Even though she lived in Colorado, Sandy Sardella called her art gallery business Pismo Glass – a testament to how much she and husband Ed longed to someday live on the California Coast.
They took a small step in that direction when they purchased a Pismo Beach vacation home in 1989, and then sold it and purchased a Shell Beach house 10 years later. As retirement neared, they made plans to convert the Shell Beach house from part-time getaway to permanent residence.
First, major changes were in order.
The Sardellas are partial to contemporary design, but their 2,900-square foot-house, built in 1990, was Southwestern in style with pueblo-style kiva fireplaces, oak woodwork, Saltillo terracotta tile and a pastel color palette.
The couple began a renovation project in 2015 with the help of Casey Johnston Construction and Cucina Kitchens & Baths. The project focused on the main living areas — including the kitchen, living room, dining room and master suite – located on the top level where the ocean view is most spectacular.
Now fireplaces are sheathed in sleek, subtly textured tile. The staircase, formerly oak with traditional spindles, has a new urban look with dark wood and steel fabricated by Weldfab of Oceano.
Upstairs floors are now low-maintenance porcelain tile that looks like weathered driftwood.
The house previously featured classic Southwestern hues such as orange and gold as well as pink, which happens to be Sandy Sardella’s least favorite color. Even the bathroom fixtures and lighting sported a rosy hue.
“We wanted all signs of it gone,” Sardella said.
She and her husband were inspired by a silvery gray that Cindy Collins of Cucina helped them select for their laminate kitchen cabinets. “It set the tone for the rest of the home,” Sardella said.
Light gray walls throughout the house provide a fine backdrop for the couple’s art collection, and for their favorite accent colors of grey and black.
In the foyer, gray walls allow the vibrant colors in their statement-making chandelier to really pop. Created by Seattle artist Joe McDonnell, it is a sculpture made of cubes of blown glass attached to a metal frame.
A construction crew added an LED light fixture to enhance the luminous quality of the piece, and to make it a functional focal point for the entryway.
The remodel also reworked the layout of the upstairs space. Built-in wood bookshelves that once separated the living and dining rooms were removed to create one open great room.
A floating bar that extends from a small cabinet unit is the only division between spaces.
The Sardellas were so adamant about preserving the open feel that they asked that the bar have no legs. This required some clever engineering, including a steel frame sunk into the wall, a hidden steel foot hidden within the cabinetry and aluminum honeycomb to reinforce the quartz countertop.
The result is an artful yet functional feature that comfortably seats two and is ideal as a serving area for parties.
The new kitchen layout moved the sink and cooktop to a position where the cook can look out the window toward the ocean view. A counter-height table set against the kitchen windows creates an informal eating area.
Finally, the Sardellas’ remodel focused on boosting the comfort and function of the master bathroom, removing a never-used bidet to make room for a more spacious shower that opens with barn-style sliding glass doors. Radiant in-floor heating is soothing underfoot.
Gone are the pink marble fixtures, replaced by sculptural, modern ones including a luxurious jetted tub.
The Sardellas brought their contemporary furniture with them, but kept it minimal. “It helps make us feel like we’ve gotten rid of some of the clutter in our lives,” Sandy Sardella said.
After decades of dreaming, the couple finally made the move to Shell Beach in September 2017. From the comfort of their outdoor spa, The Sardellas find they don’t miss the excitement of city life, Sandy Sardella said, and “definitely not the cold winters.”
Merge form and function. In a minimalist interior, even utilitarian items are artful, cutting down on the need for excess ornamentation. In the Sardella home, a piece of sculpture doubles as a chandelier.
Out with excess. To reduce clutter, scrutinize every furnishing and fixture. Remove anything that isn’t frequently used and let other pieces do double-duty. The Sardellas removed a seldom-used bidet to make room for a more spacious shower.
Keep it hidden. Small, unsightly features such as electronics can detract from focal points such as art or a view, especially in a clean, contemporary space. The Sardellas completely disguised the wiring for their track lighting system by hiding it inside or on top of ceiling beams and installed speakers that seemingly disappear into walls.