A note from our editors: 

It’s time for one of our favorite traditions! Each year, we spend the holidays reflecting on the stories and articles you loved most. It’s the “Best of Rue” and this is one of 2020’s top stories. Enjoy!

Previously published on July 7, 2020:

This early Californian-style home, originally built by Holcombe Homes featuring a blend of architectural elements from Mexican, North African, and Spanish design, experienced a tragic flood that destroyed most of its interior. The homeowners, a senior couple, wanted to bring back their house in Rancho Santa Fe, California back to its original splendor, and then some.

They reached out to Kari Arendsen of Intimate Living Interiors to help renovate their destroyed home. “We replaced the floors in the entry, living room, kitchen, dining room, laundry, and wine room,” she said. “The kitchen was a complete remodel: new cabinetry, countertops, backsplash, floating shelves, lighting, plumbing fixtures, appliances, accessories. The entire home was re-painted, and new furniture, art, lighting, and accessories were applied throughout the main living areas (kitchen and living room). The bedrooms and den remained intact. We were also able to save all of the doors and windows.”

Throughout the whole home, the driving design concept behind it was “simple yet significant”. For example, in the main living spaces, Kari chose traditional Saltillo tile for the flooring. The new kitchen was designed to be brighter but also offer unique design features such as the arch over the range and to the right of the refrigerator to give it character. “The homeowner was very concerned about this design detail because the legs of the arch took up counter space and we installed exposed shelves as opposed to upper cabinetry,” she explained. Kari decided on hand-painted Spanish tile for the backsplash above the range and selected gold-toned Calacatta marble for the countertops. “We wanted to respect this original design and maintain the integrity of the home, but also clean up and contemporize the kitchen,” she said.

The rest of the home’s design follows suit through its furniture and decor that have a contemporary profile but are made of materials that are within the vernacular of the home’s architecture. “We wanted to infuse a soft, organic feel to the space that was inviting and cozy, yet clean and refined,” Kari said. “Textures and neutrals worked well in the space, giving it a fresh look, but also grounding it with casual comfort. We enhanced the original design by incorporating moments that are inviting and beckon you to stay awhile.”