Better Homes & Gardens - - Food -

Liz Strong and Dave Reiné, shown with twins Lu­cia and

Laine, have been spruc­ing up their old home lit­tle by lit­tle. They de­cided to live with the ex­ist­ing sid­ing

col­ors and in­stead paint the brown fence and hang new gates out­fit­ted with knobs

from old doors.

United by sim­i­lar tones, an as­sort­ment

of chairs from flea mar­kets, in­clud­ing one

stand­out vin­tage pea­cock chair, adds

per­son­al­ity. An out­door lan­tern-style

pen­dant painted yel­low amps up the en­ergy (Iron­lak Spray Paint in But­ter; dick­blick.com).

af­ter step­ping into her Los An­ge­les home, Liz Strong kicks off her red clogs to re­veal one striped sock and one solid, both brightly col­ored. In that sim­ple act, she shares some­thing about her per­son­al­ity as well as her dec­o­rat­ing style. She’s a bit of a free spirit who’s drawn to pat­tern and color and who loves mix­ing not match­ing. “I like things that feel more evolved, col­lected,” says Liz, a stylist for mag­a­zines and cat­a­logs.

On the sur­face, it may seem like the 1904 Crafts­man house she bought six years ago was an odd choice with its dark brown floors, wood­work, and cab­i­nets. It was too for­mal and se­ri­ous, Liz says. Still, she liked the idea of a house with his­tory and was con­fi­dent she could lighten things up. (It was a smart move space-wise now that she shares the 1,600 square feet with Dave Reiné and their twin ba­bies.)

A be­liever in home facelifts on a bud­get, Liz re­lied on paint for the big-im­pact change: coat­ing the not-in-great­shape wood floors in muted green. “Once the floors were painted, the house bright­ened up,” she says.

Sun­day morn­ing shop­ping sprees to L.A.’s famed Rose Bowl Flea Mar­ket helped Liz achieve the un­matched look she loves. Din­ing chairs are a char­ac­ter-rich mash-up of styles, and vin­tage paint­ings let her fill walls on the cheap. Those spe­cial finds, Liz says, are key to giv­ing a home com­fort and soul. “It’s about cre­at­ing a feel, not a look.”

Liz left the stained wood

in the en­try, above, as a nod to the home’s Crafts­man roots then

cov­ered the walls in wall­pa­per. The brown wood, she says, works

bet­ter with the bold hy­drangea pat­tern than

white trim, which would have been too

strong a con­trast.

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