before and after

Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House

by Annie Werbler

Originally swathed in brown tones for an unconvincingly Tuscan ambience, this 2008 San Clemente, CA tract house was recently refreshed by designer Becki Owens in collaboration with Nicole Davis for an active family with six kids. Despite a drab “before” scheme, the home’s open floorplan can accommodate all eight residents together in its various expansive spaces. Owens’ goal was to transform the living, dining, and playroom areas from dark and dreary to bright and modern. She challenged herself to make each zone maximally functional for a large family while imbuing them with her own sophisticated sensibility, making the typical California tract home seem custom and unique. By mixing mid-century modern elements with global inspiration, the residence is now tightly tailored, but still practical and livable.

One of Owens’ signature design moves includes choosing beautiful lighting as eye candy to make strong statements in her spaces. She also recommends reimagining pieces in different finishes or with pretty hardware for a new look at a major cost savings. In Owens’ process, she often begins projects with a crisp coat of white paint. Layering on pops of color with rugs, textiles, furniture, and art, as she has done here, highlights positive architectural features such as wooden ceiling beams and arched windows β€”Β while downplaying overpowering elements like the small-scale, earthy tile floors. β€”Annie

Photography by Becki Owens

Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
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This San Clemente living room started out as a dark and Tuscan-feeling space. The goal was to transform it into a light, modern, and inviting place in which a large family could easily gather. A white wallcolor with no pigment sets the stage for sleek furniture and pops of pink.
Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
2/13
A Moroccan area rug from Stark Carpet is layered over the living room's tile floor to minimize the warm tones and add some soft texture, while a custom silk-velvet sofa and DWR round metal coffee tables provide hints of shine.
Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
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A vibrant sidetable vignette featuring diverse natural textures.
Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
4/13
Modern, eclectic inspiration for the home includes a mix of mid-century furnishings paired with global decor. The shaggy Moroccan rug anchors the room.
Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
5/13
The living room functions well for entertaining a family of eight, but still feels sophisticated with a modern edge. Abstract artwork over the fireplace acts as a dramatic focal point.
Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
6/13
View from the open living room into the kitchen, where oversized faceted pendants by Circa Lighting add drama.
Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
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The dining room was transformed by lightening the walls, refinishing an existing table, and adding architectural moldings. Owens enjoys the surprise of a modern brass Currey and Company chandelier in the otherwise neutral space.
Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
8/13
In the dining room, painting the existing buffet white and adding new brass hardware was all it took to refresh the practical piece. Classic DWR Wishbone dining chairs with white frames and natural seats pull from different finishes in the space.
Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
9/13
Pops of color and layered textures add personality to a once-bland playroom. The bold piece of Jenny Prinn artwork combined with brass accents brighten the entire space.
Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
10/13
A gallery wall of fun family photos adds a personal touch to the playroom.
Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
11/13
A light, shaggy carpet, paired with a metallic coffee table, echoes elements of the living room design.
Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
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Brass pendant fixtures from Visual Comfort provide light to the working desk and reading bench areas of the room.
Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House, on Design*Sponge
13/13
Detail of the decorative corner shelves that make use of vertical space above the built-in storage bench.

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Comments

  • It’s very nice, but where’s the TV now? It was pretty prominently featured in one of the before shots, but it sure would have been nice to see what kind of practical yet stylish solution a designer came up with for keeping it in the revamped rooms.

  • Were some of the ceiling beams added on? I don’t see them in the before picture, but they add so much architectural interest!

  • Incredible. I absolutely love what she did with this space. It went from drab and expected to bright and magazine-worthy! This totally makes me want to paint my whole house white.

  • This is nice, but may I just comment that I have seen too many over-exposed or whitewashed photos lately (these are also on a lot of wedding blogs). Sometimes the photographs really do detract from the actual details and quality of the design.

  • This is such a happy, pretty, fun house. I love how it is filled with light and that silk velvet sofa is a stunner!

  • The article mentions, “A white wallcolor with no pigment” so I infer from this that she used plain untinted white paint of the shelf.

    I have a transitional/ Hollywood Regency, aesthetic and could not decide on which of the bazillions of white paint options for my kitchen cabinets, doors, trims and baseboards and it was driving me nuts. In the end I chose untinted off the shelf white and it was the best decision I ever made. It is just a nice clean white and because there are no undertones; blue, purple, green, etc, it does not clash with anything and goes with everything!

    I wish I had the same luck when I was trying to choose a light gray wall color, lol.

  • Can I ask where you got the bronze faceted pendants? Circa lighting does not seem to have them listed.

  • What was/is the texture on the walls? We are wanting to paint our walls white but we have knockdown texture and we aren’t sure how that will look.

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