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A California Flea Market Home

A California Flea Market Home


entryway gallery wall with framed prints and flea market signs

A homeowner with a love for flea-market finds creates her own little paradise in her California flea market home.

Krista Kousens is a physician’s assistant—but her unofficial resume has a few more titles. Backyard farmer. Lover of all things old, rusty and weathered. Jeweler, purveyor of flea-market finds and caretaker of 16 animals. Such a full and interesting life requires just the right home, one that inspires creativity while accommodating a veritable menagerie. That’s what she has accomplished in her California flea market home.

kitchen with neutral penny floor tile
A soft wash of light is found in the kitchen and is a wonderful counterpoint to the more colorful rooms elsewhere in the home. Krista says, “I felt a strong sense not to do anything overpowering in this room. I love the natural light and the simplicity of the quartz countertops and the brass hardware together.”

Enter a 1955 simple tract home located in Orange, California. When she first toured the home, Krista fell in love. “It was clean and simple,” she says. “I was drawn to the large, flat yard, the gorgeous brass chandelier in the dining room and the fact that there were no modern upgrades. I couldn’t believe nobody had snatched it up yet!”

Originally, this wall was covered in glass. Krista says, “I literally got the key to my house after work and broke up the mirrored wall with a sledgehammer in my scrubs that evening.” The black accents—the picture frames and lamp—take on a particularly seasonal feel in September, October and November.

Flea Market Style

Though she has zero formal training in interior design, Krista transformed each room and kept going, creating an outdoor dining room, a she-shed and a chicken coop. Each space is enlivened with one-of-a-kind finds. “I have no interest in going into a store and buying a matching set of furniture,” she confides. That’s apparent from one look at her inspiring spaces. There’s no way to find such uniqueness in a big box store.

outdoor living room with mint green armchairs and rug
An outdoor living room showcases Krista’s ingenuity and prowess in blending the indoors and out. Its aluminum roof allows indoor furniture to be outside, creating a unique experience year-round. With Orange County’s optimum weather conditions, it’s an ideal setup.

When Krista first purchased the home, there was nothing beyond the dining room. “You would just step out a sliding glass door into a dirt planter box,” she recalls. While some would have built a run-of-the-mill porch or planted a garden, Krista envisioned something special: an outdoor living room, where guests could have all the creature comforts of the indoors while enjoying nature.

outdoor dining area with chandelier and customized upcycled blue picnic table
Of course, the glory of this space is the brass chandelier. Krista roughened up its glam feel by setting a rugged buffet table underneath. She got the table on Craigslist for $40, tore off the top, added cross bars to the legs and a new top. “I had a fall dinner party here and made a centerpiece with a galvanized pail and branches,” she says. “I lit the whole table with tea lights and tapers. It was beautiful, natural and even more fun with a little chill in the air.”

She had a deck built and replaced the wood patio cover with an aluminum one. “I’m not a fan of outdoor furniture,” she says, so she found durable items that still had the detail and elegance of indoor furniture, including a $50 rug on Craigslist and a wooden sofa at a thrift store. Fireplace wood gives a touch of rustic country romance to the space. “I wanted a spot to store wood that I could access easily on a rainy night. Plus, I think it looks pretty,” Krista says.

mixed furniture vintage signs and branches as decor in living room
The living room is warm, intimate and cozy. Krista painted the walls a soft pistachio green and filled the room with old and new finds. “I believe in using what you have and building on it,” she says. She’s owned the sofa ever since she was 19, got the coffee table from her mom and found the fireplace mantel at Habitat for Humanity Restore. When it comes to seasonal décor, she says, “I love bare branches and green, yellow, orange, brown and black; in a way, I decorate for fall year round!”
teal and pink floral wallpaper and gilded adult bunkbeds
Krista doesn’t shy away from making a statement, and the bold Clarke & Clarke “Emaline” wallpaper in the guestroom does just that. “I hung many wallpaper samples on those walls, but in the end, I went with my gut,” she says.

Bold Flea Market Style in this California home

Adult bunkbeds? If they are glam and gold, then it’s a do! Most guest bedrooms are neutral and impersonal, but Krista’s is full of statement and style. “It’s farmhouse chic with subtle Wyatt Earp and brothelesque undertones,” Krista says. “I had a vision of bunkbeds with luxurious linens and a bar cart—almost like a cocktail lounge.” While flea-market finds are usually chippy, rusty and weathered, Krista found just the right gleaming pieces, including a chandelier. Everything is set against dramatic floral wallpaper by Clarke & Clarke. “Bold florals do not scare me!” she says.

Of course, the crown jewel of the room is the gold bunkbed. It looks like it’s from an exclusive designer’s showroom but it’s an ingenious DIY. “I bought the bunkbed from Walmart, along with seven cans of pure gold spray paint,” she says. During the fall months, the room is a stylish counterpart to blustery weather. “The whole room says fall. It’s cozy, dark and relaxing, and the paper is a deep hunter blue/green,” Krista says.

California flea market bedroom with upcycled bedframe painted white
The master bedroom is a serene note when compared to Krista’s other spaces. “This room is inspired by the pure white beauty of duck feathers,” she says. “I wanted it to be layers of neutrals with a few accents.” She installed faux-brick panels on the far wall and coated them with plaster. She found a bed on Craigslist and painted it a slightly different shade of white and set it against the panels. As summer gives way to fall, she says, “I love to change out my pillows and flowers according to the season. It’s inexpensive and breathes new life into the room.”

More delights await in the backyard, where Krista converted a basic Tuff Shed into a custom she-shed. “I love to spend time with my animals on the weekends and in the evenings, but I needed a place where I could truly relax and be comfortable while still having them around me,” Krista says. Of course, not just any shed would do. Krista bought a modular shed and then customized it with paint, shiplap, vinyl floors (durable for little paws!) and a deck.

entryway gallery wall with framed prints and flea market signs
This immersive wall is in the guest bedroom. Krista removed the existing closet and installed wall hooks so guests can still hang their clothes, despite the absence of a closet. And she knew it needed more. “I dug up my old prints, frames and signs from the garage, but nothing was coming together,” she says. “I decided to pop a bottle of champagne, and next thing I know, I was spray painting frames black and gold, rummaging through fabric and wallpaper samples for pops of color and gluing picture-hanging hardware to my silver trays—and that was the birth of my first gallery wall!”

She then filled it with her thrift-store finds and sentimental items from her personal collection. A stunning collection of oil paintings elevates the space from she-shed to she-gallery.

“That wall of art was nearly the death of me,” Krista says. “I wanted to fill my shed with original floral oil paintings and embarked on a mission to collect them. I discovered they are hard to find and often expensive.” She painstakingly acquired paintings for her California flea market home at flea markets, garage sales, Salvation Army and Goodwill stores from Orange County to San Diego.

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Horizontal image of living room with cow photography art and blue geometric area rug

“It took me a year to pull this wall together. Now, of course, I’m addicted to finding floral paintings, so every time I find a new beauty, I have to rebalance the wall again!”

gallery wall with various floral prints and vintage signs
Gallery walls are Krista’s signature. She says, “My favorite spaces have details and a lot to see. I love flowers, I love glass, I love brass, I love silver, I love rust, I love it all and I don’t care if it matches.” This gallery wall has all of that and shows that bold combinations make big impressions.

The paintings contrast with earthy details, like chalkboard doors, which often feature Krista’s favorite quotes for her California flea market home. “I’ve always loved quotes, from the inspirational to the sassy to the funny,” she says. “I’ve collected quotes for many years, so I fill the space according to my mood.”

bathroom with floral wallpaper and repurposed vintage flea market signs
Stunning wallpapers are a theme throughout Krista’s house, including this one in her master bathroom. Krista’s mother is a retired interior designer, and when she had her studio in San Diego, she had rooms full of wallpaper books. Krista says, “You can truly transform a space with wallpaper, and the colors and patterns are endless. If only I had more walls, I would definitely cover them!”
home office craft room in California home with flea market finds
A home office-meets-craft room was essential for Krista, and it’s the place where she does everything from making jewelry to paying her bills. “I was at the Salvation Army looking for something else and I happened upon these shallow shelves stacked up against the wall,” she says. “They were $5.99 each! I took all four because I knew that I could never find lumber for that price anywhere else.” She created a unique shelving cabinet by joining the shelves together, leveling them out, adding two additional shelves, trim and baseboard, and dowels for wrapping paper. Finally, she painted it black!
bead collection in jars and galvanized tins
Once Krista’s shelves were installed, she got to work collecting jars and bins for organization and storage of her beads and crystals. “It took me awhile to accumulate all the right vessels,” she says. “I bought some online and some at thrift stores and on Craigslist.” She enjoys the jars because she likes to see what she has, as opposed to stashing her supplies away in a drawer.

The California flea market home is truly a work of love. Krista says, “It’s my absolute favorite place to be, and it is the culmination of everything that I have worked hard and sacrificed for in my life. I am truly grateful.”

repurposed locker as coat closet in California flea market home
This mudroom-meets-laundry room uses old post-office lockers to store functional items. “I hung that art this way to squeeze as many memories as possible onto the wall,” Krista says.
she shed with chalkboard doors and roaming chickens and ducks
Krista is full of ideas for the chalkboard doors on her she-shed, particularly when it comes to entertaining. “I plan on making a little drink station next to the door or even setting up a basket with throw blankets and drawing a big arrow with a message that says, ‘Help Yourselves.’” After all, during the fall, cider and throw blankets are autumnal party necessities!

If you’re inspired by this California flea market home, you’ll also love Collecting Flea Market Furniture and Flea Market Wall Decor. Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration!

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