Before, During, AfterNov 11, 2019

Client Bu Round Two // Part 1

Written by Amber Lewis
Photographed by Tessa Neustadt

A couple years ago I received an email from a client who had just bought a very cute little beach side bungalow, on a large plot of land in Malibu. We were brought on to completely reimagine the home, and ultimately gear up to build a larger place, that ticked all the boxes the family needed. After lots and lots of work, we were all but ready to submit the drawings to the city for permits and I received a text from my client. It read something to the effect of… “I may or may not have went to look at a different house. I may or may not have put in an offer to buy said house, and I may or may not need you to come see this house ASAP so you can give me your blessing.” Luckily, I love these clients to death, so there was zero hesitation and the very next day I was at this new property. Hard to admit at first, but WOW it was perfect.

Besides being perfectly situated on over an acre of beachside flat land, the grounds were incredibly beautiful! Literally filled with mature avocado, lime, and lemon trees and had magic oozing from every square inch. The house itself had more charm in the closets that any newly built home I have seen in years. The whole place was magical, and every fiber in my being was standing on edge just drooling over all the possibilities. The bones of the house were already so beautiful, but just knowing how cool and trusting my clients are… I couldn’t wait to dive in and let free all the creative ideas I had brewing to turn this home in to the perfect place for this family to live out their days in.

Cut to a couple weeks later, they bought the house, and we immediately got to work. Although I do this with every project, I became way more obsessive than typical over every single detail and decision we made. From the architectural details, to the countertop selections, to customizing the inside and outside of all of the cabinetry, to picking floor stains…and quite literally going through hell to pick the PERFECT paint color on our plaster walls, you name it and we obsessed over it. I’ll dive into the details of each room below to really paint a picture. The goal for this home was to strike the perfect mix of lots of materials while maintaining a livable and laid back house.

Luckily we worked with the BEST team over at Jones Builder Group, who took all of our ideas and nailed the details. My truly epic design team, my ride or die photographer Tessa Neustadt and stylist CJ Sandgren worked hard to get it all photo ready for all to view. Now, because this project was a real beast… we’re breaking this up into Part 1 and Part 2. We’ll be sharing the second half of this house later this week, but without further ado….. I introduce you to Client Bu Round Two, Part 1!!!


It’s hard not to say this about every room in the house, but seriously this may be one of my favorites in the entire home. The mix of natural materials and the earthy tones of it all gives the kitchen a cozy vibe, even though the room is quite grand. Let’s start with the floors. We sourced crazy beautiful reclaimed French limestone, in order to give the room a bit of a “been there forever” rustic farmhouse vibe. You’ll see when we get to the rest of the home, we worked with the existing solid oak reclaimed wood flooring, so it felt important to select something a little different in here. Plus I knew immediately I wanted to build white oak cabinetry, so wood on wood, as much as I love it… I needed a departure. We complimented the rustic vibes of the limestone floors with a more modern European style solid oak cabinet with a v-groove detail. When choosing the countertops, we chose to use a different perimeter material on sink side, and use a brighter classic material for the center island and stove counter and backsplash. We chose a mix of Gris Catalan Limestone and Calacatta Marble, which paired together perfectly. We stuck to our go to unlacquered brass plumbing from my fave, Waterworks, used a stainless and brass accent Lacanche range… and added the MOST amazing pendant lighting in a gorgeous coppery brass finish. Quite literally the kitchen of my dreams.

Wall Paint Color // Custom Color in Roman Clay by Portola Paints

breakfast nook and family room

The kitchen, breakfast nook and family room was one big wing of the home that we broke up into three different areas. I get into some real detail in my book (coming out one year from now!!) about how to work with an open layout concept, and this is the perfect example!! We have two sitting sections: one for chillin’ and one for meals. This home is for two cool parents and their kid, so they just needed a cozy place for grub around a table and an open and airy spot for loungin’. I’d say this does the trick!

The real show stealer here…the custom made wicker banquette. Literally one of the most exciting parts was not only conceptualizing the idea, but designing and building alongside our vendor. Dudes, when this baby got installed, there may have been happy tears. It was love at first site!! I know you all are gonna ask me a million times where you can get one, but it’s not anything you can just buy. We worked with a guy who makes wicker, and was able to hand craft a custom design for us. He came to the house, measured, and templated, then remeasured.. until it was perfect. Lots of work and labor went into this piece. We also designed a leather cushion to sit atop the wicker seat. Morgan, my lead project designer on this job designed the most amazing table that is now part of the Shoppe line! Obviously, we called it the Morgan Dining Table, and is now available for purchase through Shoppe!! To say this entire home is customized to every degree… is putting it lightly. When I say everything was customized… I really do mean it!!

Wall Paint Color // Custom Color in Roman Clay by Portola Paints

shop kitchen, breakfast nook, family room

Morgan Dining Table

from $7,500

Georgina Sofa

from $6,800

Collins Bench

from $2,900

Double Bed Cover VII


White Glazed Jar


Shoppe Similar Pillows

from $195

entryway and living room

Now, let’s walk back towards the main entrance of the house for a few. This, folks, is the entryway of my dreams, probably yours as well, you just didn’t know it until now. It’s quite simply ridiculous!!! We wanted there to be a grandiose feeling when you entered, yet welcoming at the same time. The custom light fixture, the Vintage console, and the one of a kind fabric used to upholster the gorgeous sofa from England made for quite the jaw dropping mixing of elements. A few steps into the home and you see the Library, the powder room, the Dining and the Living Room… so all of these spaces had to jive, compliment each other, and never compete.

I mentioned before that we while the bones of the house were amazing, we really wanted to lighten the place up a bit. For example, the existing Living Room fireplace, while pretty, was a faux stone facade and felt a bit bulky for the space. We went ahead and rebuilt the whole surround and took the chimney straight to the ceiling.  I felt the fireplace had to be the focal point, because of the funky longer shape of the room. It ended up being a pretty damn cozy room in the end, full of earthy tones with punches of rust and camel. The goal was to encourage the clients to curl up on the sectional and light a fire! Speaking of the sectional, this right here is our brand new Made by Shoppe Grayson Sectional in Clay, paired with a vintage coffee table and our Sage Stools in COM fabric, also from Shoppe. We incorporated lots of vintage in this room… including a hundred year old apothecary cabinet that I still wish was mine, and vintage reupholstered shearling club chairs. In summary of this Entryway / Living Room moment, I love the bits of modern (hello entryway chandelier) mixed with traditional and vintage.

Entryway Wall Paint Color // Custom Color in Roman Clay by Portola Paints

Living Room Wall Paint Color // Custom Color in Roman Clay by Portola Paints 

shop entryway and living room

Grayson Sectional


X Base Dining Table

from $8,200

Vankar Woven Throw Espresso with Ivory Edge


Winters 90 Throw


Clouds Chunky Knit Throw


Condiment Plate


Shoppe Similar Pillows

from $195

dining room and bar

Oh man, this dining room is drool worthy! The art, the lighting, the chairs, the custom dining table, the fireplace, and the custom cabinetry… I really loved how this room came together and I can just imagine all the meals that will be had here. We designed what is now called the Simeon Dining Table (available to purchase through Shoppe!!), with curved edges to add a much needed softer shape in this space that paired perfectly with vintage Pierre Jeanneret chairs. The dark custom cabinetry gave the room a little extra mood and a whole lotta space to fill the #shelfie with collected treasures. From the Dining Room, you’re led to the bar, where we built custom cabinetry, a custom brass shelf and topped the counters with Calacatta Marble. I would not mind pouring up a drink in this bar all day, every day!

Wall Paint Color // Portola Paints – ‘Saint Sauvant’ in the Roman Clay Finish 

Bar Cabinetry Paint Color //  Custom Color by Portola Paints

shop dining room and bar

Simeon Dining Table

from $8,200

Stella Dining Chairs (Similar to Above)


Cafe Glass in Amber


Heirloom Board III Round


Heirloom Board II


powder rooms

These powder rooms were given lots and lots of love. We scoured the planet for the perfect reclaimed limestone for the sinks, vintage mirrors, and topped it all off with gorgeous Waterworks plumbing. We went darker and moodier is Powder Room #2, which I love to do… as you might have seen in a few other projects like here and here!!

Powder Room #1 Wall Paint Color // Custom Color in Roman Clay by Portola Paints

Powder Room #2 Wall Paint Color // ‘Maison’ in the Roman Clay Finish by Portola Paints

shop powder rooms


What can I even say about this library… when you step into it, you almost feel like you’re transported to another world. We opted for a change from the rest of the home and went with oak vs. plaster walls. The previous owner had painted over the oak, but when we sanded it down, we were pleasantly surprised to find this gorgeous white oak. Then, of course, we filled this #shelfie room with all of my client’s treasures, trinkets and books. I’d go to the bar, mix up a cocktail, and read all day if it were mine…. it’s the truth!

And there you have it… Part 1 of Client Bu Round Two!! This project is a big one, so we decided to break it into two. We’ll be back on Thursday with the other half of the house!!! Stay tuned and comment below with your thoughts!


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