In a world of minimalism versus maximalism, designing a home that perfectly blends the character of an older build with the modern finishes of a newer build may seem like a challenge to most. Keeping the home’s original charm and character while finding modern finishes that bring a cohesive look rather than a hodgepodge of very clear new and old pieces that don’t go well together would be at the forefront of any designer’s mind when working on a home like this one. Amy Elbaum of AE Design had no problem finding this middle ground for this stunning Spanish-style home built in 1975.
Elbaum took inspiration from Instagram, Pinterest, and travel magazines, starting this project from scratch with no existing pieces or color scheme in mind outside of making the rest of the home cohesive with the existing terracotta floors. Working in modern finishes into the house’s existing Spanish style was a challenge that most designers can relate to - but it worked out beautifully on this project.
“My client wanted this home to feel modern yet in alignment with the Spanish style of the house,” Elbaum says. “We both were gravitating towards curves and arches and looked at a lot of Australian interior designers for inspiration.”
The gorgeous home features a stunning great room, updated bathrooms (one of which is ADA compliant), a breakfast nook in the kitchen, a reading nook in the great room, and an adorable children’s bedroom for the owner’s twin boys. Despite the home’s age, it didn’t need a significant amount of remodeling — only the kitchen, 3 bathrooms, and the great room were renovated.
My client wanted this home to feel modern yet in alignment with the Spanish style of the house.
Elbaum searched high and low for furniture and decor that were modern but still brought character to the home. Some of Elbaum’s favorite items in the house are the custom rust sofa, the family room's nesting tables, and the office's oversized chair. She also added the travertine slabs in the shower to this list of great additions to the home.
As humans we tend to stay on the safe side and stay away from things that scare us and designing homes is no different. There’s so much potential for things to go wrong, for pieces to be delayed, and for clients (or even ourselves) to be unhappy with the finished product.
Elbaum had to wait nearly a year for the range in the kitchen to arrive for this home but setbacks like that didn’t stop her from pushing forward and completing this incredible space. The best piece of design advice Elbaum ever received? It’s actually quite something and something you’d probably expect based on this blended design: don’t be afraid to take risks.
Elbaum took risks with designing this home and they paid off big time. Turning what was once a walk-in bar into a reading nook for the children of the house was a great way to convert the usage of a small space and give the children a presence in the great room that wouldn’t distract from the overall design of the space. What child wouldn’t want to sit down and enjoy a good book or a coloring section in a dedicated space like this?
The great room is clearly the show-stopper of the home. The clean, white walls and extra high ceilings make the room feel polished but not too sterile, thanks to the mix of comfy furniture — like this white tub chair — in complementary colors and light wood flooring throughout the space. Even the light fixtures are modern but still bring an air of comfort to the room.
What is a Great Room?
A great room is one large space that serves multiple purposes, like a family room, living room, and dining room rolled into one. Great rooms are very popular in open-concept homes and are often placed right next to the kitchen for easy access.
“My style is clean and contemporary but inviting and warm,” she says. “I wouldn’t say I have a particular look as I am always trying to create something new and unique and continue to grow as a designer.”
Ultimately, Elbaum’s style and vision flourished and produced a beautifully modern and historically classic home for her client. “ My favorite thing about this space is how we worked in modern finishes while keeping true to the Spanish style of the house,” she says. “It was sometimes like walking a fine line but I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.