Whimsical Touches Add Personality to This Preppy California House

Childhood pals relied on their shared history—plus a love for all things colorful and a bit glam—to energize a sleepy California house.

With papers signed, keys in hand, and a bunch of plain rooms in need of an update, California transplant Whitney Hanley also had the perfect person on speed dial: her childhood friend, interior designer Amanda Reynal. "Whit and I have always shared a slightly whimsical sensibility: Neither of us shies away from color, and we like to keep the mood light and fresh,” says Amanda.

With lively but casual glamour, the home is part classic Palm Beach, part chic garden party. It’s an aesthetic the two shared even as they learned to ride horses, obsessed over Lilly Pulitzer dresses, and daydreamed about life after middle school in Long Island, circa 1985.

colorful california house tour dining room zebra artcolorful room (2765), décor (2100), California (5742), blue room (2094)

In the dining room, graphic zebra artwork makes a modern counterpoint to the dining room's traditional Chippendale-style chairs. "Art is the soul of a home," says Amanda. "I like contemporary pieces in traditional interiors because if you do everything in the same style, the look gets stagnant." Pops of preppy pink, blue and green repeat throughout the home.

colorful california house tour entryway seating blue

To transform the entryway from a pass-through to a comfy niche, Amanda built in a window seat, framed a vintage Pucci scarf, and pulled up a couple of garden stools that bring the outside in. No longer a drop zone, Whitney says it might be her favorite spot in the house. Trellis motifs like this real wood lattice are repeated throughout the house.

colorful california house tour living room chairs artwork

The fresh colors and lively spirit of a large abstract painting by Des Moines artist Robert Spellman served as the jumping-off point for the whole house. Geometric fretwork designs like this pagoda-style shelf provide extra interest and a sense of outdoor living. A vintage menagerie adds personality and keeps things from getting too serious.

Designer Amanda Reynal

You might come in cranky, but I defy anyone to leave here unhappy.

— Designer Amanda Reynal
colorful california house tour kitchen bar white

Woven pendants and a bamboo mirror are unexpected touches in the white-on-white kitchen. "There has to be some personality—a few plot twists. The space should give a feeling for what really matters to the people," says Amanda. Trellis wallpaper reinterprets the wood lattice in the entrway.

colorful california house tour bedroom bed blue

A mix of patterns in a narrower palette keeps the primary bedroom lively but tranquil. "Think of the rooms as symbiotic: You could take any piece of furniture, pout it in another room, and it would still work beautifully," says Amanda. Framed artwork continues the blue and beige palette above an upholstered bed frame with a funky chevron pattern. A crisp white bedspread helps calm a roomful of texture.

colorful california house tour desk blue window

This vintage desk was a lucky find during a Palm Beach shopping expedition. It didn’t appear particularly special in white, Amanda says, “But lacquered this rich blue, all of the little details suddenly came into their own.” Tame bright colors by repeating them throughout the house and framing them with neutrals.

colorful california house tour deck outdoor dining area

The Chinese Chippendale-style motif of the outdoor furniture echoes the indoor style. A blue and white striped umbrella keeps the California sun off of guests dining al fresco.

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