A Tailored Homecoming – San Diego Union-Tribune
Sometimes the old adage “You can’t go home again” isn’t true. At least that was the case for Jeff Holman. The former investment banker, now an assistant professor at UC San Diego, grew up in East County before moving to New York City and then the Bay Area. At that time, he married his wife Patricia, a partner at Deloitte, and they had three children, the eldest of whom is now 17 years old.
In 2019, the investment fund he was managing closed and the couple realized they could live anywhere. Ten years ago, while still living in Manhattan, they bought a 1,900-square-foot house in Windance and decided it was a good time to move back to San Diego to live there.
Like other homes in the neighborhood, the house the Holmans bought was a 1950s-era ranch-style home.
“One neighbor told us it was a model house — she remembers as a little girl marveling at the house being brought in on a truck! Some of the brick foundations seemed to support that idea, but as a result the house wasn’t built to the same standards as some of the contemporary homes in the neighborhood,” Holman explained. By architect Thomas Shepherd.
It was also much smaller than what they were used to.
“We love the area. “There’s family in town,” he said. “But we went from 4,000 square feet in the Bay Area to less than half that here.”
Once the couple decided the house needed to expand for their family of five, they found architect Christian Reiss through a local builder, who said Reiss’s designs and plans were always thoughtful, thorough, and had an aesthetic that matched their designs and plans.
“We love certain aspects of mid-century architecture — the long lines, the wide windows — and we wanted to create something that, although modern, would incorporate elements from when the neighborhood was founded,” Holman said. “We found our inspiration online in the Hamptons, not too far from where we spent summers when we lived in Manhattan. This house has many vertical openings and cane elements that filtered into our design. We loved the way it softened The elements have the rigidity of a modern box without adding additional decorative structures.
Holman explained that he and Patricia wanted four main things:
- An integrated internal and external life
- Both formal living spaces downstairs and informal living spaces upstairs
- An oversized breakfast nook can host family meals and provide study space
- Gorgeous ocean views from Windansea
According to Rice, the renovation process began in late 2021 and was completed about a year later, during which time the family was able to rent a house two doors down the street. The project includes renovating the entire existing area, including a 111-square-foot addition to the first floor and a new 1,970-square-foot second floor, as well as a new deck, he said. It now has five bedrooms, a small office for Patricia on the first floor, and 5 bathrooms. Four bedrooms and bathrooms are located upstairs, as well as a cozy family room. The first floor has bright, spacious spaces that are perfect for Patricia to host large business networking events.
Rice mostly retained the home’s L-shaped footprint, which helped the couple avoid the costly and time-consuming process of a full coastal revision. But adding the new second floor necessitated designing an entirely new structure, Rice said.
The design he created for the family couldn’t be further from the original brick and wood house. From the street, it has a strong contemporary aesthetic with lots of glass and far-reaching vertical lines topped by a flat roofline and a mixed material palette.
“The exterior includes a mix of Trespa composite wood siding, Geolam hybrid wood louvers, stucco, anodized aluminum doors and windows, numerous aluminum and cement siding, and stone tile accents,” Rice said. “While the house has a very simple massing with the stacked front fascia and flat roof, the exterior materials bring life to the house and bring a wonderful sense of warmth and elegance to the design.”
Gone are the cluster of small rooms and low ceilings inside. The public spaces downstairs are open and airy, thanks to large windows and door openings, as well as high ceilings. The second story now provides the family with the ocean views they craved, as does the third-story deck. There are plenty of spaces for family gatherings but also to give teens places to hang out with their friends, whether by the new pool and outdoor dining area, in the second-floor family room, or on the deck above.
Interior designer Alicia Gonick of South Harlow married Rice’s architectural design with furnishings that catered to the Holman lifestyle.
“South Harlow was a pivotal member of the project team,” Rice said. “They were involved in early design meetings. Owner Erica Gervin and her team took our basic drawings of the interior elevations and added details and materials to further refine them to bring the owners’ vision to life.
It was important to Gonick to keep the larger pieces in the home neutral, starting with the Provenza Tresor Rondo engineered white oak floors throughout much of the house, then adding color on the outside, a statement piece or a piece of art.
“This keeps the design really timeless and then you can grow and evolve with it,” she explained.
She keeps the materials sturdy for the small family, which now also includes a dog to care for.
“So, we chose a lot of indoor/outdoor fabrics,” Gonick said. “For a banquet where they’re eating, this vinyl looks like leather and wears really nicely. Kids can get over it if they want to. So just being aware of things like that I think is helpful for achieving the look but also, more importantly, the function.”
This banquet is a feature the Holmans are passionate about. They wanted plenty of seating space for the family to eat meals together, for the kids to do their homework, and to host their friends. The 79-inch by 69.5-inch Luna Leather quartzite table top from Amazon Stones and the banquette, made by Andrew Morgan, were able to accommodate 16 girls on their daughter’s sports team, Holman noted.
Gonick designed plenty of storage space in the kitchen, including an appliance garage at one end of the back counter because, as Holman said, “We didn’t really want any appliances on the counter at all.” They’ve placed their Wolf toaster oven on the counter, but the rest of the space is clutter-free. White oak cabinetry runs the length of the kitchen, topped with oak paneling at the ceiling, and includes panels above the hood, a SubZero refrigerator, and a Miele dishwasher. The kitchen also includes a 48-inch Wolf range. It’s across from the spacious island, stands more than 8 feet tall, and is topped with a linear pendant light from Visual Comfort. The countertops are Brazilian Taj Mahal quartzite from Arizona Tile.
Directly behind the kitchen is an outdoor dining and entertaining area.
“Our main goal is to take what’s happening inside and make sure it carries and translates well to the outside. So, we chose materials that would highlight the architecture that Christians designed,” said Gonick. “We used the same countertop material that we used in the kitchen. And then we chose this really beautiful limestone to put on the fireplace because it was simple and quiet, but the texture is really nice and gives some dimension in there. The tile we chose for the backsplash of the grill area is dark because it seemed like a nice juxtaposition to the house. And I like it to be semi-gloss, so you get a little bit of shine.
Gonick extended the dark theme to the furnishings, including two Sherwood charcoal outdoor sofas on either side of a massive Otero concrete rectangular coffee table—all from Four Hands, a Wyton outdoor dining table also from Four Hands, and 10 Zina dining chairs from Article. Beyond is a small artificial turf play area that abuts a pool large enough for the kids to play a game of water polo and enjoy a little spa time afterwards. The pool area frames the view from the rest of the kitchen and dining area.
There, Gonick kept his look elegant and simple. She chose a Walsh table made of ash with a charcoal stain to seat 10 with Aya dining chairs from Four Hands. On the wall is a black steel metro console from Noir accented by a small mushroom-like Rohe table lamp in walnut and brushed nickel from CB2. Above is a brass gold organic mirror from the Irregular Mirrors Collection by Ethnik Living.
The dining room flows around the house in an L-shape into the living room, which is anchored by a custom wool rug cut to 18.5 feet by 15 feet. On it sits a 5-foot ebony coffee table, designed by Eric Ruby at Refinite Woodworking. It is surrounded by a spacious Room & Board section with two Matra Camel Velvet lounge chairs from CB2 opposite it. In the corner, Gonick designed a fireplace that features the same Taj Mahal tile and white oak found in the kitchen, with two doors revealing a TV.
The Holman family has found that their new home is a good life for them. Their favorite elements are the breakfast nook and the unexpected pleasure of capturing views of the surf set from the upstairs living room and rooftop deck. But that’s just part of what they gain.
“Work events, kids’ pool parties, and barbecues at least weekly,” Holman said. “The feeling of an airy space and sunlight everywhere gives a sense of peace in the house. Plus, no one will have to share a bathroom with our fourth-grader anymore.” !
Golden is a freelance writer and blogger in San Diego.