Andrea Ramirez lives with her husband, Anthony, and their four-year-old daughter, Emilia, in San Rafael, California. “I moved to the States nine years ago, after growing up in Mexicali, Mexico,” she says, “Seeing all the artisans in my country helped me get to know and love color.” Here, she shows us their vibrant family home…
On capturing photos of her daughter: When we first moved here, my daughter and I were outside playing on a blanket, and I took a iPhone video of her singing. Then I screenshot three photos from the video. When I put them up, she was like, ‘That’s me??? Wow!’ She’s my forever model, she’s such a fun subject.
White floor lamp: Ikea.
On a gathering place: When we need furniture, we always look first on Craigslist. This sectional was $400 and brand new — at Ikea, it was like $1200. This is the main spot where we spend family time, and it’s our dog Russell‘s bed.
On family fun: We like playing board games and doing puzzles and dressing up. For movies, my daughter is in love with Trolls. We’ve seen it so many times! Plus, all the Disney princess movies, and Wreck It Ralph. My favorite is Alice in Wonderland with all the colors and big flowers. Last weekend, we were playing school and we were all coloring, and she said, this is done, I need to sanitize the colors! My husband and I were like, ohhhh-kay, this is the new world.
On painting portraits: A while ago, my husband and I were living in a rental apartment with two roommates, and I didn’t have a lot of friends and we didn’t go out a lot. So, I would put music on my headphones and paint. It was an outlet for me. My first portrait ever was Frida Kahlo. I am deeply in love with her. That painting deserved the blue chest of drawers, emulating her blue house in Mexico.
On a pink arch: I made our dining room my little Mexican corner. Pink is a very typical color back home for the outside of many houses, and I have always loved it. Plus, in Mexico, the table is always where the people will gather because there will be food and drinks. It reminds me of unity and friendship and good times.
On painting furniture: The credenza was another Craigslist piece, and painting it pink made it look brand new. Most of our bigger furniture is from garage sales and I just change the color.
On teaching a child Mexican culture: I would love to travel around Mexico with Emilia. And I want her to know all about Mexican food. Tacos are my number one! As soon as I go home, I’m like, bring me the tacos! The tortillas are so different — here, they’re kind of bready; over there, they’re very light. Plus, all the trimmings — the beans, the red sauce, the spicy one, the green one, just adding and adding. If it’s falling from your hands, that’s a good taco.
Cabinet paint color: Wipping willow.
On a monochromatic kitchen: The cabinets are a darker green, and the wall is the same color but with more white added. The green was inspired by a book I have — Black Swan Stories. I went to the paint shop and found the closest shade. It’s so hard to find good colors, so when I see them in real life I hold onto them.
On cooking at home: I’m very lucky that my husband is a very good cook — he’s Irish and does bacon and cabbage or shepherd’s pie. It’s very multi-cultural in our house. And Emilia eats everything, which is very lucky for us.
On collaborating on a child’s room: We brought Emilia to Ikea and she lay down on all the beds and picked this one! For the scallop border, I was looking at half-tone rooms and I didn’t want to go for that, so my idea was to do the scallop on top. I made a stencil and went from there.
On shared values: My husband and I met at a bar in San Francisco. He started telling me stories about his mom and sister from Ireland, and I was attracted to how he was such a family person. He’s the youngest of eight kids. Our daughter now uses a bunch of Irish words — turn on the telly, go put on your knickers!
On color combinations that work: I’m always looking at everyday life to figure out which colors go together. For example, your clothing helps a lot. This is my Madewell room — blue jeans plus a pink top!
Paint color: BFF.
On a painted frame: During the pandemic, I was bored and wanted something to do. This portrait of Zero the Lobby Boy from the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel was hanging in our hallway. So, I painted the background light purple based on the film’s color palette, and the shape was just pure fun since I wanted to break up the hallway’s narrowness and rigidness.
On family photos: The photos above the bed were taken on a trip last year to the Virgin Islands. Emilia wasn’t that little anymore and she loved being on the beach and it felt more like a family trip instead of just taking care of a baby. My husband sleeps on the right, so there’s a photo of him and Emilia; then a photo of three of us in the middle; and on the left, there’s a photo of Emilia and me.
On bedtime reading: During the pandemic, I started knitting and reading a lot. I just finished Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies. It was a very funny, easy book.
On feeling grateful: I am truly in love with my house! When we first moved in last year, I used to wake up at 1 a.m. and just come to the kitchen and was always so grateful and looked all around. I was like, this is such a nice feeling that this is ours. I never take it for granted.
Thank you so much, Andrea!