GIVE & TAKE
This Southern California family passed on a home with more space and bathrooms, instead choosing a compact condo near the coast. It may be small, but it’s also unmistakably modern—and emphatically theirs.
A 1,000-square-foot condo gets a makeover that checks all the boxes for this young family to live their best California life.
THE MOYSA FAMILY (GEOFF, BRI, GREYSON, AGE 12, EMERSON, 9, AND DOG CHOPPER) SHARE A TWO-BEDROOM, ONE-BATHROOM 1,000-SQUARE-FOOT CONDO—AND FOR GOOD REASON.
“Southern California is crazy expensive, and this is what we can afford … we can’t see ourselves too far from the ocean, and with that location comes an expense,” Bri says of their thoughts when deciding to buy a home instead of rent. “Do we move inland and get more house for our money, or do we stay here and make it work? We chose to stay and make it work.”
Investing in their condo was worth it, thanks to a few fabulous features: the condo’s location ( just 15 minutes from Dana Point), outdoor space (a nice-size backyard), and a nearly blank slate for transformation.
But that also meant seeing past dated rooms in a sea of baby blue—on carpet, vertical blinds, even the toilet seat!—to what the condo could be, once clad in interior stylist Bri’s signature tans, grays, blacks, and whites. She is quick to credit Geoff for being an excellent teammate—the perspiration beside her inspiration—and tackling every project that came their way. Together they tore out carpet, spruced up the concrete underneath, overhauled the kitchen, installed benches and a vanity, beefed up baseboards, and crafted wood shelves for nearly every room.
The cozy condo makes the most of every inch, and it all bears the Moysas’ modern, fit-for-a-family fingerprints.
“There’s a pride that comes with knocking these things out yourself and knowing you singlehandedly made your home what it is,” Bri says. “It’s all on us to get it done.” The result is totally worth the give-and-take.
“I HAVE ALWAYS SAID THAT I NEVER WANTED TO BUY A HOUSE THAT’S ALREADY DONE—IT WOULDN’T BE OUR STYLE. WE WANTED SOMETHING WE COULD DO OURSELVES AND MAKE IT OUR OWN.”
BRI MOYSA, HOMEOWNER
UP THE WALLS Bri’s husband, Geoff, crafted a display ladder out of $9 worth of lumber, above right, to gather an arrangement of beautiful blankets. Shallow ledges on another wall barely intrude into a pathway through the room but still showcase favorite artwork.
HUB OF THE HOUSE A good-size sofa, cleanlined armchairs, and a giant ottoman covered in leather provide plenty of seating in the great-room so the whole Moysa crew can gather, this photo. Curtains hung nearly at the ceiling visually stretch the space, as do the leggy chairs that let sunlight stream through them—design tricks homeowner and stylist Bri Moysa employed to make the room seem more spacious.
LABOR OF LOVE The old kitchen was a cave of brown tiles and heavy oak cabinets, which the Moysas lived with for years until they saved enough money to revamp it properly. They tore out upper cabinets, repainted the lower ones, and installed butcher-block countertops—all on their own. “It was a six-month process for us,” Bri says. “Talk about a massive high five when we were done!”
THE DARK SIDE One wall in the great-room defines both the kitchen and eating area with a swath of rich black paint, left. “That corner needed something,” Bri says, “and paint is a very inexpensive way to make a visual impact. It guides the eye to the kitchen, the benches pop more, the art on the wall pops more—it adds depth and interest to the space.”
SUBWAY TILES ARE A CLASSIC CHOICE, BUT BRI MADE THEM MODERN BY BUYING AN ELONGATED VERSION WITH A MATTE FINISH AND HAVING THEM INSTALLED IN A GRID PATTERN. TRADITIONAL WITH A TWIST.
KEEPING IT CLEAR Just inside the front door, what was once a dining room now serves as Bri’s office and the paperwork hub of the house, right. She deliberately keeps the desktops clear, stashing bills, calendars, and school papers on the shelves and in the baskets mounted on the wall so the area stays organized. The pendant was once a table lamp, which Geoff transformed into a hanging fixture with a kit from a home center.
THESE BENCHES NOT ONLY STASH EXTRA KITCHEN EQUIPMENT AND KIDS’ TOYS OUT OF SIGHT, BUT ALSO TAKE UP LESS SPACE THAN CHAIRS WOULD.
CLEVER CHOICES Smart, stylish strategies saved the day in the new dining area, this photo. The oval table is long enough to fit the family but narrow enough to avoid crowding the living area. Black wishbone chairs slip under the table when not in use, and the handcrafted banquette packs surplus storage in a slim space. The artwork is a snapshot of Geoff as a teenager—Bri scanned it, had it enlarged and printed for $5, and framed it. “So many people want to know where I got it,” she says. “I should probably just sell the print! You’d never know it was just a family photo.”
OPEN VIEWS Bri outfitted a tiny stretch of wall as a foyer, this photo, complete with a console and a row of iron hooks. The first project she and Geoff tackled together, it’s made from a salvaged board and fancy hardware from Anthropologie. The master bedroom is visible through double doors, a charming feature Bri liked about the condo from the get-go because it lets more light flow freely between rooms.
SINGLE SPACE The home’s one bathroom, above, doesn’t sacrifice style for function. The IKEA vanity, built-in mirrored medicine cabinet, and floating shelves stash towels, toilet paper, and other necessities just where they’re needed. For a cohesive scheme throughout the home, Bri repeated elements from other rooms (the black faucet, for example, and the round mirror).
EXTERIOR DESIGN The Moysas hang out on the covered patio overlooking their backyard, above. It’s as cozily and comfortably appointed—with armchairs, pillows, a rug, marble table, and wall hangings—as the adjacent great-room (through glass doors on the left).
IN THE OPEN The laundry room, this photo, sits in the hallway and is visible to anyone passing by, so Bri wanted it to be beautiful. Wall cabinets provide hidden storage, and a metal rod catches hanging garments. The cute laundry sign hides that unsightly spot where the water lines connect to the wall.
BEAUTIFUL BALANCE The master bedroom is small, sure, but it’s still brimming with pretty and practical ideas, this photo. The hats on the wall aren’t just for show—fair-skinned, redheaded Bri grabs one almost every time she heads outside. One investment piece is the gorgeous cotton blanket with bushy tassels from June + Blue (juneandblue.com); its cost was balanced by inexpensive framed art (two copies of the same digital download) and a bedside sconce that is simply a wood base looped with a bare bulb on a cord.
THIS PHOTO OF BELOVED PUP CHOPPER CAME FROM PERKIE PRINTS (PERKIEPRINTS.COM), WHICH TURNS SNAPSHOTS OF PETS INTO MODERN ART BY BLOTTING OUT THE COLOR AND THE BACKGROUND. MODERN ART Blackand-white artwork, a pair of plants, and a guitar—a Christmas gift for Greyson—cluster on the wall nearest his bed for an inspiring but not-too-busy display, left. To give each child some personalization in the room they share, his bedding includes more blues and olive greens, while Emerson’s blushes with some pink. FOR RESOURCES SEE PAGE 101.