Before & After: A Cookie Cutter Suburban Home-Turned-Vintage Surf Hideaway

updated Apr 30, 2019

Before & After: A Cookie Cutter Suburban Home-Turned-Vintage Surf Hideaway

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Rachel and Nick Kuchar
Location: Ewa Beach, Hawaii
Size: 2,040 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years, owned

We turned our cookie cutter suburban home into the vintage surf hideaway we had dreamed of. We were given a 1950s Gordon & Smith longboard from a relative and that began our love affair with the era. I asked my husband, a graphic designer, to make some art for the house since I couldn’t find anything that was just right. My husband now sells the vintage style surf art he designed for our walls.

Most of our furniture is from Craigslist or DIY, with one splurge on our CB2 dining table. We built the turquoise coffee table in the family room using reclaimed wood from a 1950s hanger and pigmented surfboard resin. We tried to select materials that vacuum and clean easily since we do live near the beach with 1-year-old twins and a dog. We enjoy having friends over and playing music. We call this “pau hana” in Hawaii, a time after work to sit back, relax, and have fun with friends. We’re thankful for the space and hope others are inspired by it.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Vintage surf hideaway.

Inspiration: A 1950s Gordon & Smith surfboard given to us by a relative.

Favorite Element: Ahh it’s hard to pick one, so let’s do three. Obviously our vintage surfboard given to us. I love that it was hand shaped with so much attention to detail. It has beautiful turquoise stripes and the subtle aging of the board gives it a beautiful off-white color.

My husband’s art is also very near and dear to us. Each piece just reminds me how blessed we are to call Hawaii home and a special time or vacation we shared together. I love that our old Dalmatian along with our VW bus is illustrated in the art in our family room. Also, one of my favorite elements is surprisingly the pink rug in the family room. It adds a lot of color and interest while camouflaging stains and dirt.

Proudest DIY: My parents and I hand-painted the kitchen cabinets! Wow, what a huge difference! We had put off this project for so long because we were scared of it. Scared it would be splotchy, scratch easily, and just be too hard. But we put the fears aside and just decided to go for it. I read a lot of how-tos and got all the supplies. The hardest part was sanding and lots of time painting, but a good playlist will get you through it! I couldn’t be happier with the results. Totally transformed our kitchen and a year later it still looks great, no scratches!

Biggest Indulgence: Our biggest indulgence was our dining room table from CB2. I just love that it can hold up to eight people and the style. Oh and the wood grain is totally yummy!

Best Advice: Find art you love and surround yourself with it—whether it’s bought, photographed, or made by your kids… It’s amazing how colors and memories can bring you joy on a daily basis.


Kitchen walls — Behr Graycloth
Kitchen cabinets — Behr Ultra White
Dining room mural — Behr Underwater, cascade green, lime light
Entrance and family room — Behr Aged Beige

Floor lamp — West Elm
Surfboard — From our great uncle
TV stand — IKEA
Art — Nick Kuchar
Floor pouf — TJ Maxx

Leather sectional — Craigslist
Pillows — Target
Art — Nick Kuchar
Pink rug —
Ceramic hula girl — Flea market find
Coasters — Nick Kuchar
Piano — Craigslist
Piano bench — World Market
Coffee table — DIY

Art — Nick Kuchar
Dining table — CB2
Chairs — IKEA
Stencil — Etsy
Light — Lowes

Banquette and table — DIY
Faux living walls — DIY (fake foliage from Michael’s)
Lighting — West Elm
Flooring — Lifeproof sterling oak from Home Depot

Thanks, Nick and Rachel!

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