Jamie Zehner, the creative behind JZ Interior Designs, was tasked with taking a basic white box and transforming it into a modern bachelor pad. One of the main challenges? Her client wanted it to have a luxurious feeling, but budget was important too. 

Working with the homeowner, Jamie brought in texture and depth through her material and furnishing choices. Since there’s an open floor plan, it was important that each room flowed together beautifully. Using dark finishes and thoughtful details, the space is anything but builder-grade. She tells us more. 

Tell us about this home. Where is it located? 
This home is located in beautiful Corona Del Mar, CA. The neighborhood sits quietly next to Pacific Coast Highway, so we got a lot of great light while still being protected with privacy from the trees lining the street.  This area is seeing a lot of new builds and remodels lately. While we knew the client would be staying here for a while, we wanted our updates to be competitive with the rest of the market, so we opted for a more luxurious feel than the builder standard. 

We’d love to know more about who lives here. What can you tell us about him?
My client was purchasing his first home. He wanted the space to reflect this big decision and big step. He had inspiration images saved, including images from another home that I had worked on. Right off the bat, we were on the same page with colors, finishes, soft materials and our vision. We wanted something masculine and modern without being too trendy. The must-have was the stone in the kitchen since we wanted it to be a focal point. Because I love consistency throughout the home, we pulled the same stone into the bathrooms as well. 

This was a builder-grade white box at the start. How did you bring texture and depth into the space?
The kitchen was our focal point in the open concept home. So, we added in dark cabinets and stunning honed countertops and backsplash all the way up. 

We pulled the same stone into the bathrooms and updated the tile to reflect a more modern and timeless design. We used a white matte handcrafted look tile with a matte black handcrafted herringbone pattern to add some dimension to the bathrooms and matte black plumbing and hardware. 

We had fun with the lighting, picking sleek fixtures that add to the space without being too distracting. Once all of this was finished, we used different textiles and custom upholstery to make it personal and unique. We opted for a neutral linen feel in the soft goods to offset the darker tones in the home and of course added some greenery. 

Budget was important here. What are some of the ways you brought a feeling of luxury without breaking the bank? 
We definitely splurged on the stone and we knew that’s what we were going to do from the get-go.  Of course, we wanted to do so many things to the space, but keeping in mind the size and budget, we were able to pivot on the rest. We kept the same cabinet layout in the kitchen… I loved the contrast of a deeper stained walnut cabinet, so we used a Shinnoki veneer for the kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities. We splurged on knurled hardware in the kitchen, but something less detailed in the bathrooms. 

One note…due to shipping delays, you may notice that my client doesn’t actually have knobs in the kitchen at the time of the photoshoot. Funny enough, they just shipped out this week! We ordered them in October 2020, for anyone still not sure how bad lead times are.

What are some of your favorite design details, or elements you feel particularly make the space?
I love the dining nook in this space. We looked at it for a while and I knew it had to stay. The darker stained table and deeper painted built in seating would balance out the adjacent kitchen. I love how big the space is and how it was softened up with custom pillows and upholstered seating.

Right now, we’re all spending more time in our homes so I envisioned that area being not only a dining nook, but a space for coffee and reading the newspaper, a place to work during the day with an open window and the gorgeous light, a place for friends and family to gather for drinks and games and meals. I just love the size that lends itself to so many possibilities. 

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