An Engineer’s Quirky Beach Bungalow on Balboa Island — House Tour
Name: Corinne Schnieders
Location: Balboa Island, California
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: 9 months, renting
Corinne has never been one to follow the crowd, so when it came time to decorate her apartment on Balboa Island in sunny Southern California, she made this back guest house all her own. Forget the bohemian beach style populating everyone’s Pinterest boards these days; this mechanical engineer followed her heart by gathering finds that reflect her love of comfort and fun.
Balboa Island is a tiny, densely populated, bay-front community in Orange County made famous on Arrested Development where “there’s always money in the banana stand.” Spaces are small and rentals hard to come by. Once Corinne found the perfect back guest house apartment, she wanted to fill it with possessions that reminded her of her heritage as a fourth-generation Balboa Island dweller. She sourced vintage flags and a Balboa Island lifesaver from 100 years ago, and proudly displays the boats in bottles that her grandfather created on Balboa Island in the 1950s.
A strong nautical theme is natural given the color palette Corinne gravitates towards. Corinne’s favorite color of red is interspersed throughout the apartment from the red Smeg, to her golden doodle’s bed, to the power drill stowed in her bookshelf. She paired the red accents with blues and whites to act as a neutral backdrop. Corinne was born and raised in Newport Beach and loves being outdoors for sports and sunbathing. With storage at a minimum, she uses her beach bags and sports equipment as decor, hanging them from various hooks around the house.
As an engineer, Corinne seeks out function and comfort in her furniture and surroundings. She likes to invest in pieces that will hold up to her golden doodle Norman’s antics, such as the sofa upholstered in outdoor fabric from Restoration Hardware or the bench made from recycled tires. This frame of mind when selecting furniture helps keep her apartment from looking overly trendy, as form and function often stand the test of time.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: A quirky mix
Inspiration: Surround myself with things that make me happy
Favorite Element: RedBull Flugtag Trophy. It’s gone everywhere with me since I won at age 19.
Biggest Challenge: Small space means I have to edit constantly and keep my possessions minimal.
What Friends Say: “This totally looks like you” or “Can we come and stay?”
Biggest Embarrassment: I’m not easily embarrassed.
Proudest DIY: Hand-made corn hole boards for parties — so fun
Biggest Indulgence: The Cloud Sofa from RH. It’s down filled and covered in perennials fabric. I wanted a super comfy spot to relax and that could also stand up to Norman the golden doodle jumping on it.
Best Advice: Be patient and wait until you can purchase what you really want.
Dream Sources: Design Within Reach
PAINT & COLORS
Bedroom and Bathroom Walls: Benjamin Moore Hale Navy
Sofa and ottoman — Restoration Hardware
Coffee table — Restoration Hardware
Navy blue dresser — Ikea
Side table — vintage milk crates
Mini wall bar — Anthropologie
Bar box — Vintage Ebay find
Lifesaver, Carnival Wheel — both vintage pieces
Bed — Crate and Barrel
Bedding — Matteo Home and West Elm
Hanging Shelf — Anthropologie
Dresser — Restoration Hardware
Crystal lamp — Restoration Hardware
Rolling Bin “Cleats” — Face to Face Designs
Steel Side Table — Room and Board
Photograph — Slim Aarons
Mirror — flea market find. It was orange and I spray painted it with a zinc finish
Flag — Vintage from Ebay
Norman’s bed —
Penny tile backsplash — Merola Tile for Home Depot
Countertops — Caesarstone pure white
Vintage cabinets and hardware
Big Chill Dishwasher
Kitchenaid Mini in matte white