Melissa Akkaway's Beachy Keen SoCal Bungalow

Color, pattern, and quirks galore. Fashion entrepreneur Melissa Akkaway used her eye for accessorizing to infuse her sunny SoCal bungalow with loads of personality.
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melissa akkaway sitting on rattan chair on front porch

For Melissa Akkaway, it’s all about the details. The former boutique owner, fashion and retail expert, and founder of The Particulars (her content site that focuses on accessories) has spent her career traveling the world in search of awesome jewelry, hats, shoes, and anything else that can elevate an outfit. 

When she and her husband, Eddie, bought a cute Venice Beach bungalow as a second home for their Malibu-based family (including kids Jack, 10, and Ford, five), she applied her fashion-styling skills to the space. Previously owned by an architect and a designer, the house was in great shape, so Melissa and interior designer Jeff Andrews focused on adding details to make it feel more personal. They started with color. “I’m not afraid of color or bold prints and neither is Jeff,” Melissa says. The home’s signature splashy teal shows up all over, from the front door to the kitchen appliances to the shower stall that’s completely covered in teal tiles. 

turquoise front door of white beach house

With Venice Beach a short walk away, Eddie’s surfboard gets a lot of use.

white kitchen with turquoise vintage appliances

A tale of two tiles: Melissa went with classic subway tile in a mixed-neutral palette on the walls and chose bold patterned tile for the floor. “It’s meant to get worn and weathered,” she says. “It adds to the charm!”

Next came pattern. Bold, hand-painted stripes on the ceiling of the boys’ room add a fun, graphic punch. Patterned floor tiles act as a common thread throughout the bungalow and create a laid-back, old California mood. And a mix of textiles—rugs and bed linens with graphic prints, accent pillows with a tropical vibe—brings warmth and whimsy. “We wanted to keep all the original charm of this house while making it conducive to how a modern family lives,” says Jeff. “The vintage feel was easy to achieve in a funky little cottage like this.”

beachy bar with a framed sheet of two dollar bills

In the bar area, cabinet doors cleverly conceal a washer and dryer. A framed sheet of two-dollar bills was a gift from Melissa’s father for Jack and Ford. “My sons always say, ‘Mom, if we ever need money, we can break the frame!’ ” she says.

melissa akkaway sitting on pastel-painted staircase

Teal ties the home together, showing up in the pastel-painted stairs and the tiled shower (below).

square turquoise tile shower

"I love experimenting with pattern and color. It may not be everyone’s taste, but this house feels like us and really fits our family." —Melissa

beachy master bedroom with vintage art

Custom throw pillows in Zimmer + Rohde fabric and vintage art in warm tones create a subdued, calm palette for the master bedroom.

beachy living room with pastel palm furniture

The eclectic living room mixes neutrals, cool blues, and a pair of pastel-print armchairs to make the Golden Girls jealous.

"The design has a nice balance of comfort, color, and surprise that the family can enjoy forever." —Designer Jeff Andrews

When the family isn’t chilling at the beach, they’re probably hosting friends, with everyone gathering around the firepit on the roomy patio. “The outdoor space is one of my favorite features of the house; it feels so effortless hosting friends and family back there,” Melissa says. The boys love parties, too, because their room is perfect for sleepovers. There’s a hanging rattan chair for indoor swinging, and the room’s storage space was transformed into a loft. “We put mattresses and pillows on the floor up there so they can lounge and hang out with their friends,” she says. 

boys blue and white bedroom with hanging rattan chair

While the previous owners used this room as the master bedroom, Melissa and Eddie gave it to the boys so they could have more space to play.

The quirky mix of color and pattern, new things, and old things is an expression of Melissa’s style. Staying true to herself made renovating the bungalow a lot of fun—and created a space that’s equally fun to live in. “I find it’s good to go with what you love, then move forward and don’t look back!” she says. 

This article originally appeared in our Summer 2020 issue. Get the magazine here