Homeowners Kaitlyn and Samuel Ko chose their San Rafael home for the location. “The neighborhood is a very walkable, family-friendly community. The lot is a street-to-street lot and outside our back gate is the local elementary school with it also being located on a charming small dead-end street,” the couple explains. Since the lot size is small, the couple knew they’d need to maximize the house footprint. “Going into the project, we already had a strong sense of our overall goals and aesthetic but really wanted a designer to elevate our vision.” Enter Florence Livingston Interiors: a residential interior designer with a thoughtful and thorough approach to remodels.
Construction had already started when Florence joined the project. “They had a fairly clear idea of the overall look they wanted but needed someone to help them resolve the layout of the house first and then to guide them with all the finishes,” she says. The couple had already had a lot of discussions on how they function as a family, which rooms they use most, and what elements were a priority for each of them. “Really establishing this prioritized list early on, helped us keep on track when it came to making design decisions on the layout and floor plan because we knew how as a family we wanted to use and live in the house. Sam’s priorities included a lot of natural light, high ceilings, a sizable garage and an open floor plan. Kaitlyn’s priorities included incorporating built-ins, having three bedrooms on the same floor, subtle color/pops of texture and maximizing storage within each room,” the couple outlines. Though it took a few rounds of back and forth, they were able to address the biggest challenges and the design fell into place.
Functionality was key for the small space, and the designer quickly got to work maximizing every square foot, explaining, “We decided to create an open space floor plan that provides comfortable living, dining and cooking for their family of four but also allows good circulation for their large family gatherings that are normally a weekly occurrence.” Thanks to a folding glass wall, the kitchen and dining spaces open fully to outside and there is ample space to walk around the kitchen island and dining table. The kitchen is galley-style, so it visually doesn’t take up a lot of space but has efficient storage for the family’s needs. “The white cabinets blend in with the white walls and the white oak on the island echoes the white oak floors,” Florence says. “There is a good size pantry to the right of the refrigerator and deep large drawers down below. The open shelves provide easy access for their beautiful Heath plates and bowls.”
These materials repeat throughout the home, bringing a sense of peacefulness while also creating an illusion that the house is bigger than it actually is. “We used the same cabinet style throughout the home either in white oak or painted white and accents of black throughout including the black windows,” the designer explains. “We painted the house White Dove by Benjamin Moore, which works so well with white oak and creates a bright but warm atmosphere. Throughout the home, the white drapery panels with a simple pleat detail soften the spaces and allow for privacy when necessary.”
Kaitlyn and Sam agree that the home is has a lot of depth without being overly fussy or complicated. “We knew we didn’t want to compromise our style just because we had young kids, so we picked pieces that were more durable and would stand the time of normal wear-n-tear,” they admit. “We wanted our home to be liveable and usable without having to worry about something getting stained or broken.” The sofas both are covered in performance fabric, while the coffee table is actually an outdoor piece. Overall, the layout fits exactly what all parties had in mind: “When entertaining, one group can be sitting in the living room, another cooking in the kitchen, another at the dining table and everyone can communicate easily,” the designer says. The couple concludes, “Working with Florence allowed us to look at elements of the house in a new perspective, challenge (in a good way!) the functionality and flow as well as help make a warm, beautiful and inviting family home for us.”
To see more of the space, along with details from both designer + the homeowners, start the slideshow.