An open kitchen, dining and living space emphasizes clean design and communal living. PHOTO COURTESY OF JACKSON DESIGN & REMODELING
Jackson Design & Remodeling preserved the character of this classic 1958 La Jolla ranch while implementing a clean, open and contemporary design.
Bi-fold windows in the kitchen open to an outdoor counter PHOTO COURTESY OF JACKSON DESIGN & REMODELING
“I love to create homes that are timeless but still warm and livable,” says Jen Pinto, senior interior designer at San Diego-based Jackson Design & Remodeling (jacksondesignandremodeling.com)—whose clients came to her in 2018 looking to remodel their existing property. “Once they started discussing their wish list items, it turned out they were ultimately not happy with their current home,” she says of the two doctors with young children, who purchased a classic 1958 La Jolla ranch. “The new house was an older home, a midcentury-style ranch house tucked in a quiet street where they could envision their kids growing up. It needed a lot of work but they wanted to make this their forever home.”
A sliding pocket door system connects the spacious living room—with Douglas fir wood beams on its soaring ceiling—to the backyard. PHOTO COURTESY OF JACKSON DESIGN & REMODELING
The single-level, five-bedroom, five-bathroom property felt to Pinto like a “time capsule,” but she appreciated its history. “Much of the house hadn’t been touched in decades, and seeing wallpaper, tile and materials like real terrazzo was absolutely incredible,” she says of the outdated space, which had low ceilings; dark, closed-off rooms; a small kitchen; and a carport rather than a garage. “The style was very midcentury in a classic sense, not by any means modern midcentury.” They envisioned a more contemporary version of midcentury architecture, with a big open living room connecting to the kitchen and backyard. Notes Arnold Garza, residential designer at Jackson Design & Remodeling, “The primary goals were to create a comfortable home for their family, with enough space and amenities for their active lifestyle and entertaining.”
The primary bedroom boasts large windows and a dramatic corner fireplace PHOTO COURTESY OF JACKSON DESIGN & REMODELING
In 2019, the team went to work, raising the ceilings (to better accommodate the over-6-foot-tall husband) and transforming the series of smaller rooms into a large open kitchen, dining and living space. “The home was dramatically opened up with an emphasis on clean, clutter-free design and a connection to indoor-outdoor living,” says Garza. Bi-fold windows in the kitchen open to an outdoor counter, and a sliding pocket door system connects the living room to the backyard. “The clients are now able to interact with their guests, hand them food or drinks, and easily watch their children play with friends outside,” Pinto says.
A pink terrazzo countertop in the primary bath honors midcentury design and the original home. PHOTO COURTESY OF JACKSON DESIGN & REMODELING
A fireplace is now the focal point of the new living room, which features Douglas fir wood beams on its soaring ceiling, and in the kitchen, an extra-large island and Miele appliances make cooking and entertaining a breeze. Sherwin-Williams Pearly White paint coats the walls, and they toned down the color palette of the cabinetry to create an earthy, California feel. “You normally see warmer wood tones in midcentury design, like deeper walnuts or oak, but in this case, we went with a quarter-sawn oak in a frost stain that gives it a sandy, gray-toned finish,” says Pinto, who mixed shaker-style doors with softer flat ones. “Some elements of the home could be referred to as modern farmhouse or modern ranch style, but with elements of midcentury.”
The pool was relocated to create more space for entertaining. PHOTO COURTESY OF JACKSON DESIGN & REMODELING
Function was equally important. Tile flooring prevents spills when running inside from the pool—with some areas heated, as tile tends to be cold. Smart audiovisual systems allow for the central control of lighting, music and motorized shades. The island includes a vacuum vent for easy sweeping, and a mudroom off the foyer keeps the family organized. The house was also divided into two wings, one with the bedrooms and en suite bathrooms, and the other with the “utility” spaces: the laundry room, a kids playroom and a pool bathroom.
Large glass doors and windows continue through the bedrooms, which all received an update. “They wanted their children to have enough space in their bedrooms so they can grow in the house,” Pinto says. A blue boys bathroom features a concrete floor with curved metal seams and exposed blue aggregate, and in the primary bath, the pink terrazzo countertop honors midcentury design and the original home. “The wife had seen images on Instagram of pink tiles and pink terrazzo and we ran with it,” says Pinto. “The original master bathroom was also pink, so this was really a cool way of updating it in a modern way.”
Terrazzo flooring greets guests in the entryway, and outside, the exterior of the home received a makeover with Santa Barbara-inspired stucco and natural stone. A single, unified approach to the home replaced the U-shaped driveway, and a new two-car garage has space for a golf cart—“a popular mode of transportation in their upscale neighborhood,” Pinto says. The backyard is also more welcoming. “The pool was relocated to create more space for relaxing and entertaining, and the landscaping was meticulously redesigned,” says Garza of the project, completed in August 2021. “We wanted to make a family home feel like a vacation home, which reflects a casual, laid-back, California style.” Mission accomplished.