California Cool: Tour an Edgy Monterey Family Home

This Monterey, California family loves art, color and plenty of stylish details in their hip home.

By: Jeanine Hays
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Photo By: Tamara Beltran

Photo By: Tamara Beltran

Photo By: Tamara Beltran

Photo By: Tamara Beltran

Photo By: Tamara Beltran

Photo By: Tamara Beltran

Photo By: Tamara Beltran

Photo By: Tamara Beltran

Photo By: Tamara Beltran

Photo By: Tamara Beltran

Photo By: Tamara Beltran

Photo By: Tamara Beltran


Interior stylist did a clever job harmonizing a living and dining room in her Monterey, California home. Though the first floor of this home isn’t an open plan, the living room and dining room are close enough to each other to require a few connections in their design plan. The stripes on the rug, the polka dots on the table runner and even the triangle patterns on the wall in the dining room all have correlatives in the living room. And where there is the biggest difference - the complete lack of art in the dining room - all of the colors on the wall have been taken from the living room gallery wall, creating some beautiful visual connections.

An Eye for Talent

Interior stylist Tamara Lee Beltran has an eye for what looks good - and what could look good, given the right amount of TLC. Six years ago when she first laid eyes on what would be her home, it was a run down home in a traditional '50s California style that had been vacant for two years. The only things it had going for it were a seaside location and a new coat of beige paint.

Setting the Tone

In the six years since that first encounter, the 1,000 square foot home has become an explosion of design creativity, without a drop of beige to be found. “I started out painting the walls,” Beltran remembers, “I also painted our kitchen cabinets, countertops and floors. I pretty much painted my way though the beige until it was gone.” In the living room, the beige was replaced with an explosion of colors, patterns and artwork, all based around a striking, pink sectional sofa backed by a truly impressive gallery wall.

Big Color, Small Detail

With so much amazing design going on in this living room, it’s easy to miss some of the smaller details that make it work. Tamara does an excellent job of creating layers in this living room. Every instance of a pattern or color is echoed or repeated somewhere else in the room so that nothing feels out of place. Just in this vignette, the leopard print of the pillow is repeated in the stool, while the yellow of the throw blanket is repeated in several of the art pieces on the wall. This maximalist approach works best when every element in the room reinforces several others.

To Die For Dining

Though the living room is an undoubted showstopper, the dining room might be the purest example of a design style that Tamara describes as, “Edgy modern with a rustic undertone and pops of fun color.” This room has all of that and more from the funky paint job on the walls to the metallic tabletop adorned with bowls of grass. And if that isn’t '80s punk rock enough for you, there’s the snake plant propped atop the bottom half of a mannequin to complete this awesome, unique picture.

DIY Powder Room

With its focus on functionality and hardwearing materials, the bathroom can be one of the hardest spaces in the home for DIY design. Still, Tamara found a way to put her own stamp on this room over time. “I worked on our house myself over the last few years,” she remembers. “I DIYed open shelves in the bathroom. I also continued my painting venture in the shower, and stenciled the bathroom floors.” The result is a beautiful, spa-type feel from the floor up, accented by lots of bright, leafy green plants.

Chill Out

Tamara’s bedroom is a far cry from the high-energy of the living area. Away from the bright colors and energetic patterns, this is a space designed for relaxation. The dark gray walls set an intimate mood, overlaid by black and white accents that continue the calm feeling. Warm pops of pink from the bedding provide contrast. The art in this space is simple and focused, a tribute to the designer, her husband, and the home that they share.

Personal Touches

“I love everything in my home, because almost everything has a story behind it,” Tamara says about the small touches that define her bedroom. When asked about the inspiration for the range of styles and approaches she displays in her home, she simply replies, “It just comes to me. It’s the hardest when I feel I have no inspiration to be creative but most of the time everything inspires me!”

Gallery Galore

With the sofa out of the way it becomes instantly clear that the real star of this space is art. This gallery wall combines an amazing array of patterns, shapes, colors, and even frame types to create a truly dazzling display. Tamara’s approach to buying art is simple: “If I feel it I buy it then it just all comes together and flows like music,” she says.

In Black and White

This California home's design doesn’t stop on the first floor. Upstairs, Brenna, one of Tamara Beltran's three daughters, has a room every bit as cool as the rest of this interior. High energy patterns keep this room’s classic black and white color palette looking lively, alongside a few bright pops of color. Just like downstairs, this bedroom is full of cool little details, like the stenciled headboard and monogram wall art.

Pile It On

Layering is an important element in Beltran's design. As in the bathroom, in the bedroom the layers begin from the ground up. Here, a simple black and white striped rug becomes the anchor that connects every other black and white element in the master bedroom from the stools to the art for a cohesive and sophisticated look.

Inspiration Station

Tamara’s office is a stylish ode to the need to get things done. From here, she runs the many facets of her business, all grounded in her blog and online shop, . Keeping her inspired, her geometric wallpaper is decorated with prints from her own shop. It’s the perfect way to stay focused, one big project after the next.