This Cheery California Home’s Hand-Built Woodwork Is Must-See

published Apr 6, 2018

This Cheery California Home’s Hand-Built Woodwork Is Must-See

published Apr 6, 2018
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Name: Peter and Jana Deeble and their four kids
Location: Long Beach, California
Years lived in: 7 years, rent to own

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For 14 years, Long Beach resident Peter Deeble was a math teacher who had a side hobby of designing and building furniture. In the beginning the work was just meant as a way to furnish his and his wife’s (to whom he’s been married for 15 years!) home. But when Peter saw the positive response his work was getting, he decided to start a blog to showcase the pieces he put so much care into making. It wasn’t long before people were asking to buy, and from there his furniture making evolved into what is now a full-time business.

Though Peter and Jana have their hands full with running an entire business and raising their four kids, they love working together on their home, which has evolved into a space that highlights both simplicity and warmth. The two find inspiration in the Danish Modern style, but don’t attempt to constrain their tastes to one particular look. Jana, who is a full-time mom, is inspired by nature and the textures around her and looks to bring those elements into their home.

Peter is constantly in awe of his wife’s drive and creative energy; she has been the driving force behind most of the aesthetic decisions in their house, including major projects such as tearing out the kitchen and a number of walls. She also loves to cook and exercise and together they love to walk, ride bikes, watch their kids play sports, and go on family adventures. Pete plays soccer and skateboards and they both love to listen to music and dance together (as you can see in their extensive record collection). This is a home that’s as happy and vibrant as it looks.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: We love simple, minimal lines with bursts of warmth…we are certainly inspired by Danish Modern but have never limited ourselves to anything from any one particular era. We’ve attempted to be mindful of a realistic balance between form and function. We have a small home with lots of kids so we’ve had to be creative in making our vision work with our home. We have become minimalists out of necessity.

We are attracted to natural materials and pieces with heirloom qualities or stories. Jana loves to go to estate sales and find buried treasures that carry a sense of history with them.

Inspiration: Peter: Our inspiration probably started from living in Long Beach. We used to live near so-called “retro row” in Long Beach, and so we were constantly seeing mid-century modern pieces and just fell in love with that motif. In general, we have both always loved old things and have a fondness for bygone eras. We are also inspired by music and old records.

Jana: I do not find Long Beach particularly inspiring…I am inspired by light and space and texture. I love being in nature and I love to bring much of that inspiration into our home. I love to find beautiful things in unexpected places (I’ve been known to pull off the highway to pick flowers).

Favorite Element: We really love our bar. We used to have a wall there that blocked off the kitchen from the rest of the house and made Jana feel cooped up when she was cooking. We tore down the wall and replaced it with a bar. It completely transformed the functionality of our kitchen and the dynamics of hosting. It has become the epicenter of our house in many respects. Our kids do their homework there, it’s the place to sit for quick meals, and it’s where we tend to congregate when we have friends over to dinner.

I also love our TV…it’s covered by a piece of art, and it appears to the unknowing eye that we actually don’t have a TV. We have really wanted our home to feel like a place where technology is not a focal point. We like the idea of walking in and not being greeted by a TV.

Finally, we really love the pegboard that we hang pots and pans on. It’s so functional and such an interesting way to use a wall. We got the idea from that movie Julia and Julia…we were trying to figure out a solution for where to hang our pots in our small kitchen when we happened to watch that movie and noticed the pegboard in the background in Julia Child’s kitchen. We both looked at each other and knew that was our new plan. I actually drilled all the holes in the pegboard by hand since we wanted to use that specific type of plywood that is not available as pegboard.

Biggest Challenge: Like many others, we are largely constrained by time, money (and youth sports). Our limited financial means necessitate taking on most projects ourselves. It’s made for a slow renovation process. And because of our four kids and all of their various activities, it’s difficult to devote the time necessary to sustain home improvement projects. Much of our home improvement happens in a piece meal fashion, often at night when the kids are asleep.

What Friends Say: Not sure, but hopefully they are saying nice things. They all seem to like the bar; it’s made hosting a much more enjoyable endeavor for them and us.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our front bathroom has been a nagging eyesore ever since we moved in. It has crappy home depot cabinets, cheap off-the-shelf fixtures, awful lighting, no fan, and wainscoting…oh yeah and bad tile. Everything about it is embarrassing.

Proudest DIY: Our kitchen was about 85% DIY. The countertops and tile were done by professionals, but the cabinets, shelves, plumbing etc. was done by us. And the design was primarily my wife with some input from me.

Biggest Indulgence: Probably our refrigerator…We paid over $2000 to keep food cold…but it fits our space perfectly and looks so good!

Best Advice: Try to be content with what you have and make small strides towards improvement where you can. Don’t compare yourself to your others, just be faithful with what you have and enjoy it. This is the advice we give to ourselves all the time.

Dream Sources: Jana has a list of dream pieces she would like me to build…this list includes a makeup vanity for our bedroom, new cabinets in the hallway, new vanities in the bathroom and a new dining table. So basically the dream source is an endless amount of time to build lots of new pieces for our home.


One of our favorite pieces is wall art by Curtis Jere. When we lived in our condo we had an eccentric neighbor who ran a makeshift mid-century modern store out of his house and we got so many amazing pieces from him, and this was one of them. It’s a beautiful sunburst metal sculpture.

We also have a record shelf that I built that is one of the first things you see…it’s built from pecan hickory plywood with exposed edges.

Our piano is a family heirloom that I grew up learning to play on.

We have a piece of art above the piano that we got from a local art dealer named John Davis (instagram @feltneeds). He is a rad guy and gets really great stuff.

To the side of our door is a small side table prototype that I designed and built with intention of becoming a night stand in our bedroom. Jana didn’t go for it in the bedroom and it disappeared in my shop for a while but somehow surfaced in the entry space and seems to feel right there. The pot on top of it is from Peacock and Company, which is a modern house plant store in Long Beach.

Our sofa is a sectional by Paul McCobb that we found at a vintage furniture store in Los Angeles. We love it but we’re bummed because we paid a ton of money to get it reupholstered about two years ago, and the fabric that we used turned out to be a bad product that is falling apart. Now we need to reupholster it again.

Our light fixture is from Cerno, which is a lighting design/manufacture firm in Irvine, CA. I’ve gotten to know the guys who started that company. They are really friendly and a big inspiration to me. I’m really grateful to have one of their lights as the centerpiece of our living room.

The art that hides our TV is from one of our good friends Matt Wignall. Matt is an amazing artist and has been a real benefactor in my business. He built my website and took tons of pictures and videos of my furniture.

The frame for the TV was a fun DIY project that my dad and I took on. The wood is jatoba, which is a lovely South American timber that I use from time to time, and which also is used on the mantel.

The stereo cabinet is one of my original designs. I’ve only built one like it, although I eventually hope to make some small tweaks to the design and build more. The canvas in the doors was inspired by Matt Wignall.

The turntable is from Pro-ject. After putting up with second-hand turntables for the past twenty years Jana decided it was finally time for me to have a really nice one and bought that for my birthday. It’s phenomenal.

The lamp/table/magazine rack is one of our favorite pieces, we got it from a vintage store on 4th street (in Long Beach) probably 10 years ago. The shade really needs to be replaced but otherwise it’s just perfect.

The rocking chair is original Danish Modern by Hans Olsen. My good friend and designer John Douglas found that chair abandoned on a street in LA. It was a bit beat up but he knew I would want it. I repaired the wood and we got it re-caned and some new cushions made and now it’s one of our favorite pieces.

The coffee table is one that I built for a customer in Baltimore, but ended up with some small mistakes (the kind that only I would be aware of) so I kept it for myself and built another one for my customer. It’s pretty close to being a replica of an original Danish Modern design. I almost never agree to replica work but I had to make an exception for this one because I loved it so much and, as far as I could tell, it was not available to buy anywhere.

The black and white pillow is from IKEA, the yellow pillows and the cream tassel pillows are from Target, and the other pillows were made by Jana.

Our dining table was bought the day before our first son was born. Jana and I were driving two separate cars (I think to take one of them to the junkyard because it wouldn’t pass smog) and we drove by a garage sale. We both noticed this table and pulled over independently of each other. The table with a set of chairs was $80. I refinished the table and we eventually ditched the chairs and replaced them with others. It’s something we’d like to replace eventually but it’s been a pretty solid part of the house for the past 11 years.

The chairs are now a combination of Danish Modern originals (we have two of those from a garage sale) and Herman Miller knock-off fiberglass style chairs that we bought on Amazon. Our daughter’s high chair has served all four of our children well…it’s by Svan.

The light fixture above the table is from IKEA. They don’t seem to carry it anymore, which helps make it feel a bit more unique I suppose.

The China hutch was a Craigslist buy about six or seven years ago. I’m pretty sure it’s rosewood. The hinges that hold the glass doors are so elegant.

The kilim rug was a craigslist find that Jana deserves all the credit for. She found it then worked really hard to convince me that we needed it. After much resistance I gave in and now I love it.

The weaving on the wall is by a local Long Beach artist named Farron Feiner. I did a pop-up show with her once and fell in love with her stuff.

In our kitchen we tried to work with what was already there, so the lower cabinets are the same cheap Home Depot cabinets that were in the house when we got it, but Jana painted them and I put in new walnut doors and drawer fronts. I also put in the floating shelves above, which was all Jana’s idea. I also built the bar and the pegboard dish hanging wall.

The refrigerator is by Fisher Paykel
The oven is by Bertazonni
The hood is from IKEA
The pendant hanging over the sink is from West Elm

The faucet is from Dish Master I grew up using a dish master to do dishes. When we were working on the kitchen my parents mentioned that Dish Master had come out with a more modern looking version and we took one look and were in. If you’ve never used a dish master you really should.

Dishwasher: Bosch We really like how the handle on this dishwasher is recessed into the door…it feels really similar to the pulls on our cabinet drawers.

The black and white rug is from Target. The round rug is from Cost Plus. The white ceramic jars on the shelves are from IKEA, and sadly they don’t carry them anymore, a fact we learned the hard way when one of them broke. The spice jars are from Cost Plus. We have a random assortment of Heath dishes that we inherited from my parents.

In the master bedroom we have a bed that I designed and built called the Lean Bed. The bedding is from Parachute. They are an up-and-coming company and everything they make has a natural quality that we are really in love with. Shams, sheets, coverlet, quilt

Our dresser is also one that I designed and built.
The night stands are also my design.
The mirror is from West Elm.
The plant stand is my design.
The walnut closet doors were something I built to replace the awful plastic doors that were there when we moved in.
The rug is something we picked up from my friend and designer John Douglas.

The beds are my design/build and the light fixture is from IKEA.

The rope ladder going up to Faye’s bed was something we found on Amazon and the rug went up shortly after the ladder because of the footprints and loud sound of the ladder banging on the wall.

Miscellaneous art is either by our kids or Jana or from Farron. The closet doors were something I built to replace the crappy fake gold mirror doors that were there before.

The dresser was inherited from Jana’s grandparents. The play oven is from IKEA and the play refrigerator is from Hape.

The bunk bed in our boys room is one of my early builds…we’ve had it for about seven years or so. It’s simultaneously a wonderful, functional bunk bed and a reminder of how far I’ve come as a craftsman.

The dresser was another Craigslist score…I think it was $100. It’s really cheaply built with particle board but that’s real teak veneer and it looks great for the price (and for a kids room).

The bookshelf was originally built to complement the record shelves in our living room. It’s built from the same material with the same design approach but after a number of room changes it ended up in the boys’ room.

The miniature book shelf aka walnut wall cubby above the bunk bed has been really helpful in giving our oldest son Luke a place to store his “in rotation” books. He’s an avid reader and has already read more books in his 11 years than my wife and I combined. His collection is growing fast and will require more book shelves soon.

The desk was born out of the simple question: What’s the fastest way to get a desk in the boys’ room that doesn’t require spending any money? I used a piece of teak veneer that I got from my mechanic (of all people, I know) and some scrap maple and some wall brackets that had been used for something else in the past.

The art on the wall is also from our friend John Davis. The orange light fixture is from IKEA.

Our bathrooms are rather uninspired, they’ve been our last priority. There is nothing in them that deserves mention…basically a hodgepodge of IKEA and/or Craigslist and tolerating what was there when we moved in. The bathrooms are begging for a remodel that will hopefully happen one day.

Our garage has a couch from IKEA, a toy chest from IKEA, and a long cabinet that we got from an estate sale. Jana painted it and we sanded down some OSB plywood to make the top.

The desk was an heirloom inherited from Jana’s grandparents. The air hockey table was a Craigslist find and the kite painting is from our friend Joel Heflin.

The walnut wall cubbies are my design/build. The cabinets were designed by us and cut at a shop in Santa Ana that occasionally does CNC work for me. The fan is from Lowes. The posters are left over from my days of teaching high school math.

Thanks, Peter and Jana!

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