This post is sponsored by Home Depot
Five months ago we embarked on a mission meld the indoors and outdoors in our home and transform our garage into what would soon become our #CasitaJungalow. Our home is a Spanish-style bungalow built in 1926 and it’s pretty small (about 1050 sq. ft.). Our garage is located behind our home, in our yard. It’s about 350 sq. ft. and was being used for storage and laundry — but we knew we could do A LOT more with the space. One of the difficulties that we had with our home was that all of the rooms are quite tiny. The living room could comfortably seat no more than four people, the dining room about six — so any time we wanted to entertain we took the party outdoors. I love the indoor/outdoor lifestyle, and the weather in So Cal was pretty cooperative with our outdoor entertaining efforts, but I longed for a space that could accommodate more people. I also was excited to create a true indoor/outdoor flow and use every inch of our property so we could really personalize and enjoy our home to the fullest.
We worked with Home Depot on this project (we revealed the laundry room last month), and this inspired us to create a lot of custom features and create built-ins to help maximize the small space. Through the planning/designing process we were very focused on creating a seamless flow between the outdoors and the indoors, and we wanted to make sure that the Casita felt like an extension of our home–not like a converted garage. Here are some of the things we took into consideration, and how we achieved that flow I was hoping for.
1. Organic shapes and textures
We focused a lot on incorporating natural materials and organic shapes in the overhaul. The garage itself was old and wonky. We didn’t want to attempt to pile something modern and sleek on top of that. We went with the wonk. We leaned into it. We designed the space with natural materials, reclaimed materials, organic shapes and rustic textures so that everything felt a bit weathered and shaped by time — the way things feel outdoors. In our laundry and storage areas, we stained the wooden bifold doors in a water-based stain to make them look like a once bright door that had been faded in the sun and rain. We reclaimed the wood from what was once the old garage doors and made the little cabinet doors in the bar counter. The irregularity in the finish on the cement tile and the cement countertop–as well as the soft, rounded corners on the cubbies also contribute to the earthy feel, creating a stylistic bridge to the outdoors.
Plants are an obvious one, but it will NEVER CEASE TO AMAZE ME how plants just breath life into spaces. It is the easiest way to make an indoor space feel more outdoorsy. I especially love spiller plants like pothos — in our bar window we trailed a long pothos around our window, again blurring the lines between out and in. In the living room, we added plants on every shelf to bring in the jungaliciousness. We also added one tree, a large dracaena, in our entryway.
3. Windows, Glass Doors + Skylights
Another way we connected to the outdoors in our Casita was through glass. We made sure to have windows or glass doors on every wall, and we added a skylight to the ceiling. It’s incredible what a window and a skylight can do to make a space feel bigger, brighter and more spacious. The ceilings in here are low, but the windows and skylight connect the space to the sun and sky and open it up completely. The French doors at the entrance add the right amount of charm and natural light in, and we keep them open during the day and let the breeze and fresh air in too.
(Sidenote: Before we transformed this space it was an icebox in the winter and a hotbox in the summer. We knew we would need a climate control situation in here, so we got this Ductless Aire unit which does wonders for keeping things cool in here. Also, yes we use this space as our music practice room too!)
4. Colors and motifs
We painted the Casita in Spun Cotton by Behr in the flat finish. As far as whites go, it’s a warm, warm white. It feels way more natural than a bright white. It’s like the color of plaster — and that’s what we were going for. We also brought the wild vibes by mimicking natural themes and colors, like the sky-like tiles with egrets flying by, and the Tigress motif (featured above on the chairs) that echoes throughout the space, including on the laundry room walls.
Between the wild motifs, the plants, the visual connection with the outdoors through all the windows and the skylight, the sun-shiny breezes and the organic shapes and finishes, this space truly feels like the indoor/outdoor wonderland we were hoping for. We hosted my 40th birthday party in here last month, and it was so wonderful to have the space to entertain.