Season 2 Episode 9: Do You Want a Puppy Palace?
Jennifer and John
Jennifer is a middle school math teacher, and John is a fire fighter. They had lived in this house with their three boys, in a neighborhood that they love, for 16 years. This house was once functional for a family with three young children, but it no longer met the needs of a family with three teenage boys, and soon enough, a forever home that needed to accommodate John and Jennifer’s retirement years. These homeowners were looking for more flow and functionality from their existing spaces, some differentiation between their house and their cookie cutter neighbors, and a more inviting, usable front yard. They had been saving up for a long time in order to be able to afford this renovation.
In order to turn this house into the homeowners’ forever home, some serious work needed to be done. To accommodate a true, single-level living design we needed to remove the step-up into the front door and, in turn, the interior raised entryway. Support posts needed to be removed and relocated. Concrete demo was in order. Next, to create a more functional front yard space, we wanted to open up the living room into the front yard using a fully retractable Panoramic door system. Lastly, the kitchen and dining spaces needed to be reconfigured to add seating and functionality for this growing family. (And not growing, as in they are adding more humans to their family, but growing, as in, they have teenage boys that are getting bigger, taller, and taking up more space by the day! By the minute!) It was time to make some changes around these parts, and to turn this beloved home into a viable forever home for these two sweet, upstanding, fun-loving Huntington Beach community members, their three boys, and their adorable “Frenchie” Ginger.
We wanted to help the homeowners reclaim their front yard and update their home’s exterior. Before, there was a lonely little corner of concrete with a single, lonely little chair sitting on top of it. Not exactly inviting, unless you’re looking for somewhere to hide from your family and the neighbors. Additionally, the house looked EXACTLY the same as every fifth house on the street, with its strange, single, non-symmetrical, yet simultaneously conformist window above the garage. In order to differentiate the house and also correct the proportions, we needed to add a second window above the garage, and then add a new, larger outdoor patio to balance out the exterior layout. A custom pergola adds shade and additional interest to the design, and makes for an inviting, anti-loner seating situation that basically acts as an additional living space for the home.
S2 E9 Exterior BA
Jennifer and John have a fairly traditional, craftsman design sensibility, but we wanted the exterior of the home to feel both traditional AND current at the same time. Let’s call the new look “Coastal Craftsman.” It’s traditional without being stuffy. It’s beachy without being kitschy. It’s casual and warm and welcoming, just like Jennifer and John themselves.
S2 E9 Exterior
S2 E9 Kitchen BA
With three, very tall teenage boys, a kitchen peninsula with seating for two just wasn’t cutting it. An extra-large island with seating for six was majorly called for, which meant we had to knock down some walls and reconfigure the entire kitchen floor plan. Opening up the wall into the living room let a ton of extra light into the kitchen, giving our Craftsman-inspired aesthetic some seriously sunny, California vibes.
We used The MaxCore LVP Waterproof Moda Living Collection in True Story throughout the entire first floor. This “life proof” flooring will withstand whatever three strapping young men and one strapping little Frenchie pup have to throw at it. Impromtu basketball games, wrestling sessions, and games of fetch? Bring it.
Plumbing & Appliances
It’s not often I get to use a hammered copper apron front sink in a project, but this kitchen really lent itself to the traditional styling that copper accents have to offer. I paired it with polished chrome plumbing fixtures and stainless steel appliances. Some people feel nervous about mixing metals, and have a hard time figuring out if their light fixtures have to match their faucet and then the cabinet hardware. I don’t think there are any rules in this regard (or if there are, I don’t abide by them), as long as the metals are picked with intention, and as a well considered part of the overall design scheme.
Countertops & Backsplash
I loved picking out some more muted and traditional materials for this kitchen. The Gray Lagoon quartz counters have green and copper veining and undertones, which tie in so nicely with the olive green cabinets and copper sink. I went with a classic white subway tile for the backsplash, but picked one with a little raised geometric detail that felt subtly more traditional than a standard, flat tile.
Lighting, Furniture, & Accessories
I wanted the lighting and furnishings in this room to tie the kitchen design together, to warm it up, and to make it feel like a home. Comfortable, timeless counter stools, oversized glass pendants, and wood and woven accents help the space to feel complete.
S2 E9 Kitchen
Special Project | Toe Kick Storage: Where there’s an empty space, there’s a storage solution. Such was the case underneath the island in this kitchen. Square foot upon square foot of untapped storage. I worked with Brian at B and D Cabinets to design and build custom drawers where there would normally be…nothing. I feel like this should become a THING. A simple tap of the foot can open and close these push-latch drawers, which are perfect for cookie sheets and saute pans.
S2 E9 Toe Kick
The Living Room
S2 E9 Living Room BA
Before, a step up into the entry way and a corner post made a functional furniture layout in this room nearly impossible. There was a wall that closed the room off to the kitchen, and no access to the large front yard. This living room always had a beautiful, vaulted ceiling, but still felt dark and small due to all of the restrictive design factors. In order to update this compartmentalized floor plan, we opened up the wall blocking off the kitchen, relocated the support post, and added fully retractable doors leading out on the brand new front patio area. Now, the kitchen is open to the living room, which is open to the front yard, and it all feels like one, big, warm, welcoming, family gathering space with room for two parents, three teenage boys, and a cute little Frenchie, to boot.
S2 E9 Living Room
Special Project | Stair Case Refresh: I’m not normally one who goes in for carpet-shaming, but what color WAS that old carpet, anyways? Green? Gray? Brown? Who knows? Not me! What I DO know is this: those stairs get a lot of traffic, and it was time to replace that well-worn, outdated carpet. To give the space a real facelift, we installed wooden stair treads stained to match the flooring, and then brought in Versatile Wraps to install custom vinyl stair treads designed to look like hand painted cement tiles. What’s so nice about these vinyl risers is that they are removable, so when the risers get banged up and scuffed, as risers do, they can easily be removed and either replaced with new vinyl risers or even just a fresh coat of paint.
S2 E9 Staircase
The Dining Room
Formerly, this was a dark, overcrowded dining space loaded with too much heavy furniture (aka, “TooMuchFurniture-itis”), and not enough light (aka, “NotEnoughLight-is”). By removing all of the perimeter furniture, and with the removal of the wall blocking out all the light from the living room, this room was transformed into a spacious, inviting gathering spot. A new paint scheme, with lighter walls and painted wainscoting highlights the beautiful, original, craftsman style woodwork without feeling heavy or dated.
S2 E9 Dining Room
Special Project | Built-In Office: By reclaiming an unused under-the-stairs closet, we were able to create a custom, built-in desk space, allowing us to remove the heavy office furniture occupying much of the dining room.
S2 E9 Desk
Special Project | Puppy Palace: By now, you all know how much I love a good dog cave. This one, though, really takes the cake. Hence, the nomenclature has been elevated from Dog Cave to Puppy Palace. And if there was ever a dog who needed such elevated digs, that dog would be the beautiful, unsurpassed Ginger the Frenchie. With the help of Candi Giardi of Urban Wall Design fame, we gave this special retreat a reclaimed wood facade fit for a princess.
S2 E9 Puppy Palace
Shop the Look
This project could not have been made possible without our amazing vendors as well:
Dog Cave: Urban Wall Design | Flooring: Marquez Wood Floors | Vinyl Stair Riser Stickers and Install: Versatile Wraps
Living Room Accordion Doors: Panoramic Doors