Mar­riage is all about com­pro­mise, so when Aurora and Rickey Cross

Country Sampler - BOHO Style - - DESERT CHIC STEAL THE LOOK -

tied the knot 10 years ago and blended and then soon ex­panded their brood to six, they de­cided it was time to buy a house. How­ever, these first­time home­own­ers had very dif­fer­ent wish lists. “I wanted older with char­ac­ter, he wanted newer with more ameni­ties. I wanted one story, he wanted two. I wanted no pool, he wanted a pool,” Aurora ex­plains. “So we played rock pa­per scis­sors—and I lost.”

The cou­ple pur­chased a ba­sic tract home built in 1985, and Aurora ad­mits that it wasn’t love at first sight. She cut her losses and made it her mis­sion to in­fuse as much char­ac­ter into the house as pos­si­ble. “I wasn’t im­pressed by the lay­out at all, but its sim­plic­ity did of­fer a blank can­vas,” she con­cedes. Seven years later, af­ter try­ing out looks as var­ied as farm­house to mid­cen­tury mod­ern, Aurora had an “aha mo­ment,” re­al­iz­ing she en­joyed el­e­ments of many styles and that it was OK to blend them in her own way.

“I like the idea that peo­ple could walk through a home and al­most im­me­di­ately feel as if it’s a por­trait of who lives there,” says Aurora, who notes that the things she adores most in her home are the ones that she and Rickey have teamed up to build. To­gether, the cou­ple has con­structed a farm­house ta­ble, live-edge shelv­ing in the kitchen, and a “chicken man­sion” in the back­yard, among other clever makes and hacks.

Aurora’s present-day style also re­calls her free-spir­ited ’70s child­hood. “My name is Aurora Nova, af­ter all,” she says. Cur­rently a stay-ath­ome mom, she strives to cre­ate per­sonal, cozy spa­ces where her fam­ily can en­joy each other and feel at peace. Among the ways Aurora achieves this vibe is by stick­ing to a set of ba­sics she has come to know and love: a warm, earthy palette with dashes of muted jewel tones gen­er­ally framed by some­thing black and/or gray. And while rooms may be­gin with white walls and fairly tra­di­tional fur­ni­ture, it’s the lay­er­ing that cre­ates the eclec­tic style she likes so much. A pas­tiche of “rad tex­tiles” like flashy pil­lows, pat­terned blan­kets and graphic area rugs—each of­ten finished with fringe—out­fits ev­ery room. Leafy green fronds of plants cas­cade from all lev­els to splash spa­ces with nat­u­ral color.

The con­sis­tent na­ture of Aurora’s rooms makes it easy for her to shop her own home when re­dec­o­rat­ing. “I have been styling my home in this way for about the last five years,” she says. “I still con­stantly shift and move things and rein­vent rooms, usu­ally switch­ing items from one area to the other. That is ac­tu­ally one of my fa­vorite things to do. It’s amaz­ing what you can find ly­ing around your own home, and you can com­pletely change an en­tire space with­out spend­ing a dime.”

When she’s not shop­ping her own home, Aurora can be found hunt­ing for time­worn trea­sures at thrift shops and garage sales and on Craigslist and brows­ing new decor at World Mar­ket, Home Goods and Ur­ban Out­fit­ters. “Bal­anc­ing new and old and adding tex­ture—and black ac­cents and plants—makes for a re­ally liv­able home that is re­flec­tive of our col­or­ful life,” Aurora con­cludes.

“My fa­vorite things in our home are those that Rickey and I built with our own two hands.”

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT: Rickey con­structed the farm­house ta­ble to Aurora’s spec­i­fi­ca­tions, and then she ap­plied lay­ers of paint fol­lowed by a home­made treat­ment of vine­gar and steel wool to achieve a worn ap­pear­ance. The light fix­ture over­head was a $5 yard-sale score. Crates atop a small cab­i­net keep cook­books at the ready. The cou­ple fash­ioned open shelv­ing from a slab of red­wood—while planed for a smooth sur­face, they kept the nat­u­ral bor­der in­tact for a qual­ity known as “live edge.” Hon­ey­comb tiles with con­trast­ing grout con­trib­ute to the or­ganic feel. Aurora’s sig­na­ture paint color was used to up­date the home’s ex­ist­ing cab­i­netry to great ef­fect. OP­PO­SITE: A cen­tury-old farm door, deemed “The Wizard of Oz door” by the kids, was the first change made to the kitchen. Sheets of smooth Ma­sonite cre­ate a non-per­ma­nent chalk­board wall. Me­tal­lic el­e­ments, in­clud­ing chairs spray painted rust and navy, add streaks of shine.

Ran­dom chairs are uni­fied with glossy black paint. A fea­ture wall in Rail­ings paint har­mo­nizes with the sur­round­ing palette; the lively rug be­low adds pat­tern and in­ter­est. OP­PO­SITE, TOP: “I al­most crashed my car when I saw the macramé plant hanger in a thrift-store win­dow!” Aurora says of her ac­qui­si­tion. OP­PO­SITE, BOT­TOM:THE bar cart holds col­lected vin­tage ac­cou­trements.

ABOVE LEFT: A hand­made ruf­fled petal pil­low pulls to­gether the warm rus­set tones of the fur­ni­ture. LEFT: The pair­ing of black and auburn ex­tends to the teenage bed­room, this time against a back­drop of a pale yet un­fussy pink. Youth­ful ac­cents in­clude a string of lights from World Mar­ket, a faux-fur rug from Ross Dress for Less, and a large pa­per lan­tern. Folk­loric prints abound in bed­ding from Ur­ban Out­fit­ters and sec­ond­hand wall decor. A hang­ing bas­ket and stack of vin­tage trunks are sig­na­tures of Aurora’s style. OP­PO­SITE: The master bed­room brings to mind a bou­tique ho­tel with a graphic state­ment rug, lush vel­vet bed­ding and shams in “wasabi” from West Elm, and an ac­cent wall painted in Behr’s Li­mou­sine Leather. Above the bed, a large map of nearby San Francisco is bor­dered by one-by-two planks of wood sta­pled in place for the look of a vin­tage school chart.

ABOVE: A $7 can of an un­known sher­bet shade of paint left be­hind at the hard­ware store (aka “oops” paint) cov­ers the bed­room walls of the youngest Cross chil­dren. A gallery wall of art made for the girls by each fam­ily mem­ber makes a lively and lov­ing state­ment. “We are a su­per artis­tic fam­ily who paint, draw and write all the time. I like to change out the pieces in the open frames as the girls cre­ate more art­work,” Aurora says. ABOVE RIGHT: The book­shelves are made from rain gut­ters cut into 4-foot sec­tions, spray painted gold and capped off with end pieces. RIGHT: The antler pil­low shows the softer side of boho decor. OP­PO­SITE: Bed­ding on clear­ance at Ur­ban Out­fit­ters pro­vided the in­spi­ra­tion for this groovy girls’ room. Strings of lights turn World Mar­ket canopies and beds into mag­i­cal hide­aways. The striped rug be­low con­nects with the vi­brant art­work above.

A col­lec­tion of sec­ond­hand bas­kets mounted with tack nails makes a fetch­ing dis­play on a kitchen wall. “The bas­kets are the per­fect home for air plants,” says Aurora of the tilland­sia she uses to adorn the as­sem­blage.

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