Tracy Bartley of jumilla stories: Show & Tell Home Tour

Sheri Reed
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Tracy Jumilla Bugs

Tracy of jumilla stories with her family

Today's Show & Tell Home Tour lands us in the 1950s modern Los Angeles home of Tracy Bartley, arts industry WAHM and mom to two girls. She blogs at jumilla stories.

Come on inside...

Oh, L.A., it's such a lovely city, and Tracy Bartley's home says Los Angeles in so many ways. I think you're going to love Tracy's mix of artsy, modern, and family loving. Here we go...

palm trees

A few quintessential L.A. palms

Los Angeles suburb home

Street view of Tracy's home

Tracy, tell us a little about your family and your home. 

We live nestled in a wonderful neighborhood in Woodland Hills – a suburb of Los Angeles — located in the San Fernando Valley. Our home is part of an Alexander development, designed by the architects Palmer and Krisel, built in 1955. It is considered an example of “vernacular modernism” and has all the trappings one expects from a California mid-century modern home: lots of floor-to-ceiling windows, open-beamed ceilings, a fairly open floor plan, a carport, a swimming pool, and palm trees. We purchased the home eight years ago from its original owner. It was stuck in an early 1970s time capsule, but to my husband David’s credit, he saw the potential and we have been in a state of remodel ever since. Our home is a 1,450 square foot, 3-bedroom that fits the four of us — my husband, me, and our two daughters, ages 5 and 8 — perfectly. There’s even room for a small backyard flock of chickens and ponds for two red-eared sliders.

coat hook basket

The family hooks in the front entry way

hallway bookshelf kids art

Kids art and book collections

How do you approach decorating in your home? What's the most important thing? 

Being kid-friendly without looking too much like we are overrun with kid stuff. Our girls' presence is definitely felt, but we have incorporated a lot of storage into the furnishings that help stow away all the Legos, etc. We are much more of the Charles and Ray Eames style of mid-century modernism as opposed to a more minimal look. I don’t like clutter – but do like having mementos of our travels and families around us. I couple kid-friendly with the indoor-outdoor element that we are so lucky to be able to take advantage of where we live. All our rooms open up onto some type of patio area, and that connection has definitely influenced my decorating choices.

living room windows

The living room is open to the back patio

view of backyard

Lovely natural light throughout the room

You have two young daughters. How does the girls' STUFF influence the look and feel of your home? 

My eldest especially is “a collector.” It has been a bit of a struggle to find a way to organize their shared room. I am so lucky that David — who works as a fabricator at a museum — has been able to custom design and build much of our furniture. Wherever we could, we built in storage so that the girls' toys can be easily tucked away. I can frequently be heard quoting the old adage: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” A collection of baskets, cubbies, boxes, etc. stow away treasure and help to keep the house looking less cluttered.

girls bedroom dresser

The girls' room

girls bedroom girl father

Tracy's 5-year old with her Dad on a Saturday morning

Great design can be expensive. How do you get the most bang for your buck? 

I am a regular thrifter and try to be discerning in what I bring home. We have also been lucky that David’s parents had a love of mid-century design and much of our furniture and accessories have come from them. We have saved a lot with David building some of our furniture, and when we do splurge on an item — usually artwork — it feels like an investment.

family room built-in storage

The family room cubbies, which David built in, serve as great toy storage

egg chair retro

Relaxing in the egg chair

Tell us about the best deal you have gotten lately for your home. 

Oh, let me think. This past week I picked up a vintage Beaver State Pendleton blanket and some antique Native American baskets at the thrift for under $20 total. The blanket especially made the house feel ready for fall.

Tell us about one DIY project you have taken on recently and love.

David just designed and built a new mailbox for us. The house originally had a mail slot, but we didn’t want to go back to that when we put up a new front door. We also didn’t want to attach any new element to the front of the house, so we settled on a free-standing mailbox. In pricing out ones we liked, we found them to be very expensive, so David built a unit that utilizes the redwood we have in our fencing and is set in the large garden bed of our front entrance-way. I am very happy with how this turned out.

redwood mailbox

The free-standing mailbox, which David DIY'd

Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or decorative item in your home? Tell us about this item.

Our home is filled with art — from pictures by the girls, works by David, works by friends, and works by the artist I worked for, for many years. I don’t have a favourite.  Each one holds significance for me and surrounds me with memories of many who are no longer close by.

You are a creative person and you work in the arts too. What household chore do you tend to back burner most so you can tend to your creative life?

David and I both have Visual Arts degrees. I am fortunate to work from home as an administrator for an artist’s estate. My work's time demands vary depending on many factors. It feels lately that most of my creativity goes into raising our girls! We are dedicated to improving our neighborhood public school and turning it into a Community School Park. We have worked to tear out more than 180 tons of asphalt from the campus, planting over 100 trees and 600 drought-tolerant shrubs. Our own garden, I am afraid, has suffered from neglect as a result. I have promised myself that this winter we will get back to our own yard! 

modern shed

Tracy's backyard office — a Modern Shed

chicken

One of the family chickens

child swimming pool

Swimming pool

What is your most important everyday ritual at home?

For myself, it is getting up at 6:00, a half hour before the girls, kissing David goodbye as he leave on his bicycle to work, packing lunches prepared the night before into backpacks, and still having time to enjoy my coffee and read part of the paper.   

As a family, our meals are very important. At breakfast, it is just the girls and me, but I make sure that it is quality time — we start the day off with conversation about what lies ahead and a good breakfast in our tummies. We wrap up the day together for dinner and time for reflection on the day's happenings. These are rituals that I grew up with and that provide us all with comfort and stability.

breakfast

After breakfast

kitchen girls built-in storage

The girls in the kitchen (yep, more awesme built-in storage)

In your home, what is one indulgence you give into?

We don’t have cable television — but recently upgraded our internet service so that David and I could watch more Hulu!

We live quite frugally actually and have only indulged in a few things as part of our seemingly neverending remodel. I think that good quality and well-designed fixtures for our bathroom and lighting throughout the house have been important investments.

bathroom

The newly remodeled bathroom

What are your favorite stores to shop for home?

Ah, they know me well at our local Goodwill and National Council for Jewish Women thrift! I also keep my eye out for certain vintage items on Etsy and eBay. 

Los Angeles has so many great design resources. Luckily, they are all a fair drive away for me! I love visiting Modernica and Plastica. Everything at the new Heath Ceramics is so lovely, and there is always something to tempt me at ten10 — usually vintage pottery or outdoor furniture. I found a beautiful Stan Bitters birdfeeder there; that is one of my favourite things.

master bedroom patio view

Master bedroom patio view

What Home & Garden blogs or websites inspire you the most?

I am always inspired by the posts at Remodelista. The ongoing remodel at shelter is wonderful to watch unfold — and reminds me that when you are doing it yourself, nothing happens overnight! I have also recently gotten caught up in The Brick House – a mid-century remodel happening in the “Inland Empire” region of SoCal (her thrifting and Craigslist scores make me green with envy).

Tracy, dreaming of my own Modern Shed like yours, which makes ME green with envy. What a special hideaway for a WAHM. It was sure lots of fun tromping around your home. Thanks for sharing it with us. 

Tracy Bartley is a Canadian living with her husband and two girls (her "bugs") in suburban L.A. and dreaming of Galiano Island. When she's not digging in the dirt looking for bugs with her bugs, she works as an Administrator of an artist's estate. She believes in the power of community, wants to build a stronger bond with her sewing machine, and blogs about her everyday at jumilla stories. You can also find her at Two Green Chickens and sew green.

 

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