Before & After: Re-Rigged

Before & After: By Eva Ditler Photography by Gail Owens


Designers serve up an ace of a re-do.

BOBBY RIGGS LIVED HERE. Remember him? He was the loud-mouth who got more fame at age 55 by losing to Billie Jean King in the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match than he ever got as a three-time world-champion tennis player.

His residence, nestled in the foothills near Ramona, was a San Diego Country Estates themed mid-century model home in 1974 — one year after the luxury housing development hosted the first match of that infamous battle (Riggs took out then women’s world champ Margaret Court, 6-2, 6-1, in less than an hour).

In between 1974 and today, the home’s character was compromised, says interior designer Kelly Smiar, who, along with John Mills Davies of Marrokal Design & Remodeling, helped bring the house back to its modern spirit.

“It was tweaked and changed so that the style was almost completely gone. The bones of the house were there, but traditional elements were added and there was no consistency to the house anymore.”

The traditionalist homeowners originally wanted a Tuscan-style residence, but after looking at other contemporary houses and furnishings they fell in love with that aesthetic.

“The new plan has a spacious master suite — the sole occupant of the top floor — with a spa-like bath and gigantic fitted walk-in closet,” says Davies. “The kitchen, now outfitted with commercial- grade Viking appliances, was significantly enlarged and an elevator was added.”

The pool, landscaping and the entry sequence were all redesigned and updated to fit the new home and conserve resources. An outdoor living room adjacent to the pool was also part of the redesign, as was the waterfall and koi pond.

It’s a good bet that if Bobby Riggs was still alive and living in this house now, he’d be all over the neighborhood bragging about it …

Categories: Home Design