When Blackband Design began renovations on a stylish young family’s home in the O.C., it had one objective: “Take the home in a more modern, coastal direction,” states designer Wendy Blackband. Infusing the family’s cool, laid-back sense of style with Blackband’s signature “coastal bohemian” aesthetic, they created a bright, happy space that showcases a textural mix of furniture, décor, and art. Blackband and team remodeled the entire main floor, striking a beautiful balance between the easy flow of an open layout and distinct spaces with individual identities. The end result is a breezy home with a modern twist. Ahead, see this seaside home transform from dark wooden tones to a fresh take on oceanic blue and bright white.
Central to the modern coastal direction was refreshing the open layout with a bright white backdrop and implementing a more fluid use of space for entertaining. Prior to renovating, the home was covered in dark wood paneling, with cherry cabinets and dark green granite in the kitchen. One of the biggest transformative elements? Bright white paint, which created an immediate impact. “The space instantly felt bigger and more inviting,” Blackband says. “Using a cool, crisp white served as the perfect backdrop for bringing in colour with saturated hues that packed a big punch.”
A focal point of the main floor, Blackband wanted the bar to make a big statement. In fact, conceptualising the bar was a defining moment in the design process, starting with a patterned tile that inspired a blue-and-white colour story for the home. “We instantly fell in love with this hand-stamped marble Carrara tile that had a cool modern Mediterranean vibe,” says Blackband.
A smoky blue glass top adds depth and an element of drama to the final look, with light, layered accessories to play off the levels of blue. Even the texture on the wall behind the bar resembles white sand, making this the kind of bar we’d love to walk (or swim) up to any day.
Given the home’s location in a surfing community, the beach and the ocean played prominently into the final design. Driftwood sculptures and coral textures evoke sandy beaches, while indigos and watery blues nod to a life aquatic. “One of our favourite vignettes in the home was the dining room,” shares Blackband. “The ripple of the water is so serene. Who wouldn’t want to come home to that?”
Using levels of blue as the connective thread throughout the home, Blackband paid particular attention to indigo as way of adding high contrast to white spaces, adding richer tones to complement other watery blues in furniture, accessories, and art.
Expertly mixing modern and vintage pieces, Blackband juxtaposed a clean, polished, bright space with textural and well-travelled décor. “We love contrast that complements with light and dark, vintage and new, mixing smooth and rough surfaces, and contrasting fabrics like pairing linen and leather,” she says.
In the living room, the designer incorporated warm neutral tones in furniture and accessories to balance the cool shades of blue and white adorning the walls. Tans, taupes, and well-placed pops of orange add personality to a relaxing space for socialising, complete with almost 360 degrees of seating and the ability to get cosy and comfortable by the fire for chilly SoCal nights. Two vintage batik chairs add a lived-in appeal to the seating area, found by the client at a California boutique prior to the renovation.
Throughout the home, Blackband found ways to add unique finishing touches to each living space, including using African beads to add cultural flair to lamps and vases. “They are a great way to layer in tones and colours of the sea,” notes Blackband.
Combining family heirlooms, vintage flea market finds, and modern sculptural shapes, Blackband curated eclectic décor to showcase the personal tastes of the family in a way that looks both purposeful and collected. “You don’t want your home to look like you just stepped into a catalogue, which is why we take our time in finding, sourcing, and collecting the right pieces for each individual space,” she says.
For the grand entrance to the home, Blackband and team created symmetry to frame the steps to the main floor, which feature the same tile as the bar. The entry vignettes are cool and calming, setting the tone for coastal vibes in the rest of the home. As they reintroduced wooden elements in the renovated space, Blackband and team mixed wood textures and tones, particularly more natural shades. “We love layering in reclaimed woods and driftwood elements reminiscent of the sea.”
One of Blackband’s favourite spots is the sitting area, where rattan string chairs overlook the ocean. “The contrast of the blue artwork against the vintage orange fabric on the pillow helped create a calm and relaxing place to take in the coastal sunsets,” she muses.
Having started their interiors business 14 years ago, Blackband and her husband, Greg, always abide by a philosophy of connecting with a client’s personal style. “When our clients walk in the door of their home, we want them to instantly feel joy,” she states. “We want them to walk in surrounded by a home that truly represents them.”