Before & After: A San Clemente Tuscan Tract House

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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 — while downplaying overpowering elements like the small-scale, earthy tile floors. —Annie

Photography by Becki Owens

  1. Lisa S. says:

    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.

    1. Jacqueline says:

      There’s a huge TV in the 2/13 photo, over a white console.

  2. Jennifer says:

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

  3. alexis says:

    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.

  4. Carly says:

    White rugs and chairs and 6 kids? Good luck.

  5. Jessica says:

    Is this house in Tuscany or California?

  6. Amy says:

    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.

    1. luna17 says:


  7. Maja says:

    I love the makeover! :)
    x M.

  8. liz says:

    We need a tutorial on HOW that limed that dining table! Love that transformation!

  9. Mary Beth says:

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

  10. Cristina says:

    What color white was used for the walls? I love it!

  11. adrienne says:

    Curious as to what paint color she used on the walls.
    Is there a way to find out?

  12. Lauren says:

    This is beautiful — and it gives me hope of what may be out inevitable move to the Houston suburbs.

  13. Lenore says:

    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.

  14. Augusta says:

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


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