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Steve and I have been designing homes together for over 30 years. Throughout those decades, while many things have changed, one thing remains the same: our love for helping people create homes that allow them to live their dream lives.

Recently, we’ve been reminiscing and looking back at projects that we’ve done over the years. Today, I thought I would share one of our favorites with you in the hope that it will inspire you to create spaces that enrich your life; ones that bring you joy, rather than stress.


This client approached us in 2016. She lived in a charming bungalow in Santa Monica, and while she loved the size and location of her home, it didn’t feel like her. She liked a more modern aesthetic, but felt like the home felt outdated. She was a chef who loved to entertain, but felt like her home didn’t represent those qualities.

When we did our first visit, we immediately noticed a few things. While it was located in California, a state renowned for its sunny days, the rooms throughout the home felt dark. They were also all painted a different color, which created a sense of disconnection.

She had a beautiful yard, but it felt like it could be elevated to create a more welcoming environment for herself and her guests.

The trees were a bit overgrown, shading out not only her outdoor spaces, but also the indoor ones.

As you would expect for a chef, she had a wonderful kitchen, but it didn’t reflect her bright personality and welcoming aurora. She not only wanted a place to cook, she wanted a place where she could invite her guests to sit down and have a glass of wine while she whipped up their meal.

After did our initial walk through, we hit the ground running, and after some time planning and picking materials and pieces, we were ready to begin our work with Jones Builder Group to give our client her dream home.


The first thing we did was apply Diamond Veneer Plaster Finish to replace the paint. That immediately brightened up the home and made it feel larger. We also replaced the dark wood floors with a lighter oak from Exquisite Surfaces to further enhance the beautiful natural light.

Image by Lisa Romerein

If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know that one of our biggest inspirations in design is the nature around our projects. As Santa Monica is a beachside city, we leaned into using soft sandy neutrals and muted blues & greens, to not only connect it with the nearby ocean, but to also create a sense of serenity.

We also love to use Swedish antiques in our projects, as their proportions and colors are stunning. If you are interested in adding some antique furniture to your home, we have a collection available on our site!

Image by Lisa Romerein

In the kitchen, we added a beautiful navy patterned tile from Walker Zanger behind the stove to create a focal point of interest. We replaced her island with a smaller stainless steel one with a marble top for a nice mix of modern and industrial. The smaller stature created more room for her to move around freely, and more space for guests. We also replaced her overhead cabinetry with floating marble shelves to create a more modern sense of space.

When we saw how wonderful her outdoor area was, we knew we wanted to make it feel more connected to the rest of the home, so that her parties could overflow to her garden and make her home feel larger. While we reused some of her outdoor furniture, we added a few of our favorite pieces from Janus Aet Cie.

Image by Lisa Romerein

We added glass & steel doors from Riveria Bronze that looked out to her side porch, where we trimmed the trees to let more light in.

We used scaffolding boards outside on the walls & floors to add a rustic touch and to bring some of the luminescence we created inside outdoors.

By the end, it felt like a brand new house, one that reflected the wonderful people who called it home.

Image by Lisa Romerein

If you would like to see more of our designs, you can check out our book, Patina Homes.

It is filled with an array of projects, from a modern home in the desert to a traditional home in Maine, that we hope can inspire you to design a home, and a life, you love.



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