Our charming abode, affectionately known as Casa Limón, sits in the heart of San Diego's South Bay area. Our home, built in 1952, in the 'Minimal Mid-Century Modern' architectural style, is characteristic of the community we live in and epitomizes the essence of both mid-century architecture and Southern California vibes.
Chula Vista, named for its Spanish translation meaning "beautiful view," holds a special place in my heart as my hometown. Its unique charm stems from its proximity to both the San Diego Bay, where summers were spent waterskiing with friends and family, and the Pacific Ocean, a serene haven where my husband surfed and I found solace. Venture east, and you'll discover Otay Lakes, an ideal place to picnic, fish, and kayak, along with coastal mountains, which is a hot spot for trail hikers. Chula Vista seamlessly blends coastal vistas to the west with picturesque landscapes to the east, creating an extraordinary place to call home.
A 'MINIMAL MID-CENTURY MODERN' STYLE
The 'Minimal Mid-Century Modern' style houses tend to be smaller compared to the sprawling mid-century modern homes typically found in swanky locales like Palm Springs. I playfully refer to them as "Mid-Century Modest" - although, here in California, they don't come with a modest price tag.
The clean lines imbue them with a modern aesthetic, while the vintage wrought iron handrail introduces a delicate nostalgic element with its twisted spindles and curled heart-shaped designs. These intricate details pay homage to the craftsmanship inherent in mid-century design.
EVOLVING CHARM - OUR ONGOING JOURNEY WITH AN OLDER HOME
As with any older home, it's a work in progress. I recently added the terrazzo and star-tiled stair risers to the front entry after we had to make concrete repairs to the front steps. It added some pizzazz and enhanced the home's retro appeal, while giving a nod to the iconic atomic mid-century star motif.
Terrazzo was a popular surface material in the 1950s because of its durability, versatility, and aesthetic appeal. Its popularity in the 1950s can be attributed to its ability to seamlessly integrate with the mid-century modern design aesthetic. Terrazzo was commonly used in flooring, countertops, and wall cladding, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to both residential and commercial spaces during that time period.
The atomic star motif embodied the futuristic and optimistic spirit of the era, symbolizing progress, innovation, and the excitement of the Space Age. It remains an iconic symbol of mid-century modern design, evoking nostalgia for a time of technological marvels and boundless imagination.
I painted the doors, in cheerful pops of Limón. This vibrant hue is a nod to the 70-year-old citrus trees that grace the property, injecting the home with energy and character. It's a playful touch that adds warmth and personality to the entrance.
ICONIC CHARM - MAJESTIC PALMS AND MID-CENTURY CURB APPEAL
Casa Limón stands out among the neighboring houses, because of the towering 70-year-old palm trees that line the curb. Even though I was born and raised in San Diego, I still marvel at majestic palm trees. I love staring at them from our front window and if you follow me on Instagram, I post videos of them all of the time in my Stories. I love how they evoke that quintessential California vibe.
A LUSH BACKYARD HIDEAWAY
Our backyard feels like a secluded oasis to me, lush and inviting. The landscape epitomizes Southern California, with towering yuccas, ficus, citrus, and bougainvillea scattered like confetti throughout the garden. These natural elements serve as the canvas for Mother Nature's exquisite artwork.
CITRUS BOUNTY - HARVESTING SUNSHINE FOR FRESH SQUEEZED JUICE
Can we just take a moment to appreciate how cool it is to make fresh squeezed orange juice and lemonade from the bountiful citrus trees flourishing on our property? We have five of these bad boys - lemon, tangerine and orange - and as you can see they are bountiful! The sheer abundance of these mature trees allows us not only to indulge in their vibrant flavors but also to share with our friends and neighbors. It's truly a joy living with so much natural abundance.
To me there's nothing like the sunlight filtering through the leaves, casting a kaleidoscope of colors. Mother Nature inspires me with how she fearlessly blends and mixes colors.
Over the years, I've developed a practice of foraging in the garden. I spend hours and hours in my own head and working on my laptop. This allows me to spend time in the fresh air and sunshine among all of the citrus trees. I love harvesting the herbs, lemons and oranges and filling my wooden bowls with the vibrant fruits. It connects me to nature and feels abundant.
Let me tell you, there is no better potpourri out there than making your own on the stovetop by combining sliced fruit and aromatic herbs harvested from the garden.
STARRY NIGHTS AND FIRESIDE TALES: OUR BACKYARD HIDEAWAY
Despite there being an absence of a natural view, Casa Limón's backyard offers a unique alternative. A captivating blue ombré mountain landscape, was brought to life and commissioned from my favorite local mural artist Cassandra Schramm, you have seen her work in many of my client's design projects. This mountain mural now adorns a once nondescript wall on our detached garage. This multipurpose space serves as both a workshop and music studio for my husband, enriching the home's distinctive mid-century character.
Before we proceed, let's take a moment to admire this exquisite caftan crafted by my talented friend, Kelly O'Neal. Kelly, an extraordinary artist who infuses his creations with his vibrant energy and can seamlessly transition his artwork to stunning upholstery fabrics and now, these gorgeous caftans!
As the sun sets, you'll often find us gathered right here, in the area that my niece Brooklyn affectionately calls "Uncle Mike's Park" (Michael is my husband). We sit around the firepit, wrapped in Mexican blankets, listening to music, sipping cocktails or beers, making s'mores, telling campfire stories and creating unforgettable memories beneath the starlit sky.
This hammock swing chair is my sanctuary, my bohemian version of the classic porch swing. As it sways gently in the breeze, its rhythmic motion becomes a soothing embrace, beckoning me into a realm of pure relaxation. It's a cozy cocoon where I can sway gently with the wind, serenaded by the chorus of chirping birds all around. With each gentle sway, the weight of worries and cares seems to dissipate, leaving behind a profound sense of peace and contentment that envelops me completely.
My favorite view from our firepit area encompasses the majestic 70-year-old palm trees in front of our house. While it's pretty during the day, it becomes magical as the sun sets behind them in the west. The sky transforms into a canvas of orange and pink hues, creating postcard-worthy scenes with the silhouettes of the palm trees against the backdrop. It's all about those quintessential mid-century So Cal vibes.
As I look at around at our aromatic herbs—rosemary, sage, thyme, and mint—alongside our thriving artichoke plant, I'm filled with a sense of gratitude for the abundance of nature that surrounds us. Reminding me of the beauty and generosity that Mother Nature offers us every day.
Nestled among the greenery, cozy nooks and crannies beckon, inviting guests to unwind and lose themselves in the beauty of their surroundings. Here, one can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, finding solace beneath the sheltering embrace of the tree's branches.
Underneath the canopy of a majestic shade tree, dappled sunlight dances through the leaves, creating a patchwork of light and shadow. Here are little nooks and crannies that seem tailor-made for moments of solitude and reflection. The gentle melody of wind chimes dances with the breeze, adding a harmonious dimension to the tranquil atmosphere.
A collection of blue Adirondack chairs beckon you to come sit by the fire, accompanied by an array of vibrant Mexican lap blankets. Each blanket has intricate patterns and bold colors, infusing the setting with a warm and culturally rich ambiance—a nod to our proximity, a mere 10 minutes north of the Mexican border. These cozy offerings provide more than just physical comfort; they offer a connection to the vibrant spirit and heritage of the region.
When we first moved here, this space lacked the lushness it holds now. The fence line marking the backyard boundaries was plainly visible, offering a direct view of the homes behind us. It's taken more than a decade of tender care and patience to transform it into the verdant, private haven it is today. This space has evolved into a sanctuary—a hidden retreat where I find solace and connection with nature. Whether I'm gently swaying in the hammock swing, cozily nestled in my cherished Adirondack chair, or wrapped in the comforting embrace of a Mexican blanket, every corner of this sanctuary calls out to me, urging me to slow down, breathe deeply, and fully immerse myself in the beauty of the moment.
FROM REDESIGNS TO ROAD TRIPS: A DUAL-USE HAVEN FOR AIRSTREAM ADVENTURES
We're fortunate to have a spacious driveway that can accommodate an RV, boat, or travel trailer. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to redesign my client's Airstream Bambi right here in our driveway. Since she doesn't have space for it in her new home, we happily store it for her here. Having the Airstream here is a fantastic bonus because we can use it ourselves as an extra room at home or take it on the road for adventures. It's become a versatile addition to our property that we truly appreciate. You can see more photos of it on our Featured Projects section of our website. And guess what? This project has even graced the pages of many publications like San Diego Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Seasonal Living Magazine and several design industry publications! Keep scrolling to see the incredible transformation.
THANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY!
Casa Limón transcends being just a house; it's a canvas reflecting my unwavering passion for design and creativity. Y'all come back now, ya hear? Next I'm going to take you inside, which is a striking contrast to the bright and cheerful exterior. Prepare to immerse yourself in the boldly hued Dark Academia Maximalist vibes that define Casa Limón. - Rachel