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Home tour: Santa Monica Shangri-La

August 21, 2010 |  6:00 am

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When they married, Bob Ramirez and Lorri Kline made a modest proposal for their dream home: "We wanted a small farm that was Santa Monica-adjacent," Ramirez says, "a place where we could start our family, grow our own food and raise chickens."Balistyle_2

Ten years ago, the couple started realizing that dream on a quarter-acre with a rather old-fashioned 1940s English-style house in Santa Monica. The property has since welcomed two sons, two cats, a chicken coop, a bunny hutch, a fish pond and an aviary for four green singing finches. More impressively, the 2,300-square-foot traditional residence has morphed into a 3,700-square-foot tropical retreat, replete with the open-air rooms, exposed wooden posts and beams and the steeply pitched roofs of a Bali beach resort. For Ramirez, a custom home designer and builder, and Kline, an interior finishes specialist, the urban farm has become their Santa Monica Shangri-La.

Ramirez estimates that he has poured about $500,000 into the construction of his home and grounds. Decorating it, however, was far less costly. Kline picked up good buys from the Lamps Plus website, dressed up platform beds from Ikea with ethnic textiles and lightweight rugs as bed covers, and even hit up Urban Outfitters for a daybed.

Read the full article on this tropical retreat, click through  our photo gallery for more of the family's Bali-inspired wonderland or keep reading for more on Kline's decor sources ...

Shopping sources: Creating a tropical retreat

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FURNITURE

Lorri Kline scoured flea markets, garage sales and EBay to find streamlined Midcentury tables and courtroom chairs whose clean lines helped to prevent spaces from feeling too busy. Bar stools with iron frames and woven seats came from Pier 1 Imports. The Danish modern-style settee pictured above was purchased from Urban Outfitters, and the desk and counter top in her sons' room are Pottery Barn basics. To maximize seating in the family music room, Kline pushed together Ikea leather sectionals to form one extra-long sofa and one double-width chaise. She also purchased minimalist wooden platform beds from Ikea and West Elm, dressing them up with ethnic textiles and lightweight rugs as bed covers.


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LIGHTING

Inexpensive Midcentury table lamps and simple pendants provide extra illumination in the house. On the outside dining area, a large Chinese paper lantern hangs over the table. Kline purchased the ceiling fan in the master bedroom from Lamps Plus. In an open-air sleeping terrace, she paired a Z Gallerie lamp base with a custom cowhide shade from Taos Drums.

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WALLS AND FLOORS

In some outdoor areas, surfaces were clad in bamboo fencing, sold in rolls at Anawalt Lumber. For a cost-effective floor in the guesthouse, plywood sheets were simply given a dark stain. In the main house, Kline mixed vintage Persian carpets in muted hues with neutral-colored, diamond-patterned, vintage Moroccan rugs, all from ESaleRugs. In the master bedroom: sheepskin rugs from Ikea and Costco.


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ETHNIC ACCENTS

For small furniture, solid wood pieces and global accessories, Kline shopped at import warehouses including Singh Imports in L.A.'s West Adams neighborhood, (310) 559-3826; Bo Tree Source in L.A.'s Highland Park neighborhood, (323) 441-8950; and Berbere World Imports in Culver City, (310) 842-3842. She also took textiles from Africa and Asia to be sewn into pillows at Acapillow Home in Santa Monica, (310) 453-3480.

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OUTDOOR

A hammock slung between two palm trees was brought home from a trip to the Yucatán, but the furniture and cushions surrounding the solar-powered saltwater pool were purchased from West Elm.

— David A. Keeps

Photo credits: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

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Home photo gallery extravaganza

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