Home & Garden

A taste for Tuscan Style: The McClure home in Avila Beach

The new, expanded kitchen was designed for entertaining as well as everyday family meals.
The new, expanded kitchen was designed for entertaining as well as everyday family meals. The Tribune

Mike and Peggy McClure purchased their Avila Beach condo as a vacation home and discovered they never wanted to leave.

“We got to the point where we didn’t want to go back to our house in the Central Valley,” said Peggy.

The McClures, who own Carefree Pools & Spas in San Luis Obispo, decided to move to San Luis Obispo County in 2007. However, before the 1,800-squarefoot condo could serve as a full-time residence, it needed an overhaul. Constructed in 1989, it had low-end fixtures and appliances, white walls and an inconvenient floor plan.

“It was all chopped up with small rooms. The kitchen was tiny and centered on the upstairs floor,” said Peggy, who wanted a more functional space for cooking and entertaining.

They opened up the segmented main floor, removing a wall and an entry closet. The kitchen, which was relocated toward the rear of the home, is now open to the living room.

To add interest to the formerly white and generic space, they retextured the walls and painted them a custom shade of soft yellow. Rounding off sharp corners added to the custom look.

Natural stone was the foundation for the Tuscan look that the McClures wanted to create. Stone-clad columns delineate the living room from the kitchen and dining areas. Slate flooring replaced off-white carpeting.

The most dramatic changes occurred with the complete remodel of their small and dated kitchen. San Luis Kitchen Company designed the space and built the cabinets.

In addition to relocating the kitchen, the couple made

significantly larger by enclosing an exterior deck.

They continued their Tuscan theme in the kitchen with antiqued granite countertops and a travertine backsplash. Cabinets are made of heartwood maple, cut from the heart of the tree for more grain and color variation. The wood was given a slightdistressed finish with a hand-wiped charcoal glaze atop a driftwood-hued stain. The chunky raised-panel door style and furniture-like details complete the Old World look.

The McClures wanted the kitchen to function well for entertaining as well as for everyday family meals. Three distinct work areas — a main sink, range, and prep island — allow multiple cooks to work in tandem. They selected hard-working appliances including a Sub-Zero refrigerator and drawer-style dishwashers. Additional double refrigerator drawers with separate climate controls store beverages as well as pantry items such as bread and potatoes.

The condo previously had a tiny breakfast nook that the couple seldom used. They created a new banquette space situated to take advantage of their bird’s-eye ocean view. Seating at the kitchen island allows guests to chat with the host and hostess. A small wall-mounted copper bar facing the living room provides additional seating.

For ambience and drama, the design team incorporated vaulted ceilings, indirect lighting, and Murano glass pendant lights. Red and orange accents add a restrained splash of color to their earthy palette.

The design team squeezed as much function as they could out of the modestly sized space. The old breakfast nook became a small but efficient home office. The banquette benches offer ample storage space for offseason items, tablecloths and games. And the new pantry is like a traditional pantry turned on its head; the smaller compartment, which is usually on top and difficult to reach, is on the bottom and outfitted with pull-out bins for bulk items like flour.

“We get a lot more use out of it now,” noted Peggy.

Cleverly designed cabinetry keeps the space from looking cluttered. The kitchen has an “appliance garage” to conceal small appliances and a lift for the couple’s stand mixer. Large drawers near the range are designed to hold pots and pans. Another cabinet stores all of their audio and video components, and a subwoofer is installed in the living room wall.

To go with their restyled home, the couple purchased new furniture in a contemporary Mediterranean style, emphasizing both sophistication and comfort.

The McClures have found that they enjoy the simplicity and ease of condo living.

“We have enough room for entertaining and having guests over,” said Peggy. “It’s not huge but it’s perfect for us.”

Contact Rebecca Juretic at rajuretic@sbcglobal.net.

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