A Boho-Chic Cali Beach Cottage Full of Family Fun

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Name: Caryn, Edward, and their two sons Kai and Beckett (plus their two pitbulls Dexter and Nuggett)
Location: Santa Cruz, California
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 11 years

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Caryn and Edward bought their beach cottage on the west side of Santa Cruz, California 11 years ago to raise their growing family. The family is happy to call the quiet street with beach views their home, though the inside isn’t quite as hushed as the street scene outside. During the photo shoot, the boys and their two dogs shuffled in the living room, trying to sit still for a photo. However, it’s those moments that inspire Caryn and Edward every day.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

A few years ago, Caryn chose to leave her job as a marine biology professor behind to focus on her art, design and her house full of boys (her design company is called House of Boys Art + Design). Luckily, the city of Santa Cruz allows people to build sheds in backyards under certain conditions, and they were able to place a prefab shed right in the middle, where Caryn spends a lot of her time painting contemporary art.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

The house’s style fluctuates between boho-chic and the clean lines of mid-century modern décor. Caryn—who takes charge of most of the decorations—tries to keep the furniture simple and clean with wood tables, dark neutral upholstery, and white walls, but she accessorizes with color whenever possible. “Purchasing our small house has taught me to use my creative talents to re-conceptualize my family’s evolving relationship to our living space.”

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Mid-century modern combined with boho-­chic

Inspiration: My beautiful beach town of Santa Cruz and my boys

Favorite Element: It is always changing, but right now it is my studio!

Biggest Challenge: Living in a small space! Managing two wild boys and two high-energy pitbulls who leave sand, dirt, food wrappers and wet suits all over the house! Also , the one bathroom we share in our house! Lets just say sharing a bathroom with young boys is not easy.

What Friends Say: “Lets see what has moved this week”

Biggest Embarrassment: Oh, so many to choose from. I will start with all of the holes in my walls from constantly moving my art around the house. Right now it is currently the dirt patch in my outdoor living space in my backyard. We planted a lawn 6 months before the drought in California.

Proudest DIY: My headboard made of cork floor tiles and the modified IKEA stainless steel kitchen work table ­ both made by my husband. For the kitchen, my husband added redwood planks to hide the open shelving in our small space.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Biggest Indulgence: My art studio and our outdoor shower

Best Advice: Don’t be afraid of change. Furniture rearrangment can completely change a room. Rotate your art around your house ­ some pieces look totally different with different light and furniture.

Dream Sources: DWR, Stripe Design, Room and Board, Dwell Studio

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)
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Caryn and Edward bought their beach cottage on the west side of Santa Cruz, California 11 years ago to raise their growing family. (Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Thanks, Caryn and Edward!

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