Home & Garden

How this homeowner created her own calming, cozy retreat in Pismo Beach

Linn Horton's Pismo Beach home has a laid-back, coastal look with contemporary furniture and clean lines.
Linn Horton's Pismo Beach home has a laid-back, coastal look with contemporary furniture and clean lines.

In 2009, Linn Horton purchased a Pismo Beach home that was cozy and charming, but not quite her style.

She rarely used the huge jetted tub, the eat-in kitchen or the den with the fireplace — features that some would find appealing.

Instead of rushing headlong into a remodel, Horton waited. “I wanted to live in the house for a while first,” she explained.

It wasn’t until 2012 that she started the home’s transformation with the help of designer Jan Kepler and Mountain Pacific Builders.

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Linn Horton converted the den of her Pismo Beach home into a formal dining room. Elliott Johnson

Horton’s house, previously traditional, incorporates contemporary elements as well. This “makes the home feel warm and cozy, but still sleek and uncluttered,” Kepler said.

Horton enjoys entertaining and missed having a formal dining room, so she converted the den to a dining space and ditched the eat-in kitchen concept in favor of bar seating and more prep space. Now she has enough room to cook alongside her daughters.

In the kitchen, she chose a classic look and updated, easy-care materials that handle the wear and tear of daily use.

The countertops look like marble, but are actually low-maintenance quartz. Gray cabinets in a modified Shaker door style are painted in an easy-to-clean finish.

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The kitchen of Linn Horton's Pismo Beach home features easy-care quartz countertops and gray cabinets with Shaker-style doors. Elliott Johnson

The large, single-bowl Blanco Silgranit sink is made of a composite of granite and quartz that is scratch, stain and heat-resistant. “(The kitchen) looks as fresh and classic today as it did when we installed it,” Kepler said.

Kepler advised Horton to install drawers instead of shelving, allowing quick access to all items.

“You don’t have to unpack the entire cabinet to get a platter at the back,” Horton said.

Other efficient storage features include lazy Susans for easy access to corner cabinets and rollouts with specialized dividers.

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Rollout drawers make contents easy to reach in the kitchen of Linn Horton's Pismo Beach home. Elliott Johnson

Floors throughout the house went from carpet to an engineered oak with a bleached, natural finish evocative of driftwood.

In 2017, Horton and Kepler embarked up on a second phase of remodels with Oak Ridge Custom Builders. They added a built-in buffet adjacent to the dining room that matches kitchen cabinetry and stores Horton’s collection of vintage tableware.

The master bathroom previously featured a wall-length mirror with dressing room-style lighting. Now, it sports espresso cherry cabinets and herringbone porcelain floor tile.

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The bathroom of Linn Horton's home in Pismo Beach features espresso cherry cabinets and herringbone porcelain floor tile. Elliott Johnson

Contemporary sconces and handmade ceramic wall tiles, purchased from CW Quinn Home, frame a scaled-down mirror.

In place of the never-used huge jetted tub is a freestanding tub with a sculptural freestanding polished nickel tub filler, both from Pacific Coast Kitchen & Bath , that add to “the soothing, spa-like feeling of the room,” Kepler said.

Horton’s previous home, located in the San Joaquin Valley, was French country and so was her furniture. Her new look is laid-back and coastal with clean lines and lots of texture.

The dining room, for instance, has a table from Fortini Home, Garden & Design that has a simple profile and weathered finish. Around it sit contemporary rattan chairs.

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Linn Horton's Pismo Beach home blends contemporary and traditional elements. Elliott Johnson

In addition, Horton simplified the architecture of the home in subtle ways. She removed the awkwardly-located den fireplace, as well as niches and ledges throughout the house that she considered dust collectors.

Now, architectural interest comes from new simple, yet substantial baseboards and new two-panel solid wood doors.

Horton finds the renovated home more functional and more in line with her personal style.

“It’s warm, cozy and calming,” she said. “The house now reflects my more casual life at the Central Coast.”

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Linn Horton's Pismo Beach home mixes contemporary and traditional pieces, creating a laid-back, coastal look with lots of texture. Elliott Johnson


Try a sturdier sink. Blanco Silgarnit sinks, for instance, are made from a composite of granite and quartz that is scratch, stain and heat resistant.

Opt for drawers. Drawers make a kitchen more efficient, eliminating the need to dig at the back of cabinets. If you aren’t remodeling, you can install pull-outs in existing cabinets.

Start with neutrals. Create a foundation of neutral colors for a home, then add small pops of color and texture with accents and furniture. Walls in the Horton home are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Revere pewter, with Sherwin Williams’ alabaster for the trim.

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