2 September 2020

A Modern Farmhouse Comes To Life

by Beth Booth

Our First Meeting: Defining The Dream!

Today, we met with Don and Stephanie at their home in Hidden Meadows. They reached out to us because friends of theirs gave them the play by play of how we totally transformed a family home in Solana Beach the previous year. They listened to how smooth everything went and decided maybe it was time for their own home makeover! Don owns a sign company, and Stephanie teaches elementary school. She teaches the same grade that my daughter Chelsea is in, so we had a great talk about teaching 6-year-olds to read!


What strikes me most about this home is all of the angles and stairs! Since the house is built on a hillside, there are a lot of topography changes (meaning lots of interior 2-3 step stairways), sweeping views, and great light. But the angles chop up the floor plan and cut off the light transfer from room to room. The interior hasn’t been touched since the original owner/contractor built it in the late ’80s, complete with pinkish whitewash oak cabinets and brass accents! This hard-working husband and wife duo are ready to make this place their forever home, and I can’t wait to help them realize their dream!  

It All Starts With A Solid Design Plan:

After getting back to the office, we dove into the Design Plan. This home needs a full overhaul, from finishes to floor plans, but first, we have to start with Floor Plan! If we don’t nail that, no amount of pretty finishes will make up for it. This is where the challenge and passion come together! We start in the heart of the home, the kitchen. Cramped and choppy, we are going to look outside the box and really change this space completely. I like to eliminate redundant space when possible. So, in this home with island seating, a nook, and a formal dining room, my plan will include eliminating the nook so that I can double the size of the kitchen.

We will have to move walls, eliminate some windows, and change the sink and appliance locations to create an efficient work triangle, as well as provide ample storage and countertop prep space. The new island will be huge! It will serve as a significant design element in the space and offer generous seating options, storage, and counter space.


Moving to the master bedroom and bathroom, we will create a completely new layout that enlarges the size of the vanities, adds a makeup area, and boasts an extra-large shower. The shower and tub are going to be incorporated together in a ‘wet room’ concept, making the space feel open, connected, and cohesive. The walk-in concept, with a large bench and single pane of glass, will lead to easy cleaning and maintenance in the future. This spa-like design concept has taken off in recent years, and it’s my first time being able to design it for someone, so I am excited!

Part of the beauty of this home is its location. It’s high in the hills, overlooking valleys and mountains, and facing due west. Unfortunately, the original floorplan didn’t take advantage of the views or the ample natural light. To bring the outside in and create more natural flow in this home, we will widen the hallways and remove many of the angled walls that are cutting off the transfer of light. We will add and enlarge the windows on the western facing elevation and add a La Cantina glass door system leading out to a brand new deck, perfect for those western facing sunsets!

And Now for the Finishing Touches!

Although we all love a black and white pallet, these homeowners want a softer, warmer, and more colorful approach to their dream of Modern Farmhouse, which is great because I LOVE color! With that in mind, we are going to focus in on using Navy Blue and soft, light grey tones, with touches of black and gold. These tones will be mixed and matched throughout the home, making each room unique and special, while still maintaining continuity and cohesion.


In the kitchen, we will create a custom shiplap hood use an apron front sink to speak to the Modern Farmhouse design aesthetic. We will use light grey cabinetry for the tall and upper wall cabinets but will use the more saturated Navy for the lower base cabinets and the island. Since our hood is going to be a feature piece, we will use the darker, more dramatic blue, trimmed out in a rich wood tone. The white quartz counters will resemble marble, without the maintenance! Since I love using lighting as a focal piece for the design, I want to bring in mercury and seeded glass to add a touch of vintage. Have you ever noticed how just a pinch of vintage can work well in any space?!


For the flooring, we will suggest a natural-toned oak wood to bring in an organic, light, and bright feel throughout the home. This choice will work well with all of the natural light pouring in from new enlarged windows and glass door systems.   


All of the tiles used in the three full bathrooms, powder room, laundry, and family room with be a mix of blues and greys that will flow together and be consistent with the rest of the home design. I absolutely love tile design because it allows clients to choose more than just one of their favorite elements. For example, Stephanie loved the idea of penny rounds, and there were three separate colors that we were gravitating towards. So instead of making her choose one, we designed each bathroom with its own color. She also loved cement tile…two different versions! So, we used one on the fireplace and one on the laundry floor. They all work together but are totally unique, making each space fun and personal. I love the energy that mixing and matching creates!

Speaking of Mixing!

Steph didn’t want to be married to gold fixtures for the rest of her life, but she did want to see it somewhere (and who wouldn’t?!). The powder room is a great place to go wild, knowing that if you decide to change it down the road, it won’t be a major overhaul. We also used matte black in the guest baths and chrome fixtures in the master. Don’t be afraid to mix metals, tastefully!

Build Out: The Collaboration of a Dedicated Team

We’ve broken ground, and we’ve found a lot of drama buried in these walls! Getting rid of the angled walls has proved more difficult than I initially thought. But hey, that Marshall’s problem to figure out! We are adding pier footings, beams, buried posts, and other kinds of hidden structural reinforcements so that I keep this concept open! I do not want to add posts in the middle of the kitchen, or soffits across the middle of the room. One solution we’re working through is to build the soffit at the far end of the kitchen. If the engineer will let me do this, I can run the wall cabinets right up to the base of it, making it look deliberate and purposeful.  

Luckily, Don and Stephanie totally trust us. So, as things have come up on-site, we’ve been able to work together as a team and collaborate together on the best solution. We always say it’s not if, but when an issue arises during construction. The important this is to have the right team assembled, knowing that they are advocating for the best solution for the clients, no matter what!  

COVID Update

* The Covid-19 pandemic is upon us, and these sweet homeowners are looking to us to help get them back into their homes. While some industries are shut down, and some are being told to shelter in place, that’s just not something we can do. Don and Stephanie are out of their house, and their rental lease is going to expire. They need us to perform and complete the task ahead, to ensure they have somewhere to go when this is all over. Marshall doesn’t understand the concept of quitting. In fact, sometimes I don’t know if he even knows HOW to turn it off, even during a pandemic. I am thankful for the leader he is, and his heart to serve our clients no matter what, to make sure they will make it back into their homes. We are not stopping, and we expect to meet our deadline!

Many Hurdles But Nothing Stopped Us From A Successful Completion: 

I love that this home will be Don and Stephanie’s forever home! During the midst of construction, we had obstacles, the Covid-19 pandemic, a surprise retirement announcement from Stephanie, and so much more. But actually, what great timing on her retirement! Now she can enjoy her days in the comfort of her own, personal, fully renovated home. A warm, welcoming Modern Farmhouse has come to life, and we’re so proud to have been able to create this for these amazing people. Cheers!