I don’t like to repeat myself, but what I said Monday bears repeating: Boho is always about the mix. Sometimes it’s a mash-up of vintage hand-me-downs and new finds, while other times, as in this tour, it’s thrifted finds and bargains paired with a few big investments for visual impact.
Homeowner Isadora Gullov-Singh‘s history as a bargain-hunter goes back to her pre-designer days in New York City. “When I lived in my first apartment, flea markets and thrift shops were how I afforded furniture,” she says.
That habit actually led her and husband Arnie to their 1950s-era home in Oakland, CA. “We were driving in the neighborhood when we spotted a sign for an estate sale, which we couldn’t resist,” she recalls. “But once we got inside, we were more enthralled with the house!”
What followed was an eight-month reno to create a more open floorplan and update the kitchen and bathrooms, all of which exhausted the couple’s budget. But not to worry; Isadora shifted her thrifting skills into high gear with DIY upholstery, secondhand finds and IKEA buys to offset a few carefully selected new purchases.
Isadora kept her eyes peeled for 1950s pieces as a nod to the period in which the home was built. The side table and coffee table in the living room were both secondhand finds, and the baby grand piano came with the hosue. The one splurge in the space was the sofabed, but most everything else was either a Target or IKEA bargain.
Isadora found the living room’s 1950s credenza for all of $100, and the brass artichoke pendant came from an estate sale.
“Decorating is a balancing act,” she explains, “and mixing old pieces with new ones makes a house look and feel like a home.”
The couple bought kitchen cabinets and countertops during an IKEA sale. The big splurge here was on the marble tile backsplash.
A slipcovered IKEA sectional suits up the family room for the rough-and-tumble world of a young, active family. Isadora included family photos, as well as secondhand artwork and creations by her two boys in the gallery wall display.
The chrome chairs in the play corner of the family room were $40 each at a flea market 15 years ago. Isadora has recovered the seats several times since.
One son’s bedroom pays homage to his dad’s English heritage with a Union Jack theme. The rug was a new find, but the nightstand and desk are vintage finds, and the stop sign cost $10 at a salvage yard. Isadora made the headboard by sewing fabric around a lumbar pillow and attaching it to the wall.
Isadora customized the IKEA bed in her other son’s bedroom by covering drawer fronts with cork contact paper stained walnut. made Roman’s IKEA storage bed look custom by covering the drawer fronts with cork contact paper that she stained walnut. A neighbor put the headboard out for trash, and Isadora scooped it up and reupholstered. She found the bird wall sculptures on eBay and the wood nightstand for $5 at an estate sale.
Likewise, the master bedroom only LOOKS pricey. Isadora recovered her existing headboard. Artwork hanging over it are inexpensive pencil drawings from an estate sale she reframed. The Moroccan brass pendant came from a salvage company.
If you want more…
- Use the HGTV Magazine style guide above to help you capture a similar look in your home.
- Continue your tour of “A California Home Full of Big Bargains and Big Style” on the HGTV Magazine website.
- Isadora has her own design business, as well as a blog charting her reno and ongoing hunt for great deals. Check out her website and blog, Relocated Living. You can also follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
- Click on the affiliate links below to subscribe to HGTV Magazine and/or purchase books to help you achieve a vintage mix in your own home.