Most of the properties we feature are the work of one design firm. But in the case of this Bay Area home, two talents joined forces to create one gorgeous pad: Kellie Eserts of Kellie Eserts Interiors and Jenika Kurtz of J. Kurtz Design.

“Kellie’s friend and her darling family recently remodeled their home to get more light and open space,” Jenika told us. “Kellie and I designed from afar; selecting paint colors, furniture, artwork and lighting. Kellie’s husband is a wonderfully talented architect and was involved with the project as well.”

Kellie continues, “Their personal style is classic, without being stuffy.  That’s what they gravitate toward, but they specifically wanted us to push them outside of their comfort zones.  They were the most trusting and amazing clients!”

We sat down with the designers to learn more about this unique (and super cute) project:

Hi ladies! This is a unique project. What can you tell us about the homeowners?
Kellie: Jeff and Paula have been friends of mine since our freshmen year of college! They have three children between the ages of 7 and 12, so as you can imagine their life is busy! They waited to start this remodel until they got their kids out of the toddler stage. They felt like their kids were old enough to handle a few more delicate items, but they still wanted a home that was easy and comfy, a respite from their busy schedules.

How long had they lived in the house, and what condition was the space in?
Kellie: They had lived in the house for several years, but weren’t ready to start a big construction project while their kids were tiny. They did a significant remodel to the floorplan… knocking down walls, relocating the kitchen, updating all their bathrooms and adding a guest house. Paula had approached me to take on the job at the beginning of construction, but I thought she needed someone local to oversee the construction phase. I didn’t feel that my schedule was flexible enough to make regular flights up north to keep track of the job. They hired a Bay Area designer to guide Paula toward stone/tile showrooms and help with the construction administration. I joined the process in mid-construction and very quickly recruited Jenika to collaborate with me on the design.  

Did Jeff and Paula give you a lot of direction or particulars when it came to the design?
Jenika: Kellie had all of the particulars. I just remember we had a bit of pushback on the coffee table in the living room because the client thought the black might be a bit harsh. In the end we were able to convince him that it would be the perfect accent, and the thread that carried through to the dining room and up into the master bedroom.

Did any of your design decisions feel risky, and if so – did they pay off?
Jenika: We were a little hesitant before presenting the kitchen counter stools because they were definitely on the more funky/modern side, but luckily the client loved them! They’re the perfect complement to the classic backgrounds, they add a lot of personality to the space.

It obviously turned out beautifully, but we’d love to know about the reveal! What did the clients think when they saw their finished home?
Jenika: Because we were more than 300 miles away the clients did most of the legwork, sampling paint colors and ordering items, so we didn’t really have the big “reveal.” However, as each room came together we would get the best emails with photos and notes about how much they were loving everything.

 Kellie: Paula was the best at sending us videos as things were being installed!  And we definitely utilized FaceTime when we needed to troubleshoot a situation.  I went up there to shop and install the first round of accessories with Paula and she was just so completely gracious… loaning me her car to run around town, putting Jenika and I both up in the house during the photo shoot!  They’ve told us both how happy their home makes them! That’s the best compliment a client can give.