A Journey of Artful Revival

It turns out, an extraordinary life isn’t made by living in the perfect home with flawlessly hemmed drapery and pimped-out pillows, with custom trims and every tchotke in its place. If there is anything I’ve learned over the years of creating soulful environments, it’s that true joy comes when we design homes that invite our clients to relax so they can heal from life, connect with loved ones, and create from their hearts. Spaces designed around quality human-ing with features like open, down-to-earth kitchens and sanctuary-style bathrooms allow us to come home to ourselves, so we have more of a full self to serve from.

In this culture, we’ve been conditioned to always be on the move, get the next thing, create the next project, and earn the next accolade for our accomplishments. In reality, that gets exhausting over time. I know, because it’s the route I took for many years in my efforts to prove I was of value by becoming successful. When I add up the successes, my ego tells me I’ll be happy, but the joy is fleeting. But when I add up the memories of my own lived experience, snuggles with my dog Kiko, being tucked into bed every night by my beloved with magnesium butter foot rubs, watching Life of Pi with my daughter Jett, or making a pot of soup and having my friends over for Sunday night dinner – those are the successes my heart knows are true and genuine.

Custom-blown glass pendants and candles from Prospect In Mill Valley bring warmth to the kitchen island.

Custom-blown glass pendants, and candles from Prevalent Projects In Mill Valley bring warmth to the kitchen island. Photo by Mo Saito.

This leads me to the reason why the project I am showcasing with you this month filled my cup to overflowing, and what made it a true success. Besides sharing the same name with my client – Laura Jean – I knew we were a match made in heaven when we talked about her why for wanting to remodel her kitchen and bathroom. She loves to cook, and she loves to bathe. I don’t blame her. With the view of the Bay she has from the bathtub, I would make it a daily ritual.

Laura’s easy laughter, her genuine kindness and her openness to our ideas made her the ideal client for the LMBI team.

The request for the redesign of the kitchen and bathrooms was to achieve a simple elegance that mirrored the natural beauty that surrounds her home, and lives in her soul as an art appreciator and musician.

“Every moment in the spaces designed by LMB is more enjoyable! These beautiful spaces enhance the small moments while making it more likely for me to entertain and share meaningful moments with others in my home. I’m grateful on a daily basis for their talent and impacting my life in this way.” – Our client, Laura

This remodel was not just about reviving outdated spaces, but creating a down-to-earth home where our family-focused client could gather to entertain and enjoy family dinners with her sons and friends. 

Before and after of the kitchen’s sink wall.

Before and after of the kitchen’s sink wall. After photo by Mo Saito.

The task was entrusted to the capable hands of the talented contractor, Ryan Stone of Stone Home Building who carried the project through to the end with thoughtful details and a lot of personal attention. We’ve worked with Ryan on many projects and appreciated that he referred us to our client to assist in bringing her vision to life. Partnering with Ryan meant that every detail would be executed with integrity and attention. 

With a shared vision of blending contemporary comforts with the soul of a Mediterranean villa, our team set out to craft spaces that went with the rest of the home which had a great layout and beautiful bay-facing windows. The floors and walls were refreshed and the new kitchen and bathrooms gave it a much-needed lift.

Soulful Elements and Custom Craftsmanship

Since hand-crafted details are paramount to creating a soulful home,  it made sense that Ryan would bring on expert cabinet and furniture makers, Randall Wilson and Sons. They have a reputation for doing excellent work. Plus, Randall always brings us fresh eggs from his farm in Sebastopol and that gives him a special place in our hearts.

Before and after of the kitchen island. Our client’s peek-a-boo kitty propped up for the photoshoot. After photo by Mo Saito.

Randall Wilson’s exceptional craftsmanship really shone through in the kitchen. He created the cabinetry with a special feature: a cat shelf in the island to fulfill the desire of our client’s feline friend to be among the family in his secret spot. The thoughtful detail seamlessly blends functionality with aesthetics, reflecting our client’s love for her fur babies. 

A wine and kids’ drink refrigerator makes for a convenient refreshment station. After photo by Mo Saito.

We also transformed an untidy dumping counter that straddled the dining room and kitchen. This tricky spot was transformed into a coffee bar and a drinks station, bridging the adjoining dining room, and offering easy access and a dedicated space for the barista and bartender.

Deep drawers with plenty of storage and tile from Clé Tile. After photos by Kurt Manley.

It is my firm belief that nothing quite elevates a home like bench-made craftsmanship. Our designer Hannah Gipperich, worked closely with Randall in the master bathroom to make these custom, walnut cabinets which replaced an odd window that existed there before. These medicine cabinets designed by Hannah are especially beloved, and include electrical outlets for the toothbrushes. They not only provide functional storage, but also serve as a bespoke detail we would never have found off the shelf. Simple elegance our client appreciates.

The perfect spot for bathing ritual with a view of the Bay. After photo by Kurt Manley.

For the custom vanity in the primary bathroom, we designed a cabinet that stretches the full length of the room with deep storage and plenty of space to style candles and plants, an altar of sorts to bring a quiet peace into the bathroom while bathing and taking in the view. The weight of it brings a grounded, spacious feel, and opened the bathroom up to feel more like a room and less like an afterthought.

Sconces from Stickbulb with custom arched medicine cabinets designed by LMBI and built by Randall Wilson. Tile from Clé Tile. Photo by Kurt Manley.

In the boys’ bathroom, we embraced the use of handmade tiles, inspired by the age-old tradition of Mediterranean artistry, which adds depth and character to the space. We used a more modern palette with denim blue fish scale tile and handsome dark plumbing finishes for them.

The boy’s bathroom before and after. After photo by Kurt Manley.

See all photos from this project in our portfolio: Magnificent Rockridge Spanish Mediterranean

For those of you who are thinking about a remodeling project next year or if you are ready to upgrade your furnishings we are wrapping up on a couple of long-term projects and would love to talk with you! Click here to submit a new client inquiry if you have friends or family who are ready for us

We greatly appreciate this community and your generous referrals over the years. We wouldn’t be here without you!

By Laura Martin Bovard.