Becky Williams has a keen sense for detail. Unfortunately, she was noticing all the wrong things in her 30-year-old Nipomo home.
The popcorn ceilings and dark oak cabinets gave her flashbacks to the 1980s. The black-and-white auto racing-inspired tile in the laundry room, she considered “distracting.” And, despite the white carpeting, the house was dark due to lack of lighting.
Williams is a retired paralegal who felt most comfortable leaving the details of a remodel to a professional. So she called on interior designer Alli Addison of Alli Addison Branding + Design. Addison advised on everything from cabinetry hardware to window coverings.
“When unable to make a decision on my own, I would defer to her, and she always got it right,” said Williams.
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Williams temporarily moved out of her house as it was gutted and prepared for a full update last year.
After assessing Williams’ personal style, Addison devised a fresh, updated design scheme she calls “new-age traditional,” incorporating classic elements with cleaner, modern lines. The style worked with Williams’ existing furniture, most of which she hoped to keep. According to Addison, “it is a transitional style, and it allows for different styles of decor and furniture to coexist peacefully in the home without looking forced.”
Job one was giving the home a lighter and brighter feel. Addison achieved this with better lighting, as well as a new palette of creams and taupes. Warm undertones keep the bright color scheme from feeling sterile.
Addison also tapped into William’s personality. “Becky is the outdoorsy type,” she said. “so the recurring theme throughout the house is nature.”
They brought in an ample dose of warm woods with new doors, casing and baseboards in rustic knotty alder with a light golden stain. They installed wide, 7-inch French oak flooring. They kept the same color palette and flooring throughout most of the 2,400-square-foot house because “we did not want the overall dwelling to appear choppy,” said Addison.
Tile and stone continues the organic theme and plays to Williams’ eye for detail.
For the kitchen countertops, they originally considered something in taupe, but Williams’ personality came into play once more. “Becky is the type that appreciates the unusual, the character-heavy, the one-of-a-kind finds,” said Addison. She knew she was on the right track when she stumbled upon “red fossil” marble slabs that contain rust-colored fossils. The hue echoes the red brick on the living room fireplace and on the exterior of the house.
For the backsplash, they chose large 2-inch-by-7.5-inch glazed brick tiles in a creamy hue. Set in a brick pattern, it offers another tie-in with the home’s exterior. A similar cream was chosen for the cabinetry.
In the master bathroom, a space Addison calls the “crown jewel” of the house, they started with a warm white for cabinetry and walls. They moved an awkwardly placed commode and replaced a bulky tile-surround tub with a sleek pedestal tub.
They added a wainscot of taupe ceramic tile with a light crackle texture. It runs across the walls, transitions into the vanity backsplash and continues into the walk-in shower. At the center of the shower wall and on the shower floor are tile mosaics comprised of small leaves arranged to resemble flowers. Subtle metallic tones within the mural complement the dark oil-rubbed bronze fixtures in the bathroom. Addison appealed to Williams’ love of detail by selecting faucet knobs with tiny leaf impressions that repeat the leaf motif in the shower.
The countertops in the master bath are calcatta gold marble with dramatic dark gold veining. This particular slab had what was considered a flaw — a rust/bronze tone within the veining that Addison knew would work well with all of the bronze in the space. “As I told Becky, such flaws add character to her home,” she said. “And when using natural materials, don’t focus on finding perfection. Imperfection can be just as stunning.”
Only in two rooms did Williams diverge from the light and bright color palette. In the dining room, she selected a forest-like dark green echoing the hue of the home’s exterior. “The dining room for this project was an incredibly small space, and rather than try to make it feel larger, we chose to embrace it and make the space feel even more intimate,” said Addison.
To soften the look, Addison added cream-colored plantation shutters and linen-blend drapery panels.
The office was designed to accommodate Williams’ three cherished Labrador retrievers, with whom she competes in retriever trials. Addison designed a special space for the dogs’ crates. And because they would be spending a great deal of time in the room, this is the only space where the cabinetry is stained.
“White shows everything, while wood tones mask dirt and dings much better,” Addison said.
Since the project wrapped up in April, Williams has enjoyed the level of care and detail put into the house by Addison and the many crafts people she worked with.
“I can say that every day I’m in here, I appreciate the design and workmanship,” said Williams, “I continue to notice the little things — and very little things — as well.”