google Docs with my To-Buy lists, color palettes (neutrals & earthy). I also included links to few options for each piece I was looking for.
The first thing I was looking for were a pair of neutral-colored statement chairs. I wanted to build the room around these. I found the chairs that I ended up using pretty quickly, and loved their unique angels and style. Although they are actually meant to be outdoor chairs, I thought they would fit perfectly in our room. I looked at what felt like every other chair on the internet, but kept coming back to these ones. I was a little skeptical to buy the chairs online without testing them in person, but I took the risk when I saw the rave reviews about how comfortable they are. They were right! Armless chairs, or slipper chairs, are also great for groups and socializing, as they are very versatile and can be sat in sideways. (Thanks for the tip, Lauren Liess!)
After I found my chairs, I found a neutral couch that matched the low-seated and almost midcentury style of our chairs. Luckily, we did get into the store to test out this couch in person (complete with masks and sanitizer). I don’t recommend buying a big ticket item like a couch online without testing it out first! My boyfriend’s only requirement for this room was a big, comfortable couch. It checked out! The depth of this couch creates the cozy cocoon that we were looking for. It also has one long seat cushion, giving the TV remote less places to hide.
We had to get a big ottoman for lounging because my boyfriend lost the battle for a sectional. I LOVE this ottoman! I wanted to incorporate caramel leather, and this was the perfect way. Because we chose the ottoman, we did forego a traditional coffee table. When we need a surface for eating, drinking, or entertaining, I place a large square tray on the ottoman.
The stools also come in handy for holding food & drink, and they tend to float around the room as needed. When we watch TV, we take the tray off the ottoman and pull it close to the couch for lounging. The ottoman is also very kid friendly (no harsh corners!). We don’t have kids yet, but our niece and nephew love playing on it. (Just stay on your bums!)
Because I didn’t want to overdo the heavy brown color, I started looking for a lighter-colored end table. I found this beautiful two-tiered, natural raffia end table with a matching console for the opposite side of the room. These lighter raffia pieces add brightness and texture to the room.
Next, I added greenery (and will probably add more). Adding green plants will make any room feel more comfortable, inviting, and fresh. Also, bringing the outdoors in is a key element to the California Casual design style. Aside from looking pretty, live plants improve indoor air quality. However, if you don’t have the sunlight or time to care for live plants, fake plants are completely acceptable! I found a few fake plants that are similar to my Dracaena Dorado from Bloomscape:
SHOP FAKE PLANTS:
Finally, the wall art that I had in our previous apartment in Boston fit the spot above the couch perfectly. This beautiful made-to-order piece from Etsy is made from sustainability sourced wood in the US. Because this room is so window and door heavy, above the couch is the only spot for wall art. To create symmetry, we hung our TV opposite the wall art.
I am very pleased with the final product. 🙂
Stay tuned as I share more of our home as it comes together!