Season 2 Episode 4: Fence Bench
The Home Owners
Brianne & Joey
This was one of my favorite projects I worked on for one of the sweetest families. I feel so fortunate that, in my work, I have the opportunity to make a real difference for some families. This was a project where the functionality of the house was essential, and the changes we made in the design will hopefully have a really positive impact on the way this family lives their day-to-day lives. Since Brianne and her oldest son have hearing loss, the way the current floor plan was set up made it difficult for them to function safely as a family.
On a purely surface level, the only thing to distinguish Brianne and Joey’s house from all the other ones around it was the color, and in this case (PINK!), that distinguishing feature wasn’t even a good one.
We needed to bring this house back to the future, by updating both the style and the safety features. I wanted to make it look good, but also FEEL good, and nothing feels better than knowing your family is safe under your roof. A #CoastalCali design scheme helped to make the house feel true to the young family living inside, while an open floor plan and inviting new exterior speaks to the modern family hoping to make this their forever home.
Despite its flirty hue, this exterior did NOT have anyone seeing through rose colored lenses. The paint looked dingy and dated, as did every single other thing about the house that you could see from the street. It all needed a major face lift. Windows: dated. Front doors: WAY past their expiration date. Side-by-side bay windows: the 80s are calling. They need you to report back immediately. NOTHING about this exterior says “cool,” “coastal,” or “California.” Nothing about it says family, boys, or beach town. It was time for a plan!
Here are the actual before and afters from the home:
S2 E4 Exterior BA
This house is a great example of what a drastic difference can be made with mostly cosmetic changes. Fresh paint, a new fence (and new bench), a front door from this century: they all combine to give the exterior of this house a friendly, well cared for, #CoastalCali appearance.
S2 E4 Exterior
One of the homeowners’ favorite parts of the new exterior was the bench we built into their front yard fence. It’s so inviting, and when you look at it, you automatically know that a friendly, social family lives in that house. I, personally, don’t have any friends with a Fence Bench, and it’s become clear to me that it’s time to seriously reevaluate my social circle. 🙂
Using this Kitchen Design Board as our guide, we systematically set about updating the kitchen and turning it into a room that was both safe and beautiful.
We reconfigured the space by removing the bulky peninsula and overhead cabinets. For one, the cabinets prevented a line of sight into the dining room, proving dangerous for Brianne. Also, the counter height was about six inches lower than normal, resulting in sore backs for days.
Read on for the details of this Kitchen Design from the ground up.
S2 E4 Kitchen BA
Cabinets & Hardware
I carried a soothing, beachy blue color from the same color family as the paint used on the garage door into the kitchen by using it on the kitchen island. Pure white, shaker style perimeter cabinets and classic, aged brass hardware act as a timeless backdrop for this busy home’s kitchen hub. Oh, and did you see the pegboard kitchen drawers that Micah with Girelli Woodworking built? I thought they would help the boys when putting away dishes. A place for everything, and everything in its place!
Countertops & Backsplash
I love you, but I just can’t have you in my kitchen. You are too sensitive, and high-maintenance. I need someone in my life who doesn’t need as much attention, and who I can trust to handle the really important things in my life, like red wine. I’ve met another countertop. His name is Quartz, and he actually reminds me a lot of you, but without all the drama.
P.S. I love Quartz so much, I even used it as a backsplash! I just can’t get enough!
Plumbing & Appliances
A white farmhouse sink, stainless steel appliances, and brushed nickel fixtures provide an understated canvas for our #CoastalCali accessories and decor.
Lighting, Furniture, & Accessories
Here’s where we get a little playful, with some teardrop glass pendants, and layers of fun textures like raw wood, mixed metals, and plants, flowers, and fruit galore.
S2 E4 Kitchen
The Dining Room
Before, this dining room felt dark and closed in. It felt shut off from the kitchen, due to a row of low-hanging upper cabinets, and shut off from the living room, thanks to a fence-like pony wall surrounding it. We decided it was about time to set this dining room free, by tearing down the walls and cabinets closing it in. Now, it’s a cheerful, casual dining area fit for a family with two young boys, who, similar to our former dining room, don’t work well in tight, restrictive spaces.
S2 E4 Dining Room
The Living Room
S2 E4 Living BA
Before, this living room was a room the homeowners tried to hide from guests. They had a large projector screen that they would actually leave down, so they didn’t have to look at the ugly fireplace. Oh, and the family loves games, so I repurposed a vintage game table into a coffee table, complete with lots of storage. Yatzee!
S2 E4 Living
Did you get a chance to check out this custom, industrial shelving unit? I finished it using a blow torch, which carmelizes the wood a pretty golden color, while sealing it at the same time. I added a layer of gray stain to the top, to create a custom finish.
Oh, what? Do I look a little over-excited about the fact that someone thought it was a good idea to give me a blow torch? I do? Well, that’s because I AM.
Also, may I please draw your attention to the #FireplaceRefresh, and to the use of wallpaper in place of a more customary stone or brick? Just one more special touch to help this house stand out in a crowd.
A few other special projects for your consideration:
- The Fort: It’s not the first time you’ll see me turn that otherwise useless space under the stairs into a special spot for the kids, and it’s also not the last!
- The (Hidden) Gallery Wall: I wanted to install a gallery wall at the entry of this house, but also wanted to offer a place to drop your keys and sunglasses when you walk in the door. The solution: this hidden gallery wall, where family photos, custom printed onto wood canvases, open to reveal secret storage and even a hidden window into the kids’ fort!
S2 E4 Special Projects
Why, you ask, would there be an exteriror entry door in the downstair bathroom? And my professional answer is: I have no idea. I don’t know about you, but I don’t relish the idea of checking to make sure the door to the back yard is locked every time I’m about to shower.
S2 E4 Bathroom BA
Using classic materials like marble and subway tile, we updated this bathroom to stand the test of time, and fickle design trends.