The Smithcliffs community in Laguna Beach, California is a beautiful private enclave of 21 estates, and home to some of the most beautiful properties in the area. “It’s known for the abundance of pine trees present throughout giving it a bit of a Northern California beach vibe,” designer Denise Morrison says. It’s here that she was tasked with updating this home, her fifth project with the clients. “We knew exactly how to navigate this renovation to their liking. Having completed numerous previous projects with this client, there is a natural ease and trust that makes designing for them all the more fun.  They are open to our ideas and are always very appreciative of our creativity making the process extremely enjoyable,” she explains. “Embracing the home’s classic bones, we collaborated with builder Frank Ultimo and architect Rory Foubister who re-imagined the exterior, in particular the entry to create a modern update.”

The first effort was to re-work the floor plan to be more accommodating to the clients’ lifestyle.  The kitchen was awkwardly arranged as well as closed off to the family room. “We worked at re-thinking the connection of the spaces to improve and update the home,” Denise explains. “We also gave the dining room a new home in the former office so often not needed in today’s homes. With lots of windows and a spacious feel this skylight filled room made the perfect location for hosting formal dinner parties our client loves.”

The style is New Traditional—they honored the molding and classing details, but worked to create something with some modern moments mixed in. This was especially evident in the interspersing of the client’s art collection throughout the home.  The project took about 8 months, and the clients were so thrilled with the finished home. “So much so that the team has been invited for a reunion dinner hosted by the client next month to celebrate the completion of another successful project,” the designer smiles. See more in the slideshow.