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A Home That Proves You Can Turn Trash Into Treasure

HGTV Magazine takes you inside a California bungalow that takes the phrase "finders keepers" to a whole new level.

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Photo: Lisa Romerein; Styled by Liz Strong. From: HGTV Magazine.

The House

Diehard junkers Linda and Chris Bradford are the first to admit that the 1927 bungalow they rent in Long Beach, CA, is filled with trash. “We decorate with stuff people throw away,” says Linda. A rummager since college, Linda has a knack for spotting the potential in the dusty, the musty and the rusty. That’s apparent in the couple’s 1,100-square-foot seaside cottage, which they moved into a year ago after retiring and downsizing from a large house in Northern California.

In every room, Linda manages to stylishly arrange far-from-perfect reclaimed pieces  —  the wood is battered, the paint is chipped the metal is dinged  —  and the overall result feels light and airy, comfortable and casual. “I keep the walls neutral and bring in something upholstered from Pottery Barn. It all just works,” she says. Five years ago Linda turned her treasure-hunting hobby into a full-fledged business called Junk Style Design, offering customers who visit her stall at the Long Beach Antique Market the same kind of scavenged wares that fill her home.

Now she and Chris hunt down hidden gems year-round  —  including on two annual buying trips to Texas  —  and they’ll happily dig through salvage yards or shiver in chilly predawn rain waiting for estate sales to start. “There’s something special about things that have lived with, and been loved by, someone else,” says Linda. “Each piece has a history and a story to tell.”

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Photo: Lisa Romerein; Styled by Liz Strong. From: HGTV Magazine.

Living Room

Chairs: Nabbed at a swap meet for about $25 each, the leather-cushion chairs were in pristine condition. “The rattan makes them look beachy,” says Linda.
Side table: A big fan of pieces that multitask, Linda uses this old metal stool as a perch for her morning tea as well as extra seating for guests.
Coffee table: Linda’s husband, Chris, cut down the legs of a timeworn kitchen table to transform it into a coffee table. “I love the faded linoleum on top,” Linda says.
Collectibles: A gift from Linda’s mom, the pine drop leaf table displays scavenged treasures, like Big Ben clocks, a 1935 trophy, and a $2 thrift store lamp.

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Photo: Lisa Romerein; Styled by Liz Strong. From: HGTV Magazine.


Dishware: Taking off a cabinet door put Linda’s dishes — including a green-striped Roseville bowl and ’50s-style Anthropologie juice glasses — on full view.
Stools: Carved with students’ names and initials, stools from the Los Angeles school district add some character to the neutral kitchen.

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Photo: Lisa Romerein; Styled by Liz Strong. From: HGTV Magazine.

Dining Room

Plates: Linda scored the Buffalo China dinnerware at a salvage yard selling vintage restaurant goods. Total cost for the three dishes: $3.
Centerpiece: For a laid-back display, a silver-plated bowl, a food cloche, and an old battery jar used as a vase are corralled in an upturned drying rack.
Dining table: The couple bought this Amish-made table, built from barn wood, 25 years ago and paired it with Pottery Barn chairs.
Bench: A 7 1/2-foot-wide hand-hewn bench found on a buying trip to Texas “is great for casual meals, especially with our grandkids,” says Linda.

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