A Retired Senior’s Small California Condo Is a Mix of Old and New

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Living room with a small dog sitting on grey Pottery Barn sofa.
Credit: Marilou Belo

Name: Marilou and Cavalier King Charles, Archie
Location: Walnut Creek, California
Type of home: Apartment turned condo
Size: 708 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, owned

Credit: Marilou Belo

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there. After my 40-year marriage ended, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to afford to live alone, as I’m a retired senior. With careful planning, and by the skin of my teeth, I was able to buy a little one-bedroom condo in a town I love in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve owned several large homes (when married) so I had to decide what stays and what goes. I kept the things that are most important to me and have made them work in this small space. I share it with my Cavalier King Charles, Archie.

Credit: Marilou Belo

My passion has always been my home decorating and styling. It brings me my most joy. I would say mostly in the accessorizing. I find that that is also reflected in my personal jewelry accessories style as well. It’s all about the accessories for me! I love neutrals as much as I love color. Anything goes, as long as it’s cohesive to my eye.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or fewer: Sentimental, eclectic, old, and new.

Credit: Marilou Belo

What is your favorite room and why? I love all five rooms in my home. Each room has old and new. My grandmother’s solid walnut dining table and hutch. My other grandmother’s round mirror that hangs in my bathroom. In my bedroom I have an old tea cart that I use as a side table. Everywhere I look I’m reminded of someone or something from days gone by. I equally love the new pieces I’ve purchased over the years.

Credit: Marilou Belo

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I was gifted a Pottery Barn sofa from a daughter of a friend who was moving and couldn’t use. It was only 10 months old. That was a big score!

Credit: Marilou Belo

Any advice for creating a home you love? I’m older so I’ve had a lot of time to accumulate things I love. I tell those that are just starting out to take your time when selecting larger, important pieces. Look at pictures and figure your style and go from there. It’s such a personal journey so have fun with it!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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