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A Must-See Modern Home Makeover in Cardiff

How the Petersons overhauled their home with a mix of vintage finds and modern materials

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Cardiff Makeover / Side Yard 01

Side Yard

A raised garden bed once laid claim to one side of the house. But the couple removed that in favor of a fire pit, surrounded by Article chairs and a West Elm side table, for another entertaining area.

At first glance, the Petersons’ home is as California cool as can be—neutral shades, woven woods, and hints of indigo that evoke the ocean. But if you look closer, or let Ashley take you on a tour through it, the common thread is a series of pieces she’s plucked during her global travels. A vase from Morocco here, pillows upholstered in fabric from Thailand there, and artwork from Positano, Italy, upstairs.

Cardiff Makeover / Couple 02

Thomas and Ashley Peterson

“It didn’t look like this when I got it,” says her husband, Thomas.

Picture this: In 2013, a bachelor is putting a down payment on a duplex in Cardiff and inviting roommates to live with him. Cut to 2017 and that bachelor is now planning his wedding. It was around that time the soon-to-be Mrs. began reimagining the place. Over the course of three years, Ashley worked from back to front to make the house a home.

Out back, they replaced a decrepit retaining wall that framed three outdoor entertaining areas, swapping out wood for stone. A dining table now stands where an old pepper tree had been, and a fire pit and chairs have taken the place of a raised garden. Smack dab in the center is a conversation set from Target, complete with Ashley’s own pillows that she retails through The Lifestyled Home, the interior design firm and Etsy shop that she runs upstairs.

Cardiff Makeover / Patio 03

Patio

Thanksgivings, bridal showers, barbecues—the Petersons have hosted them all on their spacious back patio. Anchoring the entertaining space is this conversation set, complete with couch, chairs, coffee table, and poufs from Target, styled with pillows by Ashley herself. The couple landscaped the hill with drought-tolerant foliage, and their dog, Zona, loves to roam and run through it.

Cardiff Makeover / Exterior 04

Exterior

Armstrong Garden Centers directed the Petersons on how to install drought-tolerant landscaping, including an olive tree, agaves, barrel cacti, grasses, and a yucca plant. Finally, they put a dark coat of paint on their siding and brick for a modern spin, and hung a string of ceramic parasols from The Garage Collective to accessorize the front door.

Step two of the facelift was installing luxury vinyl plank flooring throughout the home. Then resurfacing the kitchen cabinets, and from there moving upstairs to update the primary and guest bathrooms. The former is a stunner, with terrazzo tile flooring and an open shower with a linear drain.

Cardiff Makeover / Desk 05

Ashley uses two of the four bedrooms upstairs for her business. At the top of the stairs is her product photo studio, and around the corner is a smaller bedroom that’s the perfect size for her office. Here, she dreams up her designs and sews pillows, dog beds, and other goods made with textiles sourced from all over the world.

The vintage fabrics are her favorite, especially bolts from Africa and Southeast Asia. Her keen eye for vintage decor is evident not just in her product catalog, but throughout her home.

Cardiff Makeover / Primary Bathroom 06

Primary Bathroom

The terrazzo tile flooring says it all in the primary bath: modern edge. The couple installed an open shower and ripped out a single vanity, replacing it with two sinks.

Cardiff Makeover / Bedroom 07

“How do I style? Mixing vintage and modern, and adding in pieces of interest that are sentimental. We always try to buy something every time we go on a trip, whether it’s art or a little vase,” Ashley says. She has a dedicated styling closet below the stairs to store all the pieces she collects and likes to switch out on occasion.

Cardiff Makeover / Fireplace 08

Fireplace

At one point, the entire facade of the fireplace was tile. The Petersons chipped all of that away and replaced it with polished concrete for a modern stamp on an age-old structure. The mantel, a wooden beam anchored to the wall, holds artwork and mementos from the couple’s travels.

But a few are too sentimental to stow away. The dining room shows off mementos from her grandparents: a Chinese chest, a painted bowl, a seascape painting, sheepskin chair covers from New Zealand.

“I used to not love my grandparents’ stuff, but now some of my favorite pieces in my house are from them,” she says, and adds a bit of advice: “Decorate with things that speak to you instead of buying things to buy them—over the years, I’m doing less of that. Everyone should try it.”

Cardiff Makeover / Dining Room 09

Dining Room

The table is from Living Spaces, the chairs from Poly & Bark; Ashley created the leather cushions. A vintage Turkish rug defines the space, and the hand-painted bowl, seascape painting, and Chinese chest are all heirlooms from her grandparents. Nearby, white lounge chairs from Target are topped with New Zealand sheepskin, also from her grandmother.

Cardiff Makeover / Kitchen 10

Kitchen

The kitchen is the couple’s next big project. Ashley hopes to redo the countertops in quartz and even knock out the pantry (and reestablish it in the laundry room) to extend her surfaces. The runner is from Mesa Vintage, and that “Bear Down” license plate collage is a callback to the couple’s alma mater, the University of Arizona.

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