France inspires a home office redo
LISA HARRISON DIDN’T WANT TO CHANGE the location of her Solana Beach home office. After all, the second-story room looks out onto a private cul-de-sac and is blessed with a panoramic ocean view. A sliding glass door leads the way to a sunny patio — a perfect spot for a morning cup of coffee before beginning her workday.
Nor did she want to change the room’s configuration. She loved its round shape and felt that its size, although smaller than other rooms in the house, was ideal for her purposes. What she wanted changed was the room’s atmosphere, and she asked designer Lisa Hoyt to help her with the makeover.
“Lisa wanted to create a woman’s office retreat with French influences,” Hoyt says. “For cohesiveness, she wanted to carry the same color palette used in other parts of the home.”
Wall color went from bright turquoise to soft camel. Touches of buttery yellows, gentle greens, delicate creams and pale browns were added in furnishings and accessories.
“With its western exposure, the room definitely needed something on the windows to help with the midafternoon sun’s glare,” Hoyt says. “I chose a silk balloon-shaped shade to mimic the room’s feminine roundness. Its gold/camel color complements the wall color, and its soft draping adds warmth and coziness.”
A simple, Craftsman-style desk was switched out for a wood desk enhanced by paint in a crackled-green finish. A curvy, small-scaled Kreiss chair replaced a plain white chair.
“I put a textured suede fabric on it, and it looked so lovely with her other furnishings,” Hoyt says. “The wood on it is a very dark brown, almost black, and a perfect contrast to the other pieces.”
One of those pieces is a Bombay chest. Also painted in a crackled-green finish, its curved legs and drawers are captivating. A crystal chandelier has stenciled gold fleur-de-lis on its black shades. A needlepoint rug adds even more warmth to the room.
“Other accessories, such as picture frames and baskets, also add a south-of-France feel,” Hoyt says. “In fact, the entire room now conveys a sunny, French marketplace ambiance.”
Before & After: By Eva Ditler • Photography by Preview First
A space for cars becomes a place for lingering
IT’S A GOOD BET THAT IF YOU’RE A “GARAGE GUY,” you don’t invite your wife to join you for cocktail hour in this junky space that’s cut out for your cars and greasy tools. Neither did Mark Francois … until his better half, Caryn Peterson, got him a garage redo as a gift.
“Our garage is my husband’s little domain,” she says. “He owns two original 1965 Corvettes that he spent a great deal of time perfecting. And even after getting them back into showroom condition, he’s still in there almost every night.”
Francois may have been too focused on car renovation to notice that the garage’s cabinetry was put together piecemeal out of plywood and not very attractive. Ditto for the old workbench, handmade from 2-by-4s.
“He kept his stereo system underneath the workbench along with boxes and boxes of plumbing and car parts, electrical equipment, paint and tools,” Peterson says. “When he wanted anything, he had to pull out the boxes and go through them.”
Flooring was concrete with chipped paint. And walking from one area of the garage to another meant squeezing by the cars and ducking overhead cabinets.
“The whole garage was so hideous that I would be embarrassed when he kept the garage door open while he was working in there or when people stopped by to look at the cars,” Peterson says. “So I gave him a garage makeover from California Closets as a gift.”
Although the gift may have been as much for Peterson as for her husband, Francois appreciated the present. “Caryn could see that I needed to get organized, even though I knew where everything was,” Francois says. “I was elated about getting this makeover, but I was also shocked. How was I going to get a 30-year collection of auto memorabilia, construction materials and tools moved out to get the garage ready to be restored? It turned out that, although packing was an ordeal, it was well worth the effort.”
Peterson had the garage thematically done based on the cars. The coloring of the diamond-patterned Swisstrax flooring and the cabinetry’s silver-gray finish and black shelving match Francois’ favorite car: a silver Corvette with a black interior. Craftsman tool chests match the other Corvette, which is red.
The 20-foot-long, 4-foot-high cabinetry and a new workbench space with a built-in toolbox keep items handy and efficiently stored. It’s a usable garage now, and everything has its own place.
“It’s gone from being a garage where you keep cars to an extension of the home,” Francois says. “Now Caryn and I can go out to the garage with a glass of wine and talk about classic cars while looking at the cars. We can share the love we have for classic automobiles in a space that’s like a work of art.”
Mark Francois' garage clutter disappeared when a streamlined design
by California Closets was put in place. (Before shot below)
Before and After: By Eva Ditler • Photography by Martin Mann
WITH THE HOT SUN BEATING DOWN on the pavement, even the stately olive tree abutting this Rancho Santa Fe home’s driveway looked withered.
“This part of the front yard was a pretty warm site,” says Harry Thompson of Torrey Pines Landscape Company. “The reflected heat from the drive, walls and street, and the high ratio of hardscape to soft-scape was adding to the reflected heat index. But what the homeowner wanted was to create a good first impression with neighbors and friends.”
There was no need to switch out the high-end Belgard inter-locking pavers, but the new, mad, happy mix of reds, yellows, blues and pinks from heat-loving plants energized the western side of this circular driveway. Boulders also were kept, but moved, and Thompson wove a cascade of pink ivy geraniums through them.
“We chose plants that are not water hogs,” says Thompson, “but what we also did was to contrast colors and textures, so that even when the plants are not in bloom, there’s good graphics in the landscape.”
Adding stone columns and walls integrated with the Tuscan-style architecture of the residence. Eldorado stone was chosen to match the home’s exterior.
“Keeping the boulders and adding form and structure with curved stone walls, turned a rustic setting into something that is a nice Mediterranean garden with style and elegance,” says Thompson.
Photo (Above): A plain Rancho Santa Fe driveway now explodes with color and texture brought on in part by Spanish Lavenders, sweet alyssum, bougainvillea, hybrid African daisies, ivy geraniums and blue hibiscus.
Photo (Right): Before
Homes: Before & After by Eva Ditler
JUST BECAUSE IT’S A BEDROOM doesn’t mean it has to be a snoozer when it comes to style. Homeowner and interior designer Lisa Franco woke up the monotone neutrals of her and husband Luis’ master bedroom without disturbing the sense of quiet appropriate in a room meant for dreaming.
“We wanted to select colors that were neither too masculine nor too feminine,” says Lisa.
Crisp whites offset cozy browns that take center stage. Elegant bedding in a soft grey-blue is calm and serene and works well with the rich chocolate-colored grass-cloth wall covering.
“Some of the bedding is a raw silk that adds a masculine feel due to its rougher texture,” says Lisa, “and some is a soft, smooth silk balancing the masculinity with a feminine feel.”
As part of the La Jolla Palisades whole-house remodel, archi-tect Mark Morris of Oasis Architecture fine-tuned the room with window and base molding to match the rest of the home’s coastal, Hamptons feel. Hickory flooring complements the wall’s chocolate hue, and installation of an extra window next to the bed gives the room more light.
Photo caption: A sleigh bed from Ethan Allen was one of the first "quality" pieces of furniture homeowners Lisa and Luis Franco ever purchased. Refinishing the honey-hued hardwood to a deep nut brown was in keeping with the richer tones of the new hickory flooring and grass-cloth wall covering.
Before & After: By Eva Ditler • Photography by Owen McGoldrick
Simple touches give a boxy home specific architectural style
BEING SQUARE MAY BE FUN if you’re talking about a Rubik’s cube, but when you’re talking about a house that looks like an expressionless box, it’s just boring.
The ho-hum was plain to see at this Mission Hills house, but it was made more evident by the many Spanish Colonial Revival-style residences around the neighborhood.
Luckily, the upside to being a simple box is that style can be added — which is just what architect Ione Stiegler did to give this home more presence on the street as well as allow it to meld with the neighborhood aesthetic.
Square doors and windows received graceful curves and arches. Common molding was switched out to decorative trim. Iron railings, typical of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, were added. Clay tile roofing and the balcony’s new colorful, Malibu-style tile further enhanced the design.
The installation of a low-pitched roof at the entrance provided depth and interest to the exterior front façade as well as a welcoming porch that’s sheltered from the heat of the summer sun.
The home’s structure still is basically a square, but now with the right details and accents, square went from boring to charming.
Before & After: By Eva Ditler
After Photo (top): By Martin Mann