A Small California Bungalow Shows How to Use a Lot of Black But Still Keep it Light

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Name: Victor Hoffman and brother
Location: La Mesa, California
Type of home: California Bungalow
Size: 892 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years, owned

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My house is a small two-bedroom California bungalow that was built in 1942. It’s my first home and I’ve really enjoyed putting my stamp on the place. Shortly after I put in new cabinets and appliances and opened up the living areas I was featured on Apartment Therapy, and over the past two years I’ve continued to update.

The dining area enjoys the most light and most plants rotate through here.

Though black and white and green are still my main color story, I’ve added pops of warmth via a little leather and lighter wood. It feels more and more like home with each edit. My little brother has been living with me for the past three years which works well with my travel for work.

My first attempt at tiling a wall.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Organic, Scandi-industrial meets mid-century.

The tile on floors and behind the stove, the concrete countertop, and the shelving are all DIY.

What is your favorite room and why? I’m most proud of the work I did in the kitchen remodel because it’s almost 100% my blood, sweat, and tears. However, the living room is my favorite area. It’s a great room with a lot of function and I like the story it tells. My love of surfing. A nod to my Midwestern/Southern roots. A green thumb. Someone who appreciates a good cocktail, mezcal or whiskey and, I’d like to think, a guy with decent ability in home design. Most importantly it’s a welcome place to escape after a week on the road or enjoy drinks with friends.

My love of surfing is reflected even in the waves of the sideboard.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Two leather couches (Eleanor) from Kardiel Modern and an Apex II Sideboard (used as media center) from Crate and Barrel. Some great decanter and cocktail trays from CB2. A couple of ’70s mod items (glasses and cool looking vase) from this new little vintage store I found via Instagram (Hood Mod Shop).

This IKEA kitchen cart still functions quite well at "the bar."

Any advice for creating a home you love? From an aesthetic standpoint my iPhone has been the most important tool in helping me see the room. Something about taking a snapshot of the room after placing items either confirms or denies that you got it right. At some point you will need to start removing one or two items when you are going to bring home something new. I try to have those items in mind before I ever purchase a new item. I have found it to be one of the most important things to keep your home from looking like a thrift/consignment store unless you’re good at maximalism.

This calm lake mural provides a nice view in the home office.

Finally, add things if you like them AND they fit the aesthetic story of your home. Leanne Ford said something to the effect of “If I like something but it doesn’t fit my color story it doesn’t come home.” I tend to agree with that sentiment.

New vintage '70s find (glasses and vase) fit nicely with the North Shore and plant story in the dining area.

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