Kitchen countertops: they're SO crucial to the way a kitchen functions, but they're also a huge part of the design. No pressure to pick the right material or anything, ha! With hundreds of kitchen...
Season 2 Episode 10: Super Beachy
The Home Owners
Aron and Darlene
Aron and Darlene purchased this home from the original owners, who had happily raised their four children there. They lovingly passed it on to the new homeowners and their four children, promising the home would take good care of them. And it has. Aron and Darlene love the home, and they love their neighborhood. But they no longer feel the house is working for them or representative of their lifestyle or interests. With three of their four children still living at home, two dogs, and Grandma, it is time to give this family home the purposeful update that it deserves.
I wanted to update the entire home to represent this fun, vibrant family’s love of the beach. They are a quintessential California couple, raising their family in a beach town, teaching their children a love of the ocean and community. As such, the front of their home needed to be opened up to showcase the welcoming, friendly nature of this family. Inside, the floor plan needed rethinking. By removing one of two redundant family rooms, and re-designing each space in the home with a designated purpose in mind, I helped breathe new life into each individual space.
S2EP10 BA Exterior
Before, the exterior of this home was exactly the same as every third house on the street. Builder-grade beige stucco blended in with the rest of the block, and a bulky, outdated fence sealed the front yard off from the neighborhood. By removing the fence, we automatically created a more welcoming patio where there was once an unused, dusty, obscure seating area. Fresh paint in a “paintstakingly” considered color palette immediately differentiates this house from its peers, with ocean hue accents speaking to the homeowners’ love of the sea. Wood shutters and a friendly front door situation scream, “Welcome to our Beach House!” And a beach firepit, complete with sand-inspired decomposed granite floor, invites friendly conversation by creating a warm, beach-bonfire-like atmosphere.
Special Project | Biersafe: This cooler is just so…cool! Be prepared to wow friends and family with this sustainable, in ground cooler option from a small, innovative German company. It costs ZERO dollars to operate, using the ground’s thermodynamics to keep beverages chilled. And, it can be hidden underneath a flower pot. Which is awesome.
This doesn’t happen to me often, but this kitchen space was actually TOO large to accommodate the existing layout. The room was a mish mash of a eat-in dining area, a TV room, and the actual kitchen space, making the large room feel cluttered and confusing. Was it a kitchen? But why was there a sofa in the kitchen? The owners were just trying to make use of the gigantic footprint, but were still left feeling like their downstairs space wasn’t being maximized.
Additionally, it was the type of kitchen that looked pretty nice from afar, but showed its wear and tear the closer you looked. The cabinets were more or less constructed of glorified cardboard held together by years and years worth of paint, the counter was a DIY $99 special, and the backsplash was peeling off because it was made of…stickers.
I have to say here that it is SO common for homeowners to abandon projects when they aren’t going according to plan, which, even as a professional, happens more often than not. In this kitchen, the cumulative effect was a look of disarray. Of things literally peeling apart at the seams. It was time to help this family finish the space off in a manner that would stand the test of time. In order to do so, we needed to totally rethink this space, assigning every inch a defined and clearly stated purpose. This involved, first and foremost, removing an awkwardly placed support post, and enlarging the kitchen island.
The existing flooring in this house was actually in great shape, and fit in perfectly with our new, California coastal aesthetic, so we were able to keep the floors, patching and matching it when needed.
Cabinets & Hardware
Shaker style cabinets in gray (island) and white (perimeter) felt substantial enough to fill this imposing space, and polished chrome cabinet hardware feels like little bits of sunlight glinting off the waves of the ocean.
Plumbing & Appliances
We were able to use the homeowners’ existing appliances, which were stainless steel. In keeping with that, we added a square-edged, double basin stainless steel sink, and polished chrome faucet.
Countertops & Backsplash
For the counters, I selected Urban Lava quartz on the perimeter, and Arctic White quartz for the island. The backsplash is a classic white ceramic tile in a fun, unexpected herringbone pattern.
Lighting, Furniture, & Accessories
I used the lighting and accessories to really “bring in the beach,” so you’ll see lots of turquoise accents alongside wooden and woven materials reminiscent of driftwood and sea grass textures.
Special Project | Operation Office Relocation : Since we had to relocate the office, formerly to be found in a crevice under the stairs, this wall that paralleled the kitchen island was the perfect spot. We were able to create not one but TWO work spaces, one for the grownups, and one for the kiddos, designating a cozy place to pay bills or do homework while in the good company the kitchen always provides.
The Living Room
S2EP10 Living Room
This living room had to function on a higher level than most, since before the family was living with two great room spaces, and I was cutting it down to one. So, I knew I’d better make this one space super functional and inviting, since one for the price of two isn’t normally considered to be the best deal.
By opening up the wall between the kitchen and this living room, it instantly makes it a more appealing space, no longer sealed off from the rest of the home.
Refreshing the staircase in the room played a huge role in updating the space. Before, the railing felt too dainty for the room, and was also most definitely not up to code. After, it is a beautiful well crafted architectural feature, tying into the color of the painted brick fireplace. It’s amazing how much this one small change alters the feel of the entire room.
S2EP10 Living Room
S2EP10 Stairs [Special Project]
Special Project | Hidden Fort : I know I’ve done some Under-the-Stairs-Forts in my day, but this is the first Hidden-Under-the-Stairs-Fort I’ve attempted, and I have to say, Brian with B and D cabinets really nailed it on this one. Even before you know there is a Kid Cave tucked back there, the built-in bookcases are a beautiful feature in and of themselves. But then, you open them up and there’s this sweet little haven that will hopefully make the kids feel like they have their own special space all to themselves.
The Dining Room
S2EP10 BA Dining
I wanted this dining room to be a true gathering space for this family, with a real dining room lighting fixture, and a real dining room fireplace, and a real, custom built dining room table. Open to the kitchen and living room, this space feels both well-defined but also casual, perfect for a card game or holiday meal. And there’s always something special about a dining room with a fireplace. It’s so cozy! I wanted to make the fireplace a feature in the room, and gave it a refresh by removing the outdated shelving units on either side, letting the painted brick and natural wood mantle shine by eliminating the clutter around them.
Special Project | Custom “Ocean” Table: I visited Jiovani at Prodigy Built in Santa Ana to help build a custom dining table that would speak to this family’s affinity for the beach. Normally, Jiovani refers to these as his “River Tables,” but allowed that an “Ocean Table,” would be better suited to this family’s purposes. He creates these pieces of functional art by pouring powder-dyed resin into a “canyon” created by two mirroring live-edge slabs. The whole process was amazing, as was the result.
Shop the Look
This project could not have been made possible without our amazing vendors as well:
General Contractor: Innovative Builders | Built-In Fort: B & D Cabinets | Custom “Ocean” Table: Prodigy Built | In-Ground Beverage Cooler: Biersafe | Log Mailbox: Old Tech. Design | Built-In Desks and Pantry: B & D Cabinets | Stair Railing: Rob Decamp 714-713-2139 | Dining Table Epoxy: Reynolds Advanced Materials