Home & Garden

From East Coast to SLO County, couple puts a twist on minimal design

The renovated kitchen of Dieter and Barbara Klaubert’s Arroyo Grande home marries modern and traditional elements.
The renovated kitchen of Dieter and Barbara Klaubert’s Arroyo Grande home marries modern and traditional elements. Matthew Anderson Photography

Dieter and Barbara Klaubert lived in three East Coast homes, all of them historical. They painstakingly restored them, refurbishing old woodwork and repairing aging plumbing.

“We loved them all,” Barbara Klaubert said.

But, when the Klauberts moved to Arroyo Grande in 2000, “it was time for something different,” Dieter Klaubert said.

They purchased a five-acre property with a 2,800-square-foot house that had not changed since it was built in 1979. Featuring wooded valley and hillside views, and the home was dark and dated with oak cabinets, fussy wallpaper and brown tile.

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Dieter and Barbara Klaubert sought a clean, contemporary look for their remodeled Arroyo Grande home. Matthew G. Anderson Matthew Anderson Photography

The Klauberts put off upgrades at the time, knowing a full-scale remodel was somewhere in their future.

It wasn’t until Dieter Klaubert retired in 2016 that they found the time to tackle the project. They hired architect Heidi Gibson of Studio 2G Architects and builder Charlie Main of The Main Company.

While the Klauberts weren’t ready to abandon their traditional aesthetic — or their antique furniture — they felt it was time for a more contemporary spin on their personal style.

Gibson suggested Scandinavian design that is clean and minimalist, but also incorporates warm and textural elements like wood and natural fibers.

SECONDARY 3 Klaubert home living room
When renovating their Arroyo Grande home, Dieter and Barbara Klaubert replaced several small rooms with one open great room. Matthew G. Anderson Matthew Anderson Photography

The project started with the exterior, replacing the “heavy and woodsy” shiplap siding with cement boards in varying widths, Gibson said. The result brings interest to the home’s large, expansive facades and provides more fire protection, she said.

The main level was previously divided into several small rooms, including a piano room, laundry room and a tiny kitchen. Now, there is one open great room.

The back of the house, once nearly windowless and full of odd angles, is now a simple straight line, adding about 200 square feet to the house.

Windows are large and perfectly square, in keeping with Scandinavian design. They bring in both natural light and panoramic views.

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Dieter and Barbara Klaubert’s home features clean, minimalist lines in the Scandinavian style. Matthew G. Anderson Matthew Anderson Photography

Gibson suggested minimal moldings and woodwork — a far cry from the heavy and ornate trim that the Klauberts are used to. Cherry window and door moldings are narrow and understated, keeping the focus on views.

Gone is the traditional wood staircase, replaced by a sleek glass-and-metal version constructed by Rob Foster.

Walls were previously covered with floral wallpaper. The Klauberts replaced it with paint in a simple, bright color palette. The great room walls are a very pale yellow called tealight, while the upstairs is a creamy-off white and the bedroom is light beige.

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The renovated kitchen of Dieter and Barbara Klaubert’s Arroyo Grande home marries modern and traditional elements. Matthew G. Anderson Matthew Anderson Photography

The renovated kitchen is larger and marries modern and traditional elements.

The couple didn’t want granite or quartz countertops “because it’s too common,” Dieter Klaubert said.

Instead, they chose warm and inviting cherry for the island and stainless steel elsewhere. The steel coordinates with modern elements, such as the range hood and appliances.

But it is also inspired by the zinc countertops the Klauberts have seen in historical homes, including Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

Klaubert home fireplace
Antiques are displayed next to the fireplace in the great room of Dieter and Barbara Klaubert’s Arroyo Grande home. Matthew G. Anderson Matthew Anderson Photography

The couple likes to bake but didn’t want the hassle of caring for finicky marble surfaces. So they asked for a small, roll-out marble counter that stores neatly beneath the island.

The kitchen is mostly white, but with vintage-inspired green-blue on the island, as well as on the subway tile that covers both the backsplash and fireplace. The tiles were handmade in Sonoma County and sold by Totally Tile in Paso Robles.

The remodel changed the configuration of the bedrooms, bringing the master bedroom to the ground level and altering the layout of the upstairs rooms.

Now Barbara Klaubert has a large sewing area and a room for fabric storage upstairs. Primary living spaces are together on the ground level, which will allow the couple to age in place.

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A vanity made from an antique sewing tressel is among the unique items in Dieter and Barbara Klaubert’s Arroyo Grande home. Matthew G. Anderson Matthew Anderson Photography

Throughout the house are hints of the Klauberts’ enduring fondness for the historical.

The kitchen sports a light fixture that Dieter Klaubert made from old Ball canning jars found 38 years ago at a farm sale in Pennsylvania.

Adjacent to the kitchen is a shelving unit displaying antique apple peelers. In the upstairs bathroom is a vanity made from an antique sewing treadle, paying homage to Barbara Klaubert’s love of quilting.

The Klauberts have kept their furniture and decorations minimal, as is demanded by Scandinavian design. But they have held on to some treasured antiques including a corner cabinet from their first home in Pennsylvania and a pie safe that fit nicely in their minimalist great room.

There was one finishing touch for the remodel, which wrapped up in July 2017: a new front door featuring an etched glass design by Glass Designs by Melissa in Arroyo Grande.

The oak motif and modern lines of the door symbolize that the Klauberts have made the transition from the maple trees and farmhouses of the East Coast to California oaks and the modern structure they now call home.


Steel yourself. Stainless steel is an often overlooked, yet attractive and durable countertop option that works with both modern and traditional styles of decor.

Rotate your stuff. To keep clutter at bay, display a portion of your accessories, then rotate them seasonally. Each rotation freshens up the look of your interior and creates an opportunity to re-evaluate which items should stay in your collection.

Scandinavian basics. Add Scandinavian elements to your home for a quiet, restful atmosphere. You can rework your palette in white or light neutral tones, declutter aggressively, then add in interest with textural elements such as light-toned wood and textiles.

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