Hey Everyone! I’d like you to meet Scott and Iliana and their builder-grade, cookie cutter on a cul-de-sac spec home.

Here’s the overview:

The Home Owners: Scott and Iliana

The Budget: $90,000

The DL: This home is in a neighborhood that the owners love, but it does not function properly for their family of four, nor does it represent their tastes or lifestyle. Their kitchen was cheaply remodeled, their dark living room is referred to as “the cave,” and both homeowners struggle to work from home with the playroom immediately adjacent to the office.

The Plan: Create functional front yard living space from which to enjoy the neighborhood, reconfigure the first floor to include a soundproof office and formal dining room, and brighten up the living room by modernizing the fireplace and adding light, cheerful design choices.

For the full story, you can watch all of Episode 12 on iTunes HERE and on Amazon HERE.

As usual, the kitchen gets its own separate post (and in this house, we’ll also include the playroom adjacent to the kitchen), which you can read HERE.

EXTERIOR: Let’s start with the exterior. There was nothing inherently WRONG with the outside of this house. Was it overgrown? Yes. Was it boring? Yes. Was it exactly the same as every other house in the neighborhood? Yes. It wasn’t falling down or uninhabitable or dangerous or a historic landmark in need of restoration, because that’s not really our jam here at Hidden Potential. What this house was, and what we look for when casting homes for the series, is a blank-slate of a house in need of a major personality overhaul.

These homeowners really love the contemporary coastal aesthetic, so with some California Cape Cod vibes in mind, we got to work.

Let the character building begin!!

We started by removing the clump of ratty jungle trees obscuring the front of the house, and also obscuring the owner’s ability to keep an eye on their children while they were playing in the cul de sac.

We removed the shutters that could be found on EVERY OTHER HOUSE in the neighborhood, which, in an INSTANT, immediately separated this home from all the others surrounding it.

We added shingle siding, a classic element of Cape Cod architecture, and juxtaposed that with board and batten accent siding.  When designing in a coastal style, it can be hard not to go all full on nautical with things. In order to balance out the traditional east coast elements of the design (light gray shingles, crisp white trim, iceberg roses), we wanted to make sure to add some California cool into the mix, as well. This is where the succulent walls, blue garage door, polished concrete, and the modern wood fencing around the front patio came into play.

And wait. Did someone say “front patio”? Yup. We added a front patio where before, there was just boring old grass and two folding beach chairs. I mean, it’s basically like adding a whole new room to the house.

Shop similar front patio accessories and decor:

Scott and Iliana were totally floored when they pulled up to the house for the first time. I’m surprised they didn’t drive right by, thinking, “Well that couldn’t possibly be our old house.”

Sometimes, I find it just a teensie bit fun to torture the homeowners by lingering on the outside details a little longer than necessary before taking them inside. Once they start getting really crazy-eyed and antsy, and their gaze keeps involuntarily jumping over to the front door, I know it’s time.

So, let’s talk inside details. But first, will you take a look at this front door? (Ha! See what I did right there? Just building the tension a little, giving you a taste of the reveal day drama.) I’d say it’s the perfect combination of classic Cape and contemporary Cali.

Shop similar front door accessories and decor:

Okay, for reals this time, let’s head inside.

ENTRY WAY: As soon as you walk in the front door, you’re introduced to the colors and vibe of the whole design. Beachy cool. #californiacapecod. No more brown bench on brown mirror on brown wall aesthetic. Instead, there is a custom cabinet refaced with a vintage armoire, original artwork, and friendly plants to welcome you home.

Shop similar entry way accessories and decor:

STAIRCASE: And then, something HAD to be done about these stairs. The dated white metal railings (although dated to when I’m not sure, because when were white metal scrolled railings ever in style?), builder grade chandelier, and dingy carpet were replaced with materials worthy of any Cape Cod manor.

COLOR STORY: Before moving into the rest of the house, I want to share with you the color story for this project. Paint colors are one of THE MOST DIFFICULT areas of design to really nail, and we always put a lot of time into getting it right. Also, I have a few tried and true colors I use throughout all of my designs because, well, I know that they work and can feel confident that they will stand the test of time.

Moving forward, to the right of the entry there is the former formal living room-turned playroom. To create a more functional layout, we moved the playroom entirely, relocating it next to the kitchen, and added a wall to this new space to create both an office and a dining room.

DINING ROOM: By adding a wall that divided the former formal living room in half, we were able to add a formal dining room into the floor plan without having to add additional square footage. Not only is it a beautiful and functional space, but it also creates a greater sense of privacy for the office that is located behind the sound proofed barn door.

Sources: Table custom made by George Bernal

Shop similar dining accessories and decor:

OFFICE: With two parents who work from home often, the previous office space only accommodated a single workstation. Additionally, being located next to the playroom meant having to share airspace with the two kiddos, whereas children are not generally revered for their vocal volume control abilities. To solve this problem we relocated the playroom AND soundproofed the office walls using a dense fabric insulation made from recycled denim.

We furnished the office space with two custom made adjustable height desks, a custom built-in filing cabinet, lots of original art and family photos, AND a futon that allows the space to function as a nice, private, and very QUIET guest room.

Sources: Adjustable height desks custom made by George Bernal, Art by Dodie Sy

Shop similar office accessories and decor:

LIVING ROOM: My goal for the living room, formerly dubbed “the cave,” was to turn it into a light, bright, cheerful gathering place. The first order of business was to remove the cave-like craggy stone fireplace. We replaced it with a unique, happy tile surround reminiscent of a well-worn cottage quilt. We also painted the walls a soft, coastal blue and used artwork and plants to complete the airy beachy vibe. Now, you can almost feel the seabreeze wafting through the sliding glass doors, inviting you out into the California sun.

Sources: Black and White art prints

Shop similar living room accessories and decor:


And that’s a wrap. Boring brown builder grade turned California Cape Cod crowd pleaser. Don’t forget to read the  Ep. 12: Kitchen and Playroom – California Cape Cod for the full rundown on this episode’s kitchen and playroom. Thanks for reading and watching!! Can you believe there is only ONE EPISODE left to blog about in Season One?!! (Insert Mind-Blown emoji here.)

Keep your inbox inspired!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Keep your inbox inspired!

You have Successfully Subscribed!