The thing Bill and Sandee Beckers love the most about their San Luis Obispo home isn’t part of their home at all. It’s their nearly unobstructed view of Bishop Peak.
The couple recently remodeled the home, built in 1991, with the primary goal of making the most of that view. They worked with interior designer Anne Fortini, kitchen designer Jan Kepler and general contractor Walker Construction.
The 4,100-square-foot, two-story home features a contemporary Mediterranean style with large columns, heavy beam timbers and a steel-trowel stucco finish. It was a good fit for the couple’s collection of European antiques, including many pieces picked up on their annual trips to Italy.
Still, many design features, such as a mauve color palette and honey-blonde woods, were outdated.
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Paint came to the rescue — with a new color palette, pulled from nature, enhancing rather than detracting from views. Woodwork is now an array of soft grays that echo mountain stone and morning fog.
The railing on the dramatic floating staircase — the only feature that rivals the view as a focal point —was refinished in a stain with subtle gray undertones. Soft beige walls provide a warm counterpoint to those cool grays. Ceiling beams in the living room, formerly stark blond, are now earthy taupe, bridging cool and warm tones.
Wide-plank wood flooring in a natural finish replaced a combination of carpet and Saltillo terracotta tile. Floorboards run from the front to the back of the house, pulling the eye toward the rear view.
One of the most dramatic view-enhancing improvements was also the most simple. Removing heavy blinds and drapes along the back of the house had the added benefit of bringing in more light. Because the house backs up to open space, privacy issues are minimal.
But even when privacy is a concern — such as the master bathroom, which hikers sometimes traipse past — the design team came up with a solution. They installed one-way glass in a bank of windows so that the couple can enjoy the vista even while taking a soak or shower.
Bill and Sandee Beckers wanted to keep their traditional-style furniture while preserving an easygoing atmosphere. Fortini’s solution was to repurpose pieces whenever possible.
For instance, the couple prefers to eat at an antique pine dining table in an informal eating area, which became part of the “great room” with the removal of a kitchen wall. Yet they were loath to part with the Queen Anne-style furniture in their formal dining room.
Fortini removed the formal chandelier and dining chairs. Books, plants and objets d’art now decorate the table and credenza, while the hutch displays plates collected from Italy.
There is a seating area for reading or listening to music. The space still serves as a stylish entry to the home, and provides extra seating for large gatherings.
The kitchen was another focus of the remodel. There’s a larger island and stainless steel appliances in place of white ones.
Countertops that were previously high-maintenance marble are now covered in brown, easy-care Caesarstone. A slate backsplash pulls together all of the cool and warm tones in the kitchen.
Some of the Beckers home’s best views are from the backyard, with its lawn area and fish pond, so workers removed truckloads of sightline-obstructing, overgrown foliage. The entire home is now primed for entertaining.
“We just open the doors and people flow takes care of itself,” Bill Beckers said.
Beckers and his wife feel that their remodeled home helps them better enjoy its idyllic setting.
“We can walk in from a normal neighborhood and look straight out to acres of countryside,” Bill Beckers said. “The spectacular view is the signature for this house.”
Reinvent your furniture. Think outside the box to repurpose, rather than replace favorite furniture pieces. When Bill and Sandee Beckers wanted to turn their formal dining room into a casual place for reading, they used their dining table and credenza to tastefully display books and art.
Undress your windows. Window coverings aren’t mandatory. If you have an outstanding view and privacy isn’t an issue, a bare window creates a more panoramic view and lets in more light.
Balance your grays. Gray is the new trendy neutral, but be sure to balance it with some warm tones. In the Beckers home, brown countertops and beige walls balance gray-tone woodwork. Taupe hues bridge the two color families.