Spring has sprung—and does anything make you happier? I can’t think of anything better than getting out our cute clothes (I mean, have you seen Hazel in a sunhat?), dusting off our patio furniture,...
Sourcebook: The 11th Street Retreat Entryway, Living Room, Kitchen & Dining Room
When I’m thinking of kitchen design ideas, or living room design ideas – or even dining area design ideas – I can’t help but think back to my very first construction project. The 11th Street Retreat is the first house I ever built, and it presented my first opportunity to really think about design and construction. And since we lived here for a long time and spent years building this house, a lot of design lessons were learned here. Seriously though, how am I supposed to put what turned into years of design decisions into a single blog post?! Ha!
But okay, I’ll try. Let’s start in the same place I started with the architect, when Brett and I decided to build this house in 2010. The first meeting went a little something like this… Jasmine to the architect, “Right, so we don’t want any walls and we want as much natural light as possible.” Architect to Jasmine, “You realize that means we’re going to have to use structural steel strong walls and this is going to be much more expensive.” Jasmine back to the architect “??????.”
The 11th Street Retreat Sourcebook, Part 2: The Entryway, Living Room, Dining Room & Kitchen
So yeah, Brett and I were naive to say the least when we went into that first architectural meeting. His brother lived right up the street in a house that was built on the same size lot, so we had a good idea of how we would change the floor plan, but we had no idea how that translated in the construction world. By opening up the entire first floor, we did something that builders in our area hadn’t done yet and actually set the standard for houses built after ours. It was expensive, but so worth it. And so began the story of our California Cape Cod in Huntington Beach.
Once we had the floor plan figured out, we started laying out the furniture. Having the LaCantina Doors that open to the front patio means that the living room seamlessly becomes part of the exterior, which being in California, we used a lot. The doors were open, the fire pit was cranking, the music was playing and life was good.
The entry in this house is pretty nonexistent, but I decided to use the little space between the front door and the coat closet in the most efficient manner possible.
I searched high and low for the perfect little piece of furniture that would fit between these two doors and came up empty handed. I had all but given up when I walked out of the garage one day to see the church behind our house was having a rummage sale. Always the junker, I couldn’t help but walk over to take a look. There, sitting in the sun was the PERFECT SIZE LITTLE DRESSER! I took it home, sanded it down, stained it, and added some Anthropologie knobs. After finishing we named it “the lords chest,” and it lived happily in our entry from then on.
The Living Room
For our living room, we bought a custom couch from Urbanism Furniture in Costa Mesa, CA. I installed this DIY rope wall so we could have a bit of “separation of space” while still being able to see through the whole main floor. It’s definitely something people asked about every time I had new visitors!
We really wanted to use a vintage mantle for the fireplace, but because of California building codes we had to install a gas firebox and we couldn’t find a mantle that had the proper dimensions of non-combustible material. So we ended up commissioning a custom one. This “new-vintage” mantle was made by local artist and craftsperson Heather Roth.
My own house was no exception for one of my favorite design rules: add a plant! But in this case, I added several.
This leather chair, which sat right next to the LaCantina doors that opened to our front patio, has really special memories. Since Hazel was born during the COVID pandemic, none of our friends and family could come inside to see or meet her. But we’d sit with her in this chair, inside the living room, and our loved ones would sit far out on the patio with the sliding doors open. It was the next best thing, and I’ll always remember that time.
The Dining Area
For our dining room, we went with an oversized farm table and metal serving cart. Since the cart was on wheels and the farm table had felt on the bottom, I switched this furniture setup regularly.
Sometimes the table would run the length of the room, sometimes it would come perpendicular off the wall. Either way, this room is all about food, friends, family, and fun.
One of my favorite parts of this home is the bar seating between the kitchen and the dining room. These seats are perfect to tie these two spaces together and if you’ve been to our house, you’ve sat in these stools. Believe it or not, these stools are the Ingolf from IKEA and I painted them “Courtyard Green” by Dunn Edwards (DEC776). Then I added these fun hooks from Anthropologie between each seat for guests to hang their purses from.
One of the main reasons Brett and I decided to build a house (instead of remodeling or buying something that was turnkey) was the kitchen. We love entertaining and knew that our dream kitchen would get used a ton. Designing our dream kitchen was not only an amazing opportunity, but as anyone knows whose had the chance, it’s an overwhelming task. There are SO MANY OPTIONS when it comes to kitchen design.
We knew we wanted the kitchen to be bright, timeless, functional and welcoming. At the time, kitchens this bright weren’t really in style (most builders were putting in brown or gray cabinets and granite countertops) so this kitchen was, if I dare say, a little ahead of its time. We chose cabinets with a beadboard detail, industrial handles that we used on both the drawers and the doors, and took a leap of faith and installed a butcher block island.
One of the early “mistakes” I’d say I made in this house was installing marble countertops and waiting years to UV coat them. To my own credit, I didn’t know about UV coating when we first installed these. And we spent years chasing guests around with coasters so we wouldn’t damage the marble. Then I eventually discovered that you can treat marble with a UV coating, which seals it from damage. Now I do it with all my projects that have marble countertops!
One of the best things about this kitchen’s layout was that if you were in here cooking, you could see right into the dining, living, and even patio space. It was great for entertaining!
Here you can see, in the background, how our courtyard patio connected to the kitchen. This was a great layout flow for BBQing or entertaining in a space other than inside or the front patio.
Our Viking Range got a LOT of use and love while we lived here!
At the end of the day, this kitchen served us so well!