Creating a Retreat at Home (with Inspiration from John Wheatman)

I have a not-so-secret desire to live in a commune on a compound. This house, a full stripped-to-the-bones and built-back-up ’80s Rancher in Lafayette, conjures that feeling tone. Situated on a quiet street, backed up to a hill, with a meadow-like yard, the remodel included a spacious back deck, open plan kitchen/breakfast/den, formal dining and living rooms, two fireplaces, multiple glass doors leading to the outside from nearly every room, and a welcoming ADU with full kitchen where homeowners and guests can hang out, do work, practice yoga, spend the night.

Family Room Interior Design, fireplace, by LMB Interiors

A family room that beckons, with views to outside, a fireplace, and a swing-arm/hide-away wall-mount TV.

Everybody knows, even married couples who love each other need a break once in a while, and having a separate studio available when you need your alone time is a great feature.

As well as being able to return to a big house when you are ready to be together, with a kitchen and island ideal for cooking a big meal for family and friends.

Kitchen remodel and interior design, ranch-style home, Lafayette, by LMB Interiors

This central, spacious kitchen is the true heart of this welcoming home.

This is the kind of house you could literally hang out in all the time for weeks and not want to leave, with so many different zones; the master suite with spa-like bathroom, the open-plan entertainment area, an upstairs bonus media/exercise room.

Breakfast nook interior design Lafayette, by LMB Interiors

The breakfast area is adjacent to the kitchen, part of a capacious great-room open-plan layout.

Because the main living area overlooks the backyard and hillside behind, we maintained an indoor outdoor-feeling by bringing in “50 shades of taupe.” I am joking, but the palette is definitely earth-inspired. This client grew up in Marin; she loves this earthiness. The art really stands out against the neutrals.

Many pieces were curated by SLATE Art Consulting and Gallery in Oakland. Check them out if you haven’t already — tell Danielle I sent you! Or let us know when you are going and my team will be happy to make an introduction. If you would like our help developing your art collection, we are here for you also.

This client’s pieces are a perfect mash-up of high-and-low, as the more prestigious paintings are mixed in with antiques collected at the Alameda Flea Market, pottery by Sara Paloma and Erin McGuiness, and smaller art pieces from Simon Breitbard.

Knowing when to invest in quality pieces, and how to balance that with softer-on-the-budget selections, is one of my firm’s specialties.

Master Suite bathroom remodel and interior design, ranch-style home, Lafayette, by LMB Interiors

Master suite spa-like bathroom with French door to a small, high-fenced, private garden area outside.

If you are a fan of interior design, you may notice the influence of famed local designer, John Wheatman, who could be said to be the design patron saint of this project.

Wheatman designed for this client’s mother’s home, the one she grew up in, and he was an early and profound mentor for me in my design career. This client and I bonded over our love of his work (in addition to bonding over our mutual loves of cooking, especially fermenting vegetables, personal growth, and entertaining).

You may notice Wheatman’s inspiration in our strategic use of black and brown in each room, our emphasis on shape and the relationships between shapes, and our combination of modernist furnishings and antique artifacts that reflect Asian cultures — which also reflect the client’s Buddhist meditation practice.

master suite interior design by LMB Interiors

A serene master bedroom for contemplation, meditation, and rest

This project was absolutely a collaboration:

Construction by: Mascheroni
Architecture by: Debbi Peterson
Painting by: Arana Craftsman Painters


View more photos of this project, and a video, on our portfolio: Elegant Modern Lafayette Ranch-Style Remodel.

A version of this article appeared in the Piedmont Post.

Photo Credits:

All photos by Eric Rorer

Leave A Comment

Laura Martin Bovard

Join our tribe! LMB Interiors

We love sharing our insights, passion and expertise with those who crave heart-centered design. Please join us!