Creating “Happy Rooms:” A Colorful Farmhouse in the City

by hookedonhouses on May 6, 2014

Designer Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse

When I was younger, I tried to make my house look more “sophisticated” by decorating with lots of neutrals. But the older I get, the more color I crave. I love how L.A. designer Alison Kandler decorates with color and vintage finds to create undeniably happy rooms in what she calls her “farmhouse in the city.”

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (3)

Kandler worked with architect Joan Swartz to give her Los Angeles home an eclectic vintage farmhouse look, starting with the Dutch door in the entry. The result is so playful and pretty that I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw these rooms.

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (25)

The house has 5 bedrooms and 4 full baths. She says she thinks windows make wonderful “headboards.” This one is framed with vintage shutters.

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (10)

She built a workspace for her husband into the hallway outside their bedroom, as well as a deep windowseat with storage underneath:

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (24)

How pretty is this bathroom? I mean, seriously.

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (11)

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (14)

Alison says, “Most of my work is inspired by traditional architecture and interior design from the 1920’s and 1930’s.”

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (17)

She lives in the 5,000 square-foot home with her husband Brian and their daughter, whose room features scalloped shingles on the wall and an awning over the headboard. She says she wanted it to feel “like a living dollhouse.”

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (12)

The colorful tile in the bathroom is unexpected and playful, as is the clawfoot tub that she painted baby blue:

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (13)

I’m all about work spaces, so I love seeing how other people set theirs up. Alison incorporated hers right into the family room, with a craft station for her daughter, too:

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (21)

When I worked for an interior designer in Indianapolis, she did the same thing. She had a living room-slash-home office with built-in shelves like these. Not only that, but she collected little chairs to fill them with. I always thought that was so cool. Love the little chairs Alison has in hers! Seeing them brought back memories of my design-assistant days. :)

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (20)

The floor in the laundry room has colorful encaustic tile, and the skirt under the sink was made from a vintage tablecloth:

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (15)

She says, “I’m really into pantries and laundry rooms, and making them pleasant destinations.”

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (7)

The pantry is behind this cheery yellow screen door:

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (6)

The green cabinets look similar to the Benjamin Moore paint color Green Gables.

I didn’t realize it at first, but she has two farmhouse sinks next to each other in the kitchen, which she opted for instead of one big one. Interesting way to create a divided-sink effect.

The dark red Lacanche range is a showstopper. I can see why she calls it “the hearth of the room:”

Red Kitchen Range in Alison's Farmhouse

Many thanks to Alison for sharing her home with us! Visit her website to see more photos by Sheila Cooper and Kathryn Russell. Becky Harris wrote an article about it on Houzz with more information about it, too!

Alison Kandler's Colorful Farmhouse (5)

It’s amazing how quickly my mood can change when I see “happy rooms” like these. I woke up feeling tired and stressed this morning, but then immediately felt a little better after seeing Alison’s house. I hope my blog is a happy, fun place that brings a smile to your day, no matter how bad it might be. Whenever I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything on my To-Do List, that’s the mission that keeps me going. :-)

Don’t forget – I’ve giving away an Amazon Gift Card in my newsletter this week. Click here if you haven’t subscribed yet. All I need is your email address and you’ll be entered!

Julia-simple teal signature

Hooked on Decorating with Vintage Finds? You might like…

Meadowbrook Farm vintage kitchen

Teresa’s Kitchen at Meadowbrook Farm

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Are You Hooked on Houses?

Get Your "House Fix" with My Weekly Newsletter:

Layout and Design Customized by EightCrazy Design.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

bev May 6, 2014 at 8:41 am

I love this. How lucky for the family to come home to everyday.


Mandy May 6, 2014 at 8:48 am

What a lovely home! Love all of the bright colors, the flooring and those teal cabinets! Swoon. So happy!


Carolyn May 6, 2014 at 9:00 am

LOVE it! I did see this on Houzz, so I’ll reiterate my thoughts here. Reminds me of the kind of home with happy colors and vintage charm that Mary Engebreit featured in her (now defunct) magazine. Lots of fun colors and patterns, but not overwhelming. The owner/designer obviously had a lot of space to fill (5000 square feet!!!) and apparently had fun doing it. Love the architecture, too. Saw the photos of the exterior on Alison’s page – wow! And it’s nice that the family can be together and she can still work on her projects by supplying the TV with headphones. Brilliant! Thanks, Julia, for taking the time to find fun, inspiring, envy-feeding, and interesting houses to share with your readers. You’re often the first blog I turn to in the mornings, so you help set the tone for my day. I appreciate your making it a positive one.


hookedonhouses May 6, 2014 at 9:33 am

Yes! I hadn’t though of that, but now that you mention it, it’s very Mary! These are the kinds of rooms I always loved seeing in her magazine. Thanks, Carolyn! :)


jep May 7, 2014 at 6:07 am

I also immediately thought of Mary Engelbreit while looking at this house. I still have all of my old Home Companion magazines saved to show to our granddaughter. This does look like a fun house to have for a home. Wonder if as we age we crave more color like we enjoy stronger flavors in food? I find myself looking at the paint color selections in stores all the time now…maybe there is painting in our future. ;-)


hookedonhouses May 7, 2014 at 7:35 am

I wish I had saved my old issues! I’d love to be able to look back at them now. I like your theory about craving more color and flavor as we get older. I know I do! :-)


Carolyn May 7, 2014 at 9:21 am

I have been purging like mad over the last year in getting our house ready to go on the market after being here 26 years. I had saved many of my copies of “Home Companion,” but since we’re moving to a much smaller space, I couldn’t keep them. I did clip and save some of my favorite features, though. I thought about selling the complete issues on eBay, but didn’t go to the trouble, but you can usually find many there. I also think it’s interesting that in staging for real estate the advice is all about bland neutrals, very spare decorating, and no personality. It’s the HGTV-ing of real estate. My creative side rebels. As this story shows, personality done with a designer’s eye can be very appealing.


jackie peters May 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

In the quilt cupboard there is a canvas of a lady… it antique or local artist? I would love to know more about the artist.


hookedonhouses May 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Wish I knew! Sorry. Maybe she’ll stop by and fill us in.


Maggie May 6, 2014 at 10:28 am

How darling! Especially the bedrooms! Love it! She certainly has a flare for design:)


Laura May 6, 2014 at 10:36 am

LOVE this house, and the other 2 on her website. Fantastic. Love the wallpaper, tile floors, the colorful kitchen (!), the beautiful portraits scattered around, that amazing stove – everything. I’m also very fond of 20s and 30s decorating styles. My Hoosier in the kitchen is one of my favorite pieces of furniture. Thank you for a very enjoyable few minutes perusing this one – I needed it!


Marm May 6, 2014 at 10:42 am

Love your blog. You do a great job and it always has a happy feel; not to snobby or braggy, if that is a word. It just feels like you are sharing something you love.


hookedonhouses May 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm

That has to be one of the nicest compliments I’ve gotten. Thanks, Marm! :)


Jessica May 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm

I love this house! The wallpaper in the bedroom is so pretty!


Wendy May 6, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Lovely and inspiring.


Wendy May 6, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Had to add another thought. In addition to loving the floors, I completely applaud the brave and beautiful way she used wallpaper. And the SKILL of the paper hanger in that bathroom where the pink paper covers the walls and ceiling with all those angles. However did she do that?!


MelanieL May 6, 2014 at 12:11 pm

This is a beautiful house! I always look forward to reading your blog, looking at beautiful houses, even the strange and funny ones, brightens my day too:)


Cheryl May 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm

I could just feast my eyes on this house all day. When my husband and I went house hunting a few years back, I went grudgingly to see a house that looked in the listing photos like my dream home on the outside, but the pictures of the interior looked a bit over-the-top colorful. But when we walked in all I felt was happiness. Unfortunately they had accepted an offer before we made ours, but we found another one that we love. I just need to be a bit more adventurous! This is great inspiration.


Jenny@EvolutionofStyle May 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Love this house – especially those bathrooms! Such fun floors and great uses of color. Don’t get me started on how awesome that family room is – I would love built-ins like that where you could do your thing and still be with the family. Perfect!


hookedonhouses May 6, 2014 at 1:36 pm

I know, right? I love that family room.


deb May 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Love this!


Corinne May 6, 2014 at 4:15 pm

So pretty and cheerful!


tricia @ littlecottageonthepond May 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm

What a happy house! I adore all of the cute cottage touches :)


Bernie May 6, 2014 at 7:30 pm

OH MY…I think this is my favorite house ever….and I’ve seen a LOT of houses!


Kim May 6, 2014 at 9:35 pm

You know I love color and I love this house. I saw it on houzz, too.


Esther George May 7, 2014 at 2:54 am

Hi Julia I couldn’t utter another word …except Ditto.. So much gorgeousness to take in. I need to go back and admire some more. Thank you for sharing beauty. Regards Esther from Sydney, Oh by the way Hooked On Houses is my happy place. PS in case I don’t get a chance have a Wonderful Mothers Day.


hookedonhouses May 7, 2014 at 7:16 am

Thanks, Esther! Happy Mother’s Day to you, too! :)


maddie may May 7, 2014 at 5:15 am

I feel I’ve seen my top 5 houses that I just adore & then another one pops up that I fall in love with……this house is absolutely on my list….. It is wonderful in the mix of colors & special touches of character in each room that just make me want to keep looking at everything over & over again…. (Be still my heart)….


hookedonhouses May 7, 2014 at 7:36 am

I totally know what you mean. This is another “favorite house” of mine now, too!


Gayle May 7, 2014 at 6:16 am

Love, Love, Love this home!


Alie B May 7, 2014 at 7:23 am

I saw the article in Houzz about this gorgeous place. Doesn’t the kitchen remind you a bit of Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne’s kitchen, which you featured a while back, Julia? To answer your question, yes, your blog uplifts my day; particularly when I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps. Thank you for your efforts! :-)


hookedonhouses May 7, 2014 at 7:27 am

It does have a similar vibe to their kitchen, now that you mention it with the colors and the vintage finds.

Thanks for your kind words, Alie! And in case I haven’t mentioned it lately, I really do appreciate readers like you who stop by every day and join the conversation. :-)


Carmen May 7, 2014 at 7:51 am

I thought of Mary Engebreit also. I love this home. I love the reference to Indy. Thank you Julia for your wonderful site. I work from home and I always check your site before I start work. Your site is a quick little escape before I start my work day. Thank you!


Fiamma May 7, 2014 at 8:01 am

Such a great home, saw it on Houzz as well. While I love the kitchen, that pantry is superb and I want that stove, there is too much open shelving in it for me. I could tough it out though if I had to. LOL


Dawn May 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Beautiful! I would move there in a second!

And – wow! – we have the exact same “vintage shutters” around the windows in our family room that she has in the bedroom – same color too!

I never saw them anywhere else and love them.

They were in the house when we moved in so I have no idea where they came from.


Silvina May 7, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Yes, Julia! Your blog is a very happy and fun place and always brings me a smile, be sure of that. And not only that, I think I learn a lot here!
I love this house, and I love finding another kitchen with double sinks as mine. I arrived to that solution because farmhoseuse sinks are not very common here so I couldn’t find a large one and I “need” a divided-sink effect to wash my dishes. Now I’m very happy with them.
I enjoy your blog a lot, it’s unique and very interesting.
A big hug! Besos!


hookedonhouses May 8, 2014 at 7:29 am

Hi Silvina! I forgot that you did the same kind of thing in your kitchen with the sinks. Such a clever solution! If anyone missed my post about yours, they can see the photos here: It’s one of my favorites!

Thanks for your kind words. Always nice to hear from you! :)


tammyCA May 9, 2014 at 2:15 am

I’m always glad when I see homes filled with colors..I’ve never been a neutrals person.


Kristin May 9, 2014 at 10:30 am

See? WALLpaper. It is just precious in that bedroom. An apt design can make a room. Plain white walls are boring. Wallpaper gives a space that warm, “homey” feeling. I sense a comeback- wallpaper and closed kitchens. Paper can really run into some big dollars, and I cringe when I see renovators scrape off some vintage paper that just go so well in a room to replace it with stark white paint. Same with wood – hmmm I may be on to something!


hookedonhouses May 9, 2014 at 10:46 am

Good point, Kristin! A beautiful pattern on the walls really can transform a room.


Irma May 9, 2014 at 1:36 pm

I enjoy your passion for houses,Julia. There’s always something new, and often different,featured on your blog. I love color and personality which this house has in spades! This would be my dream home! Warm,happy colors and loads of charm! Thanks for sharing.


hookedonhouses May 9, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Thanks, Irma — I appreciate that! :)


Miz Boo May 9, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Thank you Julia! This is just wonderful!!!


Mark @ Kitchen Remodeling May 11, 2014 at 6:57 am

I love the colors. Nice post. Thanks Julia.


LucyT May 11, 2014 at 10:11 am

This is my favorite home EVER! I have to emulate it.Not serious yet functional and so happy.I am starting today in my daughters room we just moved and she is so sad about leaving her home.She will LOVE living in her very own doll house.Thank you for breathing life into my decorating!


Susan May 13, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Just love this! I love color in my home too . It just makes me happy.


Elizabeth Sagarminaga May 14, 2014 at 2:31 am

This is just wonderful .This house look more “sophisticated”. I love the colors. This would be my dream home! Thanks for awesome sharing.


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: