SWEET HOME VALLEY CENTER
Terri and I hit it off right from the start. Everything she wanted to do with the house was amazing. She inherited the home when her parents passed away, then decided to renovate rather than sell the place. The sentimental aspect of the project greatly appealed to me since I tend to love the people I work with as much as I love the process itself. Working on something with such a family-heirloom vibe was extra special.
Terri’s parents built the house from the ground up, taking multiple trips into Mexico to source unique fixtures and tile, painstakingly poring over every inch of the home to build it how they dreamed, bringing custom statement pieces back from Mexico and creating a look they loved.
Terri remembers planting plants at the house as a teenager, which have grown to become glorious specimens today. She and her husband wanted to preserve the heritage of the place and honor her parent’s hard work and design choices, as well as highlight the wonderful memories that were built over the years, so we requested the construction team save most of the original lighting and tile as well as the beautiful louvered doors that were everywhere. (Thank you, Frank Minicilli, of Steady Builders in Valley Center!)
We carefully hoarded the original Spanish style pieces for hopeful repurposing, and boy, did we ever repurpose them! Kudos to the guys for taking such great care, the pieces hardly had any damage.
It’s such a peaceful feeling to drive up to Terri’s house, every time I arrived the atmosphere had a magical quality. Meetings pre-demo were a treat, since the original kitchen was still intact and Terri makes a mean caffe latte. After we launched construction, things got exciting. It was really great to watch the project unfold over the year, especially during Covid.
We definitely had a few tense moments of fast-paced decision making, and it was harder with Terri living in Sacramento - plus we all had to wear Covid masks - but everyone stepped up and did their job well, which is what you want from a project team. The gorgeous results were worth every sweltering, mask-clad meeting, and monthly presentations at James Coffee near the airport were extra bonus. Really anything involving coffee is extra bonus…
We launched the design with tile samples, compiling different ideas to put together the personality of the whole thing. It took two or three go-rounds, but in the end we landed on a wonderful navy, sage, dark brown, and caramel neutral palette. With the client living in Sacramento and flying down once a month, it did make things a little harder, but we worked it out through zoom meetings and came up with a good rhythm.
Colors began to unfold and tile decisions narrowed, and then it became time to choose the cabinet colors and finishes. We landed on a wonderful medium-tone wood stain for most of the cabinets, and then at the cabinet showroom Terri spied this wonderful blue door tucked in the corner of the shop. When we added that wonderful blue to our pile of samples it became this amazing, unexpected twist to the design plot that brought so much beauty and vibrancy. Blue kitchen island! I couldn’t have been happier.
Fast forward to today, reminiscing. When I left the house at the end of our photoshoot - a full year after install - I think it really sunk in what a great project this was. From the custom stairwell tiles to using Terri’s dad’s hand-salvaged tiles in the place of honor over the cooktop, to her mom’s tiles in the upstairs powder and the special touches everywhere that happen when you use an architect (A huge thank you to Greg Danskin of Danskin Architecture!)… and to that gorgeous scratch-proof floor for dear Cousteau the poodle; this renovation was truly stunning.
And yet, it remained sentimental, friendly, and inviting. A lived-in wonder full of it’s original glory, a true testament to the legacy of family. An heirloom I pray will be loved for years to come.
Now, time for coffee….