Home & Garden

‘Light and bright.’ 3-year remodel turned Arroyo Grande home into airy dream house

A 14-long island is the focal point of the kitchen in Gary and Marilyn Sarina’s Arroyo Grande home.
A 14-long island is the focal point of the kitchen in Gary and Marilyn Sarina’s Arroyo Grande home. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Over 53 years of marriage, Gary and Marilyn Sarina lived in a brick bungalow, a beach house on stilts and many other homes — but never a custom one.

So when they moved to Arroyo Grande five years ago, they decided it was time to get the house they’d always dreamed of.

The house they bought was fine, but nothing remarkable. It had “your standard contractor’s color palette,” Marilyn Sarina said of the 1995-built home.

Beige walls and carpet, oak cabinets, plaid wallpaper and dated appliances were their motivation to “revamp from the cement floor up,” she said.

Enter their daughter, interior designer Lori Sarina. She’s the owner of LAS Interiors, based in Arroyo Grande and Los Angeles.

A three-year remodel, headed up by Sarina and executed by Sharp Construction of Los Osos, updated the entire interior, expanded the kitchen and created a more luxurious master bath in the 2,376-square-foot home.

Gary and Marilyn Sarina’s Arroyo Grande home underwent a three-year remodel headed up by their daughter, interior designer Lori Sarina. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Kitchen was priority for home remodel

The kitchen was their priority. “This is basically where we spend most of our time,” Marilyn Sarina said.

The Sarinas were willing to make some sacrifices to get precisely what they wanted. To gain more space, they gave up their awkwardly situated family room that “wasn’t being used to its full potential,” Lori Sarina said.

Demolishing it, along with its fireplace and built-in media cabinet, gave them an extra 190 square feet for a total of 400.

The new kitchen is large enough to accommodate a dining table, freeing up space in the living room where the table was previously located. Having an eat-in kitchen created “an informal, European/Tuscan feel,” that the homeowners were after, Lori Sarina said.

The roomier kitchen allowed Gary Sarina to have his long wished-for oversized island. Despite reservations from his spouse and daughter, he insisted that it was a “must, since this is the hub of not only the kitchen but truly the entire home.”

Gary and Marilyn Sarina opted for a roomier kitchen with a dining area when remodeling their Arroyo Grande home. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The resulting island is 14 feet long, topped with Carrara marble.

Marble, wood featured

Marble was Marilyn Sarina’s request.

Despite marble’s tendency to stain and pit, she prizes its luxurious and sophisticated look. She was so smitten with the look that she nixed a plan to add an island sink, not wanting to cut into the solid plane of marble.

Marble makes many appearances throughout the house, including the kitchen backsplash and bathrooms.

The soft grays and whites of the marble set the tone for the home’s overall color palette, providing a fitting backdrop for their clean, modern interpretation of traditional design.

The look is “light and bright with minimal furniture and accessories, but with some traditional elements to lend a warm feeling,” Lori Sarina explained.

For instance, the couple kept some traditional wood pieces from early in their marriage, including a dining table which they combined with simple, white parsons chairs.

The master bathroom of Gary and Marilyn Sarina’s Arroyo Grande home features marble tiles and a new soaking tub. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

To break up the muted color palette, Lori Sarina added accents in blue – her mother’s favorite color. It appears in the usual places, such as sofa cushions, but also in unexpected ones, like the vivid cobalt blue Bluestar gas range.

Bathroom has open design, soaking tub

The master bathroom was next, a priority for Marilyn Sarina, who wanted a private oasis.

Lori Sarina accomplished this with a soft color palette, luxurious marble tiles, an open design, and a new soaking tub.

The most challenging part of the remodel, which wrapped up in 2018, was the Sarinas’ decision to live in the home the entire time. This included more than six months without a kitchen.

But in retrospect, the couple wouldn’t do anything differently.

Marilyn Sarina described the newly revamped house as “airy, brighter and flowing.” In other words, it’s the custom home they always wanted.

Lemons add a pop of color to the dining room of Gary and Marilyn’s Arroyo Grande home. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com


A splurge-worthy range. Want to splurge? Consider a restaurant-quality Bluestar gas range, available in more than 750 colors, 10 metal trims and multiple configurations. The price tag that starts at around $3,000 and can exceed $15,000.

A restful palette. A limited color palette is soothing. Choose a neutral, such as gray or taupe, as the predominate color, then add an accent color with restraint.

Discourage mold. If mold and mildew are a concern, consider installing tile on your bathroom walls – and even the ceiling. Eliminating shower doors creates fewer spots for mildew to grow.