Published on September 23, 2015

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Photography by Nancy Neil

Jodi G gave her clients exactly what they wanted: a coastal getaway steps from their main house, for enjoying summers with their grandchildren. In addition to being the perfect place to enjoy family time, this Santa Barbara beach cottage evokes the West Coast calm people living everywhere else dream of. Explore the home and learn more about Jodi G’s process below!

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WHAT INSPIRED THIS PROJECT?

The owners. When I was hired to design this guest house, the owners weren’t yet sure how they wanted to use the space. Merely steps from the couple’s main house and close to the neighboring children’s homes, the empty nesters thought it would be an ideal gathering space for the family. With over 4,000 square feet, I wanted the space to feel completely different from the formal main house. I wanted to give them a space where they could kick off their shoes and relax. I suggested a beach house to showcase their expansive ocean and Santa Barbara city views, and create seamless indoor-outdoor living.

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DID YOUR CLIENTS HAVE GOALS OR IDEAS IN MIND WHEN THIS BEGAN, OR DID THEY LEAVE THINGS ENTIRELY TO YOU?

My clients trusted me to create a specific style, feel and vibe, but we worked hand-in-hand to select each piece. I always work collaboratively with clients because I want to ensure each piece of furniture, each accessory will be used and enjoyed. In this case, the clients are retired and wanted to be completely involved, so this was a fun project for them too! We met on a nearly daily basis to keep them in the loop.

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before

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before

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Photography by Nancy Neil
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HOW DO YOU TYPICALLY PREPARE FOR A PROJECT LIKE THIS?

Making a connection with the client and understanding their vision is the single most important aspect of my discovery process. I like to know how they live and most importantly, how they want to feel in their new space. From here, I develop designs that bring their vision to life, and then some.In our initial meeting, I meet with the client and review everything they want. We tour the space room by room and I listen to their wants and needs. If we are going into construction, I set up meetings with the contractor and architect and develop the scope of work with the team. Once everything is signed off on by the client, I am heavily involved in supervising construction to ensure every surface, light fixture, handrail and custom cabinet is correctly installed. During this time, I’m busy ordering furniture, art and accessories to bring the space together. Once construction is complete, I move right into the installation phase.

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WHAT IS ONE DESIGN ELEMENT USED HERE THAT READERS SHOULD TRY IN THEIR OWN HOMES? 

Color and texture. Color evokes a feeling and affects our mood. My clients love the way they feel when they walk into this house, which has a lot to do with the way we layered and balanced color throughout the space. Color from a painting, rug or lamp can add visual interest to a space and tie in other colors from the room.Consistency between rooms is important. I used a variety of textures and tones, but maintained a blue palette throughout the house. While everything shouldn’t be the same color, the palettes used from room to room should flow harmoniously. re, art and accessories to bring the space together. 

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before

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WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE? 

The biggest challenge was convincing my clients to agree to the beach house vision early on. I wasn’t sure they would go for it. We explored the concept in detail and ultimately, they loved it! Then I was off and running.

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WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF DESIGN ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?

Go with your gut instinct. I have to remind myself about this all the time. When I’m shopping for clients and I keep coming back to the same piece, then I know it’s right.

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Photography by Nancy Neil
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WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF DESIGN ADVICE TO GIVE TO OTHERS?

Nail down the overall vision before you begin buying. If you’re not clear on the goal, you can get lost down completely different paths and end up with a confused design. On large projects, get the team’s buy-in early on to ensure everyone is on the same page (architect, contractor, fabric specialists, painters, etc.). And most importantly, plan, plan, plan!

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Photography by Nancy Neil
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WHAT DO YOUR CLIENTS LOVE MOST ABOUT THE FINISHED PRODUCT?

My clients love art and are art collectors. This design showcases their existing collection and seamlessly integrates new, commissioned pieces from artists across the US. I was very intentional with this aspect and it’s what my clients appreciate the most. The key was listening to what was important to the client.

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