Tips on creating an affordable tropical retreat

In the last 10 years, Bob Ramirez estimates that he has poured about $500,000 into the construction of his home and grounds. Decorating it, however, was far less costly. Here are some of the clever ideas and affordable resources used to create a tropical but family-friendly retreat:

Tropical retreat: An Aug. 21 Home section article on a Bali-style house in Santa Monica was accompanied by a short article offering shopping tips that misidentified homeowner and designer Lorri Kline as Lisa Kline.


Lisa Kline scoured flea markets, garage sales and EBay to find streamlined Midcentury tables and courtroom chairs whose clean lines helped to prevent spaces from feeling too busy. Bar stools with iron frames and woven seats came from Pier 1 Imports. A Danish modern-style settee was purchased from, and the desk and counter top in her sons' room are Pottery Barn basics. To maximize seating in the family music room, Kline pushed together IKEA leather sectionals to form one extra-long sofa and one double-width chaise. She also purchased minimalist wooden platform beds from IKEA and West Elm, dressing them up with ethnic textiles and lightweight rugs as bed covers.


Inexpensive Midcentury table lamps and simple pendants provide extra illumination in the house. On the outside dining area, a large Chinese paper lantern hangs over the table. Kline purchased the ceiling fan in the master bedroom from In an open-air sleeping terrace, she paired a Z Gallerie lamp base with a custom cowhide shade from


In some outdoor areas, surfaces were clad in bamboo fencing, sold in rolls at Anawalt Lumber. For a cost-effective floor in the guesthouse, plywood sheets were simply given a dark stain. In the main house, Kline mixed vintage Persian carpets in muted hues with neutral-colored, diamond-patterned, vintage Moroccan rugs, all from In the master bedroom: sheepskin rugs from IKEA and Costco.


For small furniture, solid wood pieces and global accessories, Kline shopped at import warehouses including Singh Imports in L.A.'s West Adams neighborhood, (310) 559-3826,; Bo Tree Source in L.A.'s Highland Park neighborhood, (323) 441-8950,; and Berbere World Imports in Culver City, (310) 842-3842, She also took textiles from Africa and Asia to be sewn into pillows at Acapillow Home in Santa Monica, (310) 453-3480,


A hammock slung between two palm trees was brought home from a trip to the Yucatán, but the furniture and cushions surrounding the solar-powered saltwater pool were purchased from West Elm.

— David A. Keeps

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad