When a chef, owner of several successful restaurants in Sacramento, hired Kristine Renée and her team at Design Alchemy, he had originally planned for his new home to become a bachelor pad. Single and with grown-up kids, he had the opportunity to create the perfect space just for him. Until half-way through the process, he met his future wife and a few more feminine (and practical) elements were incorporated.

The exciting thing for Kristine and her team was that they were brought very early on to the project – in fact, she accompanied her client in selecting the lot where the home was to be built. “It is so amazing to collaborate with talented creatives to dream up the design vision from the very beginning,” Kristine said. “Projects are always the most successful, and special when you create a home that is specific to the land, and for this reason, we love to be involved in the design process as early as possible.”

Working with architect Chris Dorman of Dorman Associates, they helped create a complete concept for the style of the house. “In the beginning, the homeowner was hooked on creating a Spanish style home – think very ornate, lots of iron… you get the picture,” she explained. They were able to convince the homeowner that he should go for a more refined and simplistic version of Spanish Colonial with earthy materials and a clean profile. “Chris had just completed the fabulous Flora Farms project down in Baja – where all of the building materials were made locally, such as the iron windows, plumbing fixtures, concrete sinks – and flew our client down to check out the property,” Kristine said. “We convinced him to shift his initial (ultra Spanish, borderline Tuscan) design ideas and trust in the modern farmhouse design style with Mediterranean undertones.”

The overall tone of the home was a laidback California style. Kristine selected wide plank oak flooring, plush leather sofas, and washed linen fabrics for the interior decor. The kitchen, the most important space for Kristine’s client, took extra time to select the right details and configuration for it. They included restaurant-grade appliances, easy to clean work surfaces and even a Dutch door off the side of the kitchen to add character.

“From start to finish, the project took 3 years,” Kristine said. “The home totally takes on an indoor/outdoor feel, with all of the door systems completely open to the outdoor loggia. When the homeowner throws a party, it’s a must, you gotta join in on the fun: wood-fired pizza, fried artichoke hearts on the patio, watching the city lights over Folsom Lake.”