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VIDEO: Keep it simple

Color, repetition of materials unify design

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Walking through the mid-century Coastwise tract home, interior designer David Turner had one piece of remodeling advice for his friends, Sharon and Eliot: Keep it simple.

The pair took his words to heart, when they did something in every room, except the front hall closet, Sharon says.

"We liked the bones of the house, the big rooms, sense of space," she adds.

But the couple wanted to open up the spaces even more, widening the hallway and pulling the kitchen more into the center of the house. They also wanted to update their bathrooms and give themselves a "nice bedroom."

But although they liked their architect's plans, they put off execution for five years. "By the time we did it, it cost twice as much," she says.

Today one enters the living room through an arch, from which one can view a wider arch that frames artwork at the end of the bedroom-wing hallway.

The new fireplace, faced in ledgestone with a built-in niche, is trimmed in Absolute-Black antiqued granite, with rusty-brown ceramic tile at the base. The granite and tile are repeated throughout the remodel, the granite on kitchen and bathroom counters, the tile in the kitchen backsplash and bathroom floors and shower.

The couple kept the original parquet-tile floors, made of white, red and green oak, extending them into the kitchen and den (formerly an enclosed patio). But instead of a dark mahogany stain, the floors are lighter.

One of the goals was to get more wall space for art, so a wall-to-ceiling bookcase was replaced with a low cabinet, which matches the "furniture" look of the kitchen cabinets nearby. Walls were extended to visually separate the living and dining rooms.

The den floor was brought up to the level of the adjacent dining room, and frosted-glass, Shoji-like door panels on rails were custom-crafted.

A major change in the home is the amount of built-in lighting. An existing skylight/light well was opened up in the dining room, and numerous recessed lights were installed in the ceiling. Sharon says her one regret is not reading through the lighting plans thoroughly enough to assure that the lights actually could be aimed at the art on the walls. Some of the "down" lights were changed to "wall-washers," which showcase their artwork.

"We always had to have lights on during the day. Not now," she says.

Very little space was added to the kitchen: A niche where the radiant-heating machinery had been stored is now a cozy eating area overlooking the outdoors. A sliding glass door was removed from the den and re-used in the kitchen. All the stainless-steel appliances are by Bosch — "my husband really liked the design and the size," Sharon says. And Douglas fir was chosen for the cabinets, because it fit with the simple, Asian feeling.

Part of keeping it simple was painting the home in a compatible color family. The living room is mainly Kittery Point green, one wall and the den are silver pine, the hall Colorado gray and the master bedroom straw, all by Benjamin Moore. Another Turner suggestion was painting the detailed moldings the same color as the walls throughout.

"David said it makes the art stand out more and makes the rooms feel bigger," Sharon says.

The main addition to the home was about 200 square feet for a master bedroom suite. Window styles are repeated from the den, and a large window seat sits under a bay overlooking the backyard. The bathroom is separated into two rooms, one with double sinks and a bank of closets, with pullouts designed by Elfa System from the Container Store. The second holds the toilet and large shower with glass doors that open either in or out.

Looking around her no-longer spray-painted white house with its gold 1960s kitchen, Sharon says, "It is a good house. ... You can't find homes built this well," adding that it would have been cheaper to tear it down and rebuild. "We felt strongly that it was a good house."


Architect: Michael Kinoshita, Sunnyvale, 408-736-8683

Building contractor: J.P. Whitney Construction Inc., San Jose, 408-249-2845, http://www.jpwhitneyconstruction.com

Floors: DG Floor Coverings, Redwood City, 650-299-1676

Painting: Adrian Jurado, AJ Painting, Los Banos, 408-314-8310; http://www.ajpainting.net

Plumbing fixtures: Plumbing Studio, 2150 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View, 650-938-4502

Shower: CB Shower Doors, San Carlos, 650-593-6997

Goal of project:

Open up space, level den, redo kitchen, two bathrooms

Unexpected problems/hidden costs:

Need to replace all plumbing, electricity; match roof beams in addition

Year house built:


Size of home, lot:

3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2,063 sq. ft. (added 220 sq. ft.) on 7,244-sq.-ft. lot

Time to complete:

Nine months



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The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

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