Ansley Majit and Stephanie Waskins, the design duo behind Northern California design firm Lark + Palm, say this Marin County home was in its original 1950s format when they first saw it. Shabby bathrooms, a boxed-in kitchen, and super low ceilings. After an 18-month renovation, the house is nearly unrecognizable. Their clients wanted the home to reflect their California lifestyle, with indoor/outdoor living, a heavy nod to the coast, and plenty of open space to entertain. The pair tells us more:
What can you tell us about your clients? Who lives here, and what were their design goals?
Our clients are a young family who were hoping to take their starter home and transform it into their dream home. They dreamed about lofty ceilings, indoor/outdoor living and a truly California cool vibe for their home, but also a home that would suit chasing after a toddler or two! The most important ask from these clients really was the ceiling and the indoor/outdoor flow. We did a lot of work with our engineer to get the ceiling height and open flow; it really transformed the space.
Did they have strong opinions, or were they open to new ideas?
They fully trusted our vision and took our lead with pretty much every suggestion we made! We ended up with what we describe as Organic Modern with a punch. The subtle touches of color throughout the house in the textiles, art, and some of the millwork creates an element of playfulness that is appropriate for this young family.
The kitchen really embodies that aesthetic!
The open great room is flooded with natural light and we wanted to have materials that reflect the light warmth from the afternoon sun. One of our favorite parts of the house is the custom tile on the backside of the island. We had this made by Tabarka Studios in Los Angeles. Its imperfect nature lends itself to the organic California vibe that was executed throughout the home and the graphic pattern adds an element of cool we just love.
When we found these acrylic stools from CB2, we were thrilled! We selected a quartzite material for the countertops and used what has quickly become one of our favorite field tiles, Fireclay’s Tusk, for extra dimension over the stone shelf. The cabinetry was made by a local cabinet designer to design these gorgeous white oak cabinets that allows the kitchen to have all then function of a chef’s kitchen without looking like it. We love to do statement-making lighting, and these gorgeous pendants are the Luna Pendant by Marian Jamieson.
What were some of the family-friendly design decisions you made?
Whenever we work with families, the biggest ask is what we call supporting spaces: mudrooms, laundry rooms, family media stations, etc. In small spaces, carving out an entire mudroom was proving difficult, so we created a custom built-in cubby and storage piece that looks beautiful enough for the formal entry, but also functional to hold all the things the family needs close at hand as they are running in and out of the house! We used Farrow & Ball Inchyra Blue on the millwork for a touch of sophistication. The powder room that we added sits just beyond this entry and we carried the same color into that space and paired it with a graphic wallpaper from Holland & Sherry to create a perfect little jewel box of a space. We selected sconces from Circa and an over-sized mirror from Made Goods. We love an oversized mirror in a petite powder room; it’s unexpected and so impactful.
There is an unmistakable beachy element here, but it’s not cliched. How did you achieve this balance?
The color palette we selected for this project are all colors that can be found in nature and we went with warmer and more muted tones: sand, blue, lavender, cream. We feel like colors and texture can really drive home a feeling of something, without needing a literal execution of it.
How long did this project take?
The project took about 18 months for the planning phase, sourcing, and construction. We completed construction just before shelter-in-place and the family were so thrilled to be able to settle into their dream home. When our clients saw the finished product, they were as they described “over the moon” — it really made our day to see the delighted looks on their faces!
See more in the slideshow.