Tour a Bright, Coastal Home With Traditional Bones
Despite all efforts to keep our spaces looking fresh and current (let's be honest—bad trends happen to good people), time has a way of impacting our style, and after a while, the inevitable happens. It looks dated. Thankfully, just a few simple tweaks can transport it back to the modern day, and that's just what Ashley Ausland, principal designer of Ausland Interiors, did with this 1980s-style home. While it had been given a makeover in the early 2000s, the dark wood cabinetry and granite counters of that era felt tired and outdated.
Homeowners Lauren Cooke and Chris Tucker ("a cute young couple with no kids, who work hard and are living the good life on the beach") wanted to highlight the great architectural features of the home such as the pitched wood ceiling, brick fireplace, and abundance of natural light while keeping the traditional bones intact. "I also wanted to help them reuse many of their former pieces and elevate them with new 'grown-up' pieces," Ausland explained. "This was their second home, and we wanted it to feel more like 'adulting.'"
Ahead, Ausland outlines her style notes and design details for each room in the house. Think coastal cool with a classic twist.
In order to bring the 1980s home into the present day, Ausland made some major renovations. "Every surface was touched," she said. This meant new flooring throughout, fresh paint (including all cabinetry), new stair railing, new counters, tiles, electrical, and fixtures. "We made the impact through changing the materials while leaving the existing elements in their place," she said. "It's a great way to save some money but still make it personal. The first phase was the interior, and once they recoup some money, we are going to change the windows and paint the exterior."
Architecturally, Ausland loved the high ceilings and brick fireplace. "We turned a very common, very basic, and very uninteresting tall and skinny house into a bright, yet cozy home that stands out from the hundreds of others that surround it," she said. "At night when you drive down their street and look up, the house glows from the inside out and stands out from the neighbors. It's such a beautiful sight. I will purposely drive down their street on my way home just to get a glimpse."
Working within the original architecture was one thing, but Ausland also kept many of the client's previous furniture, using several amazing pieces with the new. "She had a sectional that was perfect for her last residence but didn't work well for the new family room, so in order to save some money we detached the pieces and used them separately," explained Ausland. "My client also had the most amazing collection of vintage rugs (family room, hallway, entry, and kitchen) that look amazing against the white walls. We also had her grandmother's occasional chair reupholstered in a cute stripe fabric, and it now sits in the master bedroom corner."
When it comes to the color scheme, there was only ever one choice. "My client wanted a bright and white house, so we gave her exactly that," said Ausland. "She already had so many awesome furniture pieces and accessories that were waiting to be showcased in the right light. With white walls and ceilings, we were able to highlight the furnishings and textures while hiding the less desirable architectural features."
Ausland's eclectic style was put into action while styling the kitchen "shelfies." Here she wanted to combine natural materials with the client's love of quirky details like the cute Jonathan Adler Mr & Mrs salt and pepper shakers. "My client was a dream to work with, and we became friends through the process," said Ausland. "She has an insane amount of style, and I trusted her opinion and taste level. She came to the table with so many great ideas and furniture pieces and was totally instrumental in making the vision come to life. We were a great team and she saved a lot of money by being very resourceful and trusting of my advice. Throughout their life together, my clients have curated an amazing collection of unique and personal pieces, and it was so wonderful putting them all together."
The biggest challenge for Ausland was ensuring all the unique architectural transitions (raised dining room/kitchen floor, ceiling transitions from kitchen to the hallway, railway separating living and dining, double-story entry ceiling) had a sense of cohesion and didn't feel trendy. "I designed the railing to be simple and horizontal so to draw less attention to the lines (we will attach plexiglass once they begin having children to keep it safe)," she said. Ausland wanted to make sure the scales all "made sense" within the intersecting high and low volumes of the house.
"For example, the line of sight from the living room into the dining room is looking up at the underside of the dining table, so thinking about the dining chairs and table legs was a factor," she explained. "Another example is how the dining chandelier is in the line of sight from the kitchen to the living room, so making it feel special was important while keeping it simple and un-obstructive. All the areas needed to tie together while not looking to 'matchy-matchy.'"
The vintage rugs are one of our favorite elements throughout the home, and Ausland says they're all from one place. Shh… It's an insider secret. "All the Persian rugs (living room, entryway, kitchen, hallway, and master bedroom) are from Hoss Oriental Rugs in Tulsa," she said. "There's basically nothing on his website. You have to shop in person. Hoss is this little old man who immigrated here from Iran in '79. He has literally thousands of authentic rugs at great prices (especially compared to L.A.) and is crazy knowledgeable." You read it here first.
The powder room really epitomizes that traditional vibe with classic cupboards, wallpaper, and matching sconce lights. But the coastal twist is in the Serena & Lily bamboo round mirror and oval mat. Such a unique mix you'd never think to work on paper, but it totally stands up #IRL.
Ausland's style is an eclectic blend of coastal, classic, eclectic, and modern, which she infused effortlessly into the home's interior design. "I love the timelessness of traditional elements paired with the brightness of coastal design, then mixing in one-of-a-kind pieces and textiles to create warmth and uniqueness. The simplicity of beautiful architecture creates the perfect foundation to build on."
Noir CFC Sweden Bench (price upon request)
While there are so many elements she adores, there's one that takes precedence. "The artworks are the greatest treasures of this home," she said. "Every room adds a unique piece that is personal to my clients. She found a bunch of her grandfather's art, and I was thrilled when I saw how amazing it was. Lovely watercolors of beach landscapes, boats, and florals. We had them custom framed and put many of his pieces throughout the house."
Ausland started working with this client several years ago, and they made plans to remodel their tiny beach bungalow to make it a larger place where they could someday welcome kids. But after many months of planning and dreaming, they decided not to build after all. "It was a blessing in disguise," said Ausland. "The footprint was small and only allowed so much change. They began house hunting, and we found several prospects. When she told me about this house, I couldn't believe that this was the one she had chosen. She always said she didn't want a tall and skinny. But it turned out to be such an amazing property for them. The transformation is exactly what she wanted, and I am so happy that after the long, stressful, expensive road of remodeling they are loving the space in the new pad and finally feeling settled."