Crazy for Hue

A Cal­i­for­nia res­i­dent finds an up­side to down­siz­ing when she turns her new back­yard into a vi­brant gar­den re­treat full of col­or­ful col­lectibles.

Country Sampler - - Contents - Writ­ten by LISA SLOAN Pho­tographed by MARK LOHMAN Styled by SUN­DAY HEN­DRICK­SON

Out­door liv­ing space makes down­siz­ing eas­ier for a Cal­i­for­nia renter and al­lows her to ex­press her cre­ativ­ity and in­dulge her pen­chant for color.

Mov­ing from the city to a beach town might seem like a sim­ple choice—but what if you had to sub­stan­tially re­duce your trea­sured col­lec­tions to fit into a smaller home? That was the de­ci­sion fac­ing Kelly McMaster when a friend told her about a La­guna Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, rental home that had re­cently be­come avail­able. “At first, I thought there was no way I could down­size to 500 square feet—but then I saw the out­door space,” she re­calls.

The home in­cluded a side yard with a me­an­der­ing path and a back­yard fea­tur­ing a pa­tio and deck. Al­though the state of the gar­den was “only dirt” and Kelly was not a gar­dener, she could en­vi­sion its po­ten­tial. She re­al­ized she might be able to use some of the fur­nish­ings and ac­cents that filled her cur­rent apart­ment to ex­tend her liv­ing area out­doors. “Any­thing that didn’t fit in­side, I put out­side. I knew things would get beat up, but I had owned them 15 to 20 years or longer, drag­ging them from place to place. I de­cided I’d rather keep them out­doors than sell or give them away,” she says.

Most of the items were al­ready col­ored in the bold hues Kelly fa­vors, but she did re­paint a few things us­ing out­door­friendly pa­tio paint and ap­plied clearcoat sealer on oth­ers be­fore plac­ing them out­side. Some ac­ces­sories stay out year-round, while oth­ers are ro­tated to suit the sea­son. “I change things up as the mood strikes me,” Kelly notes. “I like to have fun with it.”

She seeks out unique con­tain­ers for her an­nu­als—uti­liz­ing ev­ery­thing from vin­tage tins to old tires and dresser draw­ers. She shops flea mar­kets and fa­vorite home decor stores for items, but she’s been known to res­cue things from the trash heap—for ex­am­ple, a crate dis­carded by a neigh­bor and an old soda pal­let ly­ing by the side of the road.

Shortly af­ter Kelly moved into the beach house, her par­ents gifted her with a 10- by 12-foot gazebo, which she in­stalled on the back deck to cre­ate a unique liv­ing area. Cast-off but cre­atively re­claimed fur­ni­ture, in­clud­ing so­fas slip­cov­ered with cur­tains and blan­kets as well as a dated cof­fee ta­ble re­vived with paint, make this a re­fresh­ing al­fresco re­treat. With ac­cess to elec­tric­ity, she was able to in­clude light­ing, a tele­vi­sion and a small elec­tric fire­place within the space.

Kelly en­joys host­ing large gath­er­ings cen­tered around the gazebo, but she also rel­ishes re­lax­ing in the space. “In the sum­mer, it is re­ally awe­some to hang out in there and watch a movie—it’s out­doors, but still in­doors,” she says. “It’s like you’re on a mini va­ca­tion, and it makes liv­ing in a tiny in­te­rior not seem so con­fin­ing.”

Put­ter­ing around the gar­den, re­ar­rang­ing vi­gnettes, prun­ing plant­ings, and re­paint­ing items is ther­a­peu­tic for Kelly, and she couldn’t be more sat­is­fied with her choice to move to her tiny rental home. “I love hav­ing all this out­door space and the room to be cre­ative and go nutty with col­ors and grow things,” she con­cludes. “It’s just re­ally won­der­ful and it keeps me happy.”

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