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 8: You Guys Need a Retreat
Phil and Lisa
Phil and Lisa purchased this house in an awesome neighborhood when it was just the two of them. They had ample space, storage, and two guest rooms. Two kids, one dog, and 4,072 toys later they are at max capacity. They haven’t outgrown the house or property, just the way that it’s currently set up.
We needed to rework the way this family lived in this house. To start, I wanted to recapture the front yard, which is HUGE, and make it a livable space that the family can enjoy together every day. Inside, I update the aesthetic and flow of the entire first floor, without removing any walls. This included refreshing the master bedroom and bath, giving Phil and Lisa a retreat from the chaos of everyday life.
This front yard is large, but the family never uses it. The goal here is to create a space that will essentially add square footage to their home, without actually adding any real square footage.
Part of designing a space that feels comfortable involves defining a context for each space. It’s like when you are learning a new word and need to hear it used in a sentence to better understand it. In order to define the larger space of the front yard, we used a fence to create a safe, attractive border. Next, we built a defined, shaded, and inviting spot for the parents to sit while their children played in the yard. Next, we added a few special details to make sure the kids knew that this was a space intended for them as well. Spaces are best when they have a defined purpose, and are well equipped to serve it.
Season 2 Episode 8 Exterior BA
Before, this was a house you would drive by without noticing it one way or another. It blended in with all the other gray houses in the neighborhood. Now, people drive by the house…and slow down…then turn around and drive back by again. By making a series of mostly cosmetic changes, we breathed new life and personality into this former wall-flower of a house. And to say that I’m green with envy over the way the exterior turned out is an understatement. This color green (Forestwood paint color SW 7730 by Sherwin-Williams) is EVERYTHING!!
Special Project | Secret Sandbox: In an area built for family together time, I wanted to make sure the kids knew they hadn’t been forgotten. This sandbox blends seamlessly with the design, and can be closed at the end of the day to prevent weather or critters from demo-ing any precious sand castles.
Season 2 Episode 8 Kitchen BA
Before, this kitchen was dark and dated. For as much bright sunlight as the front yard gets here, there is no way the inside of the home should feel like a cave. Replacing the floors with a lighter material and removing upper cabinets that were blocking light flow into the kitchen were two small but impactful steps taken towards letting the light shine into this kitchen. Closing up the door into the laundry room allowed us to create a seamless wall of cabinets, and bright cabinet, counter, and tile finishes updated the space turning into a friendly modern hub the family could all enjoy without feeling like it might be time to hibernate in a dark corner.
In order to bring more light into this house, we installed brand new, luxury vinyl floors by Provenza Moda Living in the “Finally Mine” finish, bringing the warm, organic feel of natural wood into the home without the worry of real hardwood flooring. In my opinion, when you have Kids + Dogs, the answer always = Luxury Vinyl Flooring. It’s like the quartz countertops of the flooring world. If I had just a little more time, I might write an ode to LVF. In fact, I’m going to make time. Here goes:
Oh LVF you are so purty, and when our feet get dirty, you shake it off, no stains of scoffs, you make me feel real flirty.
When other floors may wither, you say, “Hey Dirt, come hither!.” Sand and dirt, they do not hurt, where other floors would quiver.
Cabinets & Hardware
With custom, shaker cabinets in Silverplate gray, and timeless, brushed nickel cabinet pulls, this kitchen feels simultaneously bright and soothing.
Plumbing & Appliances
A white, cast iron, apron front sink is accompanied by a brushed nickel, pull down faucet. (Moving forward in my life, I will ALWAYS have a pull down faucet in my kitchen. Always.) Stainless steel, Frigidaire appliances feel both modern and timeless.
Countertops & Backsplash
I’ve had my eye on this Caesarstone Eggshell counter for a while now, and was so happy to use it as the design foundation of this kitchen. It has the look of magical sand: bright, white, with just a hint of sparkle. A hand-crafted, white gloss subway backsplash tile feels both organic and modern.
Lighting, Furniture, & Accessories
These sculptural pendants make a bold statement while also drawing the eye to many of the other strong white accents in the room. Organic modern stools, glass storage canisters, and the requisite pop of greenery make the kitchen feel warm and welcoming.
S2 E8 Kitchen
Special Project | Doggie Dinette: This is such a fun way to get the dog bowls up off the floor and give your four legged family members a more elevated dining experience. Adding some framed dog photos to the space really takes it to the next level, and you know me: if there’s a next level, chances are, I’m going to try and take it there.
When “Light and Bright” is the name of the game, then a seemingly small change, like adding a window (or “half-lite”) to the upper half of the front door, can have a huge impact. We got a little crazy and added a side-lite to the entry, as well, just to invite as much sunlight in as possible.
Then, we layered in baskets and bins and side tables, creating lots of little storage vignettes that make for a happy, clutter-free entrance to the home.
S2 EP8 Entryway
Special Project | Shoe Storage: I know this is an entryway, and I know that having shoes accessible from the entryway is a functional use of space. You wouldn’t want to store your sneakers in the kitchen, say, or the powder room. So, Phil and Lisa had function in mind when establishing the Pile ‘O Shoes that greeted you first thing when you entered their home. But what about form, I ask? What about form? Most of the time, with some careful consideration, a functional AND attractive storage solution can be gleaned.
I found this piece of furniture for free on Craigslist. With some sanding, staining, and bungee cord stringing, it became a cute little hideaway for the ubiquitous Shoe Pile.
The Living Room
Season 2 Episode 8 Living Room BA
Before, this living room was completely overpowered by Phil’s giant, sports bar television set up and the kids’ toys. It was important to find storage solutions for both the TVs and the toys, because both things were important to the family. I worked with Brian from B and D Cabinets to design one big, totally custom built-in, painted a soothing blue-green (Rainwashed paint color SW 6211 by Sherwin–Williams), that housed all three of Phil’s TVs and four, rolling canvas bins for the toys. Now, the living room can feel serene and grown-up, or like a fun zone sports bar extravaganza, depending on the family’s needs or mood.
S2 E8 Living Room
The Dining Room
This dining room before wasn’t anything to write home about. It got kind of lost in the shuffle, functioning mostly as a home office for Phil. Now, this bright, cheerful space welcomes family meals and crafts and homework sessions, with is refreshed fireplace and updated design. It also feels WAY more open to the kitchen now that those bulky upper cabinets are gone, making it a great place for the family to convene while a meal is being made. We gave Phil a new work space in the master suite, allowing this space to be a dedicated family zone, with no paperwork or stress-inducing, work-related paraphernalia allowed!
S2 E8 Dining
Special Project | Fireplace Refresh: So, when we were picking the exterior color of the house and these fireplace tiles and designing our overall Color Story, we have no idea that Phil and Lisa’s son’s favorite color was green. He loves these handcrafted tiles we used to spruce up the fireplace as much as we do. They’re like little, subway-tile-shaped jewels.
As the “hearth of the home” (get it?) this fireplace does an amazing job of pulling all of the home’s design elements together into one, warm, shining example of the cozy modern aesthetic we were aiming for. Between the warm green tiles (stunning, Zellige Forest Green Cement Bar Tiles from Riad Tile), the organic wood accents, and the clean, modern porcelain hearth, this fireplace doesn’t even need a fire inside to draw people’s eyes.
The Master Suite
Bedroom: Wow, what a difference a little paint and a good Color Story can make! I see this so often, where the parents’ bedroom is the final frontier; the room they always promise they will get to, will update, will declutter, but never do. I wanted to make sure that Phil and Lisa had a special place of retreat in their home. A place where they could go to read a book, or take a bath, and feel like a whole, calm, person, without having to worry about tripping on a Lego or picking up a train track. A soothing yellow wall color, custom upholstered head board, and accent wallpaper went a long way towards turning this room into a real retreat for these busy parents of two.
Bathroom: One of Lisa’s few requests for this project was a bathtub, and we were not going to disappoint. Making sure to carry the design aesthetic from the rest of the house into the master suite, we used a 50% cut of the same Rainwash green from the front door (Rainwashed paint color SW 6211 by Sherwin–Williams), a gloss white subway tile tub surround, and lots of timeless, white and brushed nickel accents. The result: a soothing room with a deep soaker tub, surround sound, and a lock on the door.
Walk-In Closet: Let’s take a vote. What would you rather have? A dull, semi-functional laundry area or a luxurious, en suite master closet? We opted for the latter in this house, reclaiming the ill-planned laundry space and turning it into the master walk-in of Lisa’s dreams. The only problem now: she’ll have to buy more clothes to fill it with!
S2 E8 Master Bedroom
Special Project | Out-of-the-Way Office: I wanted the dining room in this house to function as a true dining room, which meant that I had to find a place to relocate Phil’s home office. The answer came when we decided to add an en-suite closet to the master bedroom, leaving us with a generous recessed space where the former slider closet used to be. Brian from B and D Cabinets built a custom desk and shelving and, installed on top of a beautiful, graphic wall paper, you would never know this home office retreat used to be an overstuffed coat closet.
S2 E8 Special Project Home Office
Shop the Look
This project could not have been made possible without our amazing vendors as well:
Closet System: Tailored Living | Shutters: Urban Wall Design | Pergola Hardware & Shade Sail: Toja Grid
Built-In Cabinetry: B & D Cabinetry | Pop-Out Mirror & Doggie Dinette: Girelli Woodworking
Landscaping & Pergola Floor: Pacific Breeze Landscaping | Flooring: Marquez Wood Floors
Garage Door: All County Garage Doors | Pea Gravel Patio: SiteOne