A Formerly ’70s Beige and Brown Home Now Has Wes Anderson Vibes

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Bedrooms
Square feet
1232
Sq ft
1232
A white living room with a gray sectional sofa and large windows
Credit: Yvonne Yuen

Yvonne Yuen; husband, Nikolas Pattantyus; rescue dog, Zissou; and eight hens have been living in this home for six years: Our little home is a modest rancher with over two acres of land and a private pond. We’re located at the heart of Cape May County, less than five minutes from the Bay, and around 10 minutes to the ocean. We wanted our home to honor both its coastal and farm settings.

Credit: Yvonne Yuen

The house we bought was beige and brown. It had clearly not been updated since it was built in the ’70s. There was no charm about it, except for the beautiful land and the abundant windows that filled the house with light. We immediately got to work, ripping up floors, taking out cabinets, and adding color everywhere.

Credit: Yvonne Yuen

We lived in this house for six years, and every year, we worked on one or two DIY projects: I would design and buy and boss, and my husband did all the grunt work, learning as he went. Every reno was completed by us ourselves, with the exception of the kitchen countertop installation, which we left to the pros.

Credit: Yvonne Yuen

In 2022, we tried to sell the house, but couldn’t find the right buyer, so we are now leasing it out to vacationers. We get so many compliments on the design that I felt encouraged to share our home with you at Apartment Therapy.

Credit: Yvonne Yuen

While we no longer live here, we still belong to this home, and this home belongs to us. All the photography displayed around the house is by us. Much of the artwork was created by me (although I am not an artist). Nothing is “decoration;” every detail is an expression of our love for authenticity, originality, and travel.

We think we’ve achieved a light-hearted, easy-breezy home, elevated by a sophisticated palette. Many homes around us use the same color palette. Not us. This is our take on beach vibes and it’s deeply meaningful to us. Our idea of coastal draws from all the coasts we’ve visited around the world.

Credit: Yvonne Yuen

The jewel-tone blue and rich green of the bedrooms are inspired by Nik’s time on the ocean. Many of the throw pillows are direct from Morocco (one of my favorite coasts in the world). The common area is inspired by my love for the Mediterranean. A few of our walls feature hand-drawn details by me. I was very nervous about doing it, but luckily my husband loved those walls.

Credit: Yvonne Yuen

There’s a bunk bed built into the closet of the guest bedroom. That bed was created and built for my little nephew out of our love for him … and for Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic (our dog, Zissou, was named for Bill Murray’s character in the movie!).

When we put this house together, I wondered: What would it look like if Wes Anderson created a movie in Greece? That was the guiding idea. We wanted maximum charm and color.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or fewer: Wes Anderson vacationing in Greece.

Credit: Yvonne Yuen

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the kitchen. It’s the first room we worked on in the house, and it informed many of the design decisions we made around our home. Because it was our first DIY, it also gave us the confidence to keep going, DIY project after DIY project until we got to the home we have today. Finally, it’s the room that we spend the most time in. We both love to eat and cook. Our favorite date night is for my husband to make pasta from scratch while I make the sauce.

Credit: Yvonne Yuen

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I am constantly buying plants, plants, and more plants! My husband says I’ve spent more money outside of the house than inside of the house, but that’s not hard to do when you have two acres!

Any advice for creating a home you love? Keep functionality a part of the design equation. Thrift often. Always have sentimental items nearby.

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