12 DECEMBER 2019


by Beth Booth

We just met with Amy and Kevin on a cute cul-de-sac in Carlsbad, California. They have four young kids, two of whom are twins! Needless to say, we connected on the craziness of twin life. My twins are only 16 months old, but she assures me it gets better! Pulling up to the house, it looks fairly new and is in a great location. They have sweeping ocean views, a pool and lots of square footage. Once inside though, I can see why she called us. This busy and bustling family is in need of space in all the right places.

Like most tract homes, we have an oversized formal dining and living room that are disconnected from the rest of the house. The kitchen is small and cramped with an undersized breakfast nook that is cutting into valuable square footage. The door that leads out to the back yard and pool is a simple slider, which seems too small to be the single exit point for a house this size. Aesthetically, she loves Spanish and Mediterranean design. There is large traditional furniture throughout, all in warm tones. There are lots of wood and iron accents that are trying to connect to that Olde-world vibe. Unfortunately, the builder-grade finishes in this house are white tiles, yellow stain cabinets, dated granite, and busy ceiling soffits and unnecessary drywall shapes and accents.

Right away we start sizing up the space, thinking through options, layout changes, wall moving, and window and door changes. There are a lot of challenges and a lot on their wish list. Can we get it all done within their budget? That’s always the struggle! What is a must-have vs a nice-to-have? What design changes will make the biggest lifestyle impact? What floor plan modifications should we consider in order to take this dated and cut up tract home into the open concept family-friendly showplace it can be? How can we incorporate traditional Spanish design without feeling too heavy and dated?


Priority #1 is obvious. Address that kitchen!

The layout is going to be the key in this space. Whenever possible, I love combining the kitchen and breakfast nook into one large, open and continuous space. This approach has many benefits. First, I can usually double the size of the kitchen without having to undertake a long and costly addition renovation.
Let’s use the space we have and maximize it!

Priority #2 is living space integration.

We have to figure out a way to get the dining room more involved with the rest of the kitchen and living spaces. As is, it’s a wasted space with valuable square footage that isn’t being used and is just collecting dust.

Priority #3 is getting these four kids a space of their own.

Mom and dad have been generous with the family room and adult space, sharing it with the kids and their friends. It’s time the kids have a space that is just for them, which will also be a nice win for mom and dad.

Priority #4 can not be undersold—it’s the view!

With panoramic ocean views and west-facing walls, this home should capture views, natural light, and ventilation. Instead, we have small windows and an even smaller door to the backyard paradise that awaits.


All of these issues can be remedied, we just need a thoughtful design plan.
We need a custom-tailored floor plan design that will meet the needs of this large family.


We went through many revisions on the design plan for this massive remodel and renovation. At one time we were drafting and pricing out an addition for the family room. This would have given more space, for sure, but the structural and framing implications were driving the budget in a not-so-comfortable direction. What a superior value to have the builder validating and collaborating throughout the design phase! What if we would have moved forward permitting this addition only to find out the costs associated would have made it unattainable? I love being able to offer people the expert building perspective throughout all of the design and pricing phases. After we kicked the addition idea, we buckled down on the rest of the design and came up with a layout that the homeowners love.

In the kitchen, we are getting rid of that nook and expanding the kitchen into that space. We’re going to double the size without that costly addition. It’s a design victory! A win/win! For the layout, I am going to move the sink from the cramped island out to the perimeter. It will be under a new, huge window that overlooks the ocean. I’ll add a glass door right by the sink area that goes to the outside. This way, when entertaining, our clients will have easy and direct access to the sink and clean-up area. And even though this will address our need for light and will capture more of the view, we’re also going to add a massive multi-slide glass door system in the adjacent to the family room, just for good measure! Since we are getting rid of the nook area, I have to make up that lost seating area. With the new island shape and size, that will not be a problem! Extra-long with seating on 3 sides, this island can accommodate this family of 6 any day of the week. For the color palette in this kitchen, I will give her the warm wood tones that she craves at the island, the range hood and the built-in pantry and freezer wall. The rest of the perimeter will be a soft white. This way, shell get all the richness of the Spanish vibe, all while keeping the space light, modern, and visually stunning. The flooring, counters and backsplash will be light in color as well, balancing out the heavy wood elements.


Now, for access to the dining room, we were able to design a cut through by eliminating the existing pantry. This new walkway will give this family instant access to the dining area through the kitchen. This is a much more natural layout and works better with real-life traffic patterns. Don’t worry about the lost panty space, I’m making it up with wall to wall cabinet storage! To top it off, the dining room will receive a facelift on the fireplace, a fully stocked wet bar, and a newly designed wine room. Talk about an entertainer’s dream space! The never-used formal living room is going to be turned into the ‘teen media room’. These parents have been so giving to their kids, it’s been exciting to watch and to be a part of!

All of these areas downstairs are going to be fantastic. The only issue is that the large spiral staircase, right off the entry door, is a major focal point of the oversized foyer. Due to budget constraints, we were not thinking of tackling the stairs. But after reviewing the design plan them, we all agreed that the existing staircase would be a total eyesore and clash with all the new product and color scheme. The typical white spindle and yellow-ish handrail has to go! We will plan instead for wrought iron, rich hardwoods, and patterned carpet to make this dated staircase a visual showstopper!


I am so excited to have this family move back into their home and experience the lifestyle change that a great remodel and renovation can provide. From the moment they walk in, the new hardwood floors throughout the foyer welcome everyone home! The soaring ceilings are highlighted by the new iron light fixtures and grand spiral staircase. From this vantage point, they see the new wood and glass double barn doors that conceal the new teen media room. This space was the old formal living room that no one ever used. As we tour the house together, I am thinking this room is about to get a lot more use! The black iron hardware on the doors ties in really well to the rest of the iron accents throughout.

Next, we walk through the dining room. The fully functional wine and bar area is really special. We have a bar fridge, an ice maker, freezer and sink area. We have lots of dry wine storage, as well as an area for chilled. The open shelves and glass doors show off their glass and liquor collection. New lighting, marble fireplace, and hardwood flooring complete this space. The highlight for this family, however, is the new pass though that leads directly to the kitchen. Connection, at last! This gourmet kitchen has it all. 30” built-in fridge and separate 30” freezer. Double ovens, 48” pro-style range top, all from the brand-new collection from Thermador. I love the pendant lights over the island that shows off clear glass with black and brass accents. Even this Spanish, Olde-world beauty needs a little modern bling!

I’m so glad Amy and Kevin trusted us with this large project. Lifestyle transformation is near and dear to my heart. Anyone could have given them new cabinets and floors, but I’m not sure just anyone would have listened to all of their needs and taken their style preferences to heart. I love how varied our design portfolio is. Not everything needs to be white and grey and modern. We brought their dream to life, and that’s what matters. Cheers!