Instead of moving, this family made smart changes to their Bay Area townhouse so they wouldn’t outgrow it
Now it fits their needs and improves their daily lives.
Homes can see us through different stages of our lives, and there’s something very special about being lucky enough to live in a home long enough for it to grow with you. A family of four living in a Bay Area townhouse were approaching the next chapter of their lives — Matt (who works at a tech company and DJs on the side) and Holly (a real estate attorney) had two elementary-school-aged boys who wanted to update their homes to fit their new needs. “They wanted a space that would allow them to take a deep breath from the hustle and bustle of life,” explains Ashley Macuga of Collected Interiors, which oversaw the project. “A place to relax and entertain with those they care about most. A place where their families can live comfortably – but can also be easily straightened and cleaned. An environment that reflects their interests and allows their children to be their beautiful, unique selves.”
The house was located in the hills of Silicon Valley and sandwiched between two other homes, so Ashley and his team were tasked with maximizing natural light from all angles and dealing with the fact that there was no room for any extras. It was built in the 1970s, poorly remodeled in the 1990s, sparsely touched up after that (new paint and mostly new carpet), and had a lot of carpet and linoleum. It definitely needed a major update.
But agreeing on the design wasn’t the easiest since Matt and Holly had different opinions on what they wanted – Matt likes understated simplicity, while Holly likes bright colours, texture and plants. Ashley created inspiration boards for the couple to help align everyone with their creative aesthetic. “From plumbing to furniture selections, we utilize panels as a checkpoint to ensure the design remains cohesive and consistent with the vision,” she says. “For some clients, matching inspiration boards is easy, but for others, it’s an opportunity for couples to express their individual design aspirations…and then we help bridge the gap.”
Once the design was decided on, it was time to get to work – one of the first big changes was saying goodbye to the lemon, olive and mustard walls that made the space look dark and replacing them with white paint. To add to the clean, bright paint palette, Ashley and his team replaced the carpeting with European white oak flooring which also gave some warmth and texture to the home. Modern lighting and custom cabinetry have also been installed throughout.
In the entryway, the dark front door was replaced and a credenza and floating mirror were added. “There’s nothing particularly special about the door itself, but it’s the way we plan the space that makes the difference,” Ashley says. “Previously, the door swung in the other direction (towards the stairs). It was also made of dark wood and had a Spanish Revival feel that didn’t look like a house. As a result, it never let in natural light and made it impossible to use the space in front of the stairs. By designing a glass door instead, we added a lot of light to the space… Additionally, it gave us the opportunity to create the finest entry areas into townhomes.”
The living room has an off-center fireplace which makes furniture planning difficult. The stove also became a place to store Lego pieces. They removed it, making room for entertainment and loitering.
To add more space to the kitchen without adding more square footage, Ashley and his team moved the oven to the attic and the washer and dryer to the garage. The window next to the kitchen sink was enlarged to add more light. They made the collection the focal point of the room, and added more storage with custom cabinets and floating shelves. Although the kitchen wasn’t wide enough for an island, the peninsula makes up for that, allowing the family to eat breakfast there and providing more counter space.
Ashley mixed woods in the dining room to create visual appeal and add texture and color — like the white oak dining table from Ethnicraft and the walnut dining room chairs from Croft House. But her favorite part of the room is the custom floating console. “I love adding natural rattan, which gives the space some much-needed texture,” she explains. “But most importantly, the console was just the right size to accommodate all of our client’s DJ equipment — and when his wife sent me a photo of him playing his music while entertaining guests — my heart exploded with pride. Our business is about more than pretty pillows, it’s about creating spaces Families and emotions flourish.
Finally, the boys’ room is designed to develop creativity and imagination. It was inspiration Where the wild things areA mural of Rebel Walls wallpaper helped set the scene. “Since kids are little inventors, we knew they needed desk space for their work, creativity and collectibles. This meant prioritizing a desk and bookcase rather than a dresser,” Ashley explains. “Our solution was to completely reimagine their closet – and use built-in items to maximize functionality. By adding clothing drawers, we reinforced the bottom of the closet (which kids typically use as a makeshift basket) – and eliminated the need for a dresser.”
Matt and Holly are very happy with the renovation – the space and their daily lives have completely changed for the better. “The renovation has completely transformed the feel, energy and use of our space to reflect our current and future vision for our family home,” they said. “Our kids were reaching elementary school age and it was a transitional time for everyone, so the new design helped us feel like we had upgraded our starter home to a more modern version that fit our new needs of older kids and adults without actually moving. The convenience of the design brought joy to our adult mornings, And the beauty and functionality make it so our kids really love using their spaces and sharing them with friends. We love, love, love our home!”