Sean & Sara's Minimal Americana

Sean & Sara's Minimal Americana

Bethany Nauert
May 14, 2012

Name: Sean and Sara Woolsey
Location: East side — Costa Mesa, CA
Size: 1200 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year — Rent

Sean Woolsey is an artist, specializing in hand crafted furniture design and fine art. He brings the artistry involved in his DIY goods home, where he shares a one bedroom cottage with his wife Sara. Together they have created a minimal, clean, approach to vintage Americana accented with industrial touches.

Sean and Sara were married last year and just moved into their new house. It really does look like the classic all-American dream with its picket fence and lovely garden. Sara noted during our shoot how much fun it's been this past year, as every day she comes home to some new creation or decorative touch to the house. Sean has an appreciation for reclaimed wood and vintage military style.

Sean and Sara note that the most significant things in their home are "the George Nakashima Conoid chair I recently built of black walnut" and "my desk that Sean built for me as a birthday gift before we were married. It was the first piece of furniture he ever made." Realizing that designing their home is a matter of "being yourself at all times, and having your space really reflect you", their aim was to be as authentic as possible.

Tying in their love for the history of their California beach town home and fine craftsmanship, the Woolseys adopted the idea of simple styling and open space. "Our house has a great heritage, as it was built in 1941. A lot of craftsmanship went into the construction, including but not limited to: oak floors, sash windows, a cone wood burning fireplace, a cove ceiling, etc. In the 60's a group of artists and potters lived and worked in our house. The brick walkway in the backyard is from a large brick kiln that they used. We respectfully and intentionally have maintained and shown off these vintage details, while adding some modern flair with our personal aesthetic."

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic MidCentury Craftsman.

Inspiration: Our travels, friends, wabi-sabi.

Favorite Element: Our breakfast nook in the shining morning light and winter evenings we really enjoy the 1960's cone fireplace.

Biggest Challenge: Small amount of storage space and no garage.

What Friends Say: They love it, and admire the changes that are always being made. We really try to have a convivial environment, and often have friends over for dinner and drinks, whether it is in the winter making pizza and hanging by the fire, or in our front yard barbecuing.

Biggest Embarrassment: Linoleum floors in kitchen and bath. That is next on Sean's list of things to do.

Proudest DIY: Sean: building the fence, and for Sara: the laser engraved mirrors.

Biggest Indulgence: Yet to come.

Best Advice: Be yourself. Let your space change with you. Buy things of lasting value.

Dream Sources: Crafting your own things, anything Sam Maloof, flea markets, ABC Carpet and Home, Heath Ceramics, glassware from Mexico.

Resources of Note:


    • Behr: Swiss Coffee White


    • Macrome Succulents: made by Sean
    • Chairs: vintage
    • Come In/ Go Away Doormat: Amazon


    • Couch: made by Sean
    • Walnut coffee Table: made by Sean
    • Art on sheet metal: made by Sean
    • Wood Burning fireplace: "This is why we moved in"-Sean
    • Pipe and flange wall shelving unit: made by Sean
    • Rope Overhead Lighting: made by Sean
    • Sara's desk: made by Sean
    • Flag: Vintage
    Desk Lamp: made by Sean
    • Ekornes of Norway chair: Estate Sale $4 find
    • Conoid Chair: made by Sean


    • Walnut dining table: made by Sean
    • Lights: Ikea- Spraypainted Matte Black
    • Breakfast nook: made by Sean
    • Granite Countertop-Our awesome neighbors gave it to us


    • Ceiling lamp: made by Sean
    • Wood Wall with bookshelf: made by Sean
    • Quilt: Sundance Catalog
    • Additional Closet/Denim Rack: made by Sean

Thanks, Sara and Sean!

(Images: Bethany Nauert)

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