Barbara's Boho Hillside Garden

House Tour

Name: Barbara Jarvik Location: Echo Park, California Size: 780 square feet Years lived in: 10.5

We didn't have to go far to visit Barbara's home for this Apartment Therapy House Tour. Nestled in the hills of Echo Park, we were happy to find that she lives right down the street. Unlike our home, Barbara has views on both sides with corner windows that let tons of light in. We were also amazed with Barbara's contribution (or rather creation) of her backyard. Filled with every kind of succulent imaginable, we were thrilled to take away choice cuttings that she offered to us...

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To see the huge transformation for yourself, make sure to look at the last photo of the gallery where we've included a "Before" photo when Barbara bought the house. It started out as an overgrown backyard filled with weeds--which Barbara completely overhauled and turned into an outdoor retreat.

Once we were able to stop oohing and ahhing over the backyard, Barbara invited us inside her adorable home. Persian rugs filled the space, adding to the home's charm and coziness. We also loved how Barbara mixed in reds and purples, which contrast nicely with the dark hardwood floors. Every room seemed to ooze light and texture--lending an open and airy vibe to the home. What impresses us most about Barbara is her DIY prowess (indoors and out). Turning kitchen cabinets into a multi-functional center island (for eating and storage) is genius. Tiling the top herself, she chose a dark green to bring in the outdoors.

AT Survey:

My style: Eclectic, whimsical, practical

Inspiration: Beautiful vistas of all kinds

Favorite Element: Light on all sides

Biggest Challenge: Starting from the house as it was (i.e. working with and around "defects" I would be living with). Decorating on an extremely low budget.

What Friends Say: I love your house!

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Biggest Embarrassment: After dreaming of wood floors for 6 years while living with 4 animals and the initially white carpet that was installed before I bought the house, I let the man who put down my living room's board floors convince me to lay them lengthwise. It ended up only accentuating the narrowness of the room and I preferred that they go the other way. He got what he wanted (less work to do) and I lost the chance to make the room appear a little wider. However, the floors still make me happy, even if they were laid in the wrong direction.

Proudest DIY: #1. My garden!!!!! It was mostly crabgrass with a few established plants here and there when I got the house. I made the beds and the paths. Sometimes the house presents me with garden opportunities--like when we had to cut a drain in the patio, leaving me with huge narrow slabs of concrete (which became the walls of one of the garden beds). In some senses, the garden is just an outgrowth of whatever was happening around the house and in the neighborhood--including plants that blew in on the breeze.

#2. Kitchen island I made from some ready-made cabinets. I had a piece of wood cut to fit the top and tiled that myself with Mexican tiles. It really works in my kitchen.

Biggest Indulgence: Tchotchkes

Best advice: If you like the way it looks and it functions, keep it that way!

Dream source: The idea of magic places

Inspiration: Beautiful arrangements of objects, nature

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Appliances: Wonderful old O'Keefe & Merritt stove, which I embellished with some magnetic tiles my sister in law sent me for Christmas one year. I tried the tiles out early one evening, starting at the refrigerator and advancing around the room until they ended up over the stove in the middle of the night. And there they stayed.

Furniture: Nice mid-century style sofa from Urban Outfitters. Some lovely yard sale finds, including two handpainted chests, a dog table, a table with nice turned legs, & a lot of very pedestrian items that work with the whole. Many gifts from the street that needed a home and coat of paint and, having gotten them, helped bring my home to life.

Accessories: Art, plants, objects from nature. Mirrors, angels, books.

Lighting: Ikea ceiling fixtures, and a vintage glass hanging light you hang high on the wall but plug in. A few additional small accent lights around the house.

Rugs and Carpets: Persian rugs, each bought for a song thanks to Craigslist.

Tiles and Stone: Some Mexican patterned tile on kitchen island and on tub surround in bathroom, bisazza tile (Craigslist, too!) on bathroom floor.

Window Treatments: Ikea hardware, buy-the-fabric-&-stitch-it-yourself curtains.

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Artwork: A set (about 11) of Chinese hand painted bird paintings my parents got on a trip to the East; some paintings by friends and lots of folk art acquired from store sales or yard sales over the years.

Paint: Colors vary by room and character of room. The office for example, is painted peach to complement the sunsets that can be viewed from there. Bedroom is blue, green, peaceful and quiet colors. The entry room, which is the one room that doesn't get much light, smacks you with lavender as you come in. When I bought the house, I painted it and put up the curtains, then moved in. The initial decoration WAS the paint and the curtains. These still please me after all these years. I plan to keep the colors but refresh the rooms with new coats of paint in a month or so.

Flooring: Wood look laminate

(Thanks, Barbara!)

Photos By Beth Zeigler

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