By Shani Silver

Published on August 6, 2015

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Photography by Vanessa Matsalla

before & after: the fastest remodel EVER

Vanessa Matsalla describes her design aesthetic as “eclectic meets coastal-chic”, and after one look at the before-and-after of the Los Angeles condo below, we’re sold on her style. Apart from major before-and-after wow factor, this project set records for speed, with both remodel and full design completed in just three months! 

What inspired the design in this home? Did you clients leave it entirely up to you or did they have ideas as well?

Before I start any project, I share an idea book with my client so we can start collecting photos of the overall “vision” we see for the home. My client and I determined pretty quickly that we were on the same page and wanted to create a space that felt refined with interesting and funky elements as well. I designed the bones of the structure and layout of the major core elements such as the kitchen. My client and I worked collaboratively to pull the space together and we jived really well which made for one big, beautiful project. 

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Photography by Vanessa Matsalla
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Photography by Vanessa Matsalla

What part of this project

are you most proud of?

I love that it truly reflects my style as a designer. Often when you work with clients, you are working with them to achieve their aesthetic and what makes their heart beat. I was lucky to work with my client who has a very similar aesthetic to mine, so I almost felt that I was designing my own home.




What was the most challenging

part of this project?

Definitely the kitchen! We had design challenges from the very beginning. There were load bearing walls preventing it from opening up to the living room and we had limited square footage to work with. I remember looking at the kitchen and thinking that I needed to solve this design puzzle, STAT. I worked closely with my cabinetmaker and general contractor and we were able to remove enough walls and make modifications to the cabinetry to still allow for an open floor plan…all while fitting every single appliance PLUS a new wine fridge in the mix!

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Photography by Vanessa Matsalla
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Photography by Vanessa Matsalla

I hear this project was a quick one! How did this all come together so quickly?

Yes, this entire remodel was completed in two months. My client had a tight deadline for her move-in date and we wanted to get her in there as soon as humanly possible. We had what seemed like an impossible timeline and set of tasks and I owe the expedience 100% to my contractor, Bayside Woodworks. The team drove back and forth to Los Angeles from San Diego for weeks to complete the project. They worked 18 hour days with a positive/optimistic attitude the entire time to get it done quickly. Anyone in the design field can attest this is nearly impossible…and we made magic happen!




What are your clients most in love with in this home? 
It truly reflects their style and their laid-back personalities. They’re a young, hip couple and they live in a home that reflects just that.

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Photography by Vanessa Matsalla
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Photography by Vanessa Matsalla

What design elements or tricks of the trade did you implement here that would be easy for our readers to try in their own homes? 

The inspiration for the living room built-in came from a DIY Ikea cabinet hack we found online. Although we ended up having it custom built by my cabinetmaker and added a little more style by adding the tongue and groove panels behind the television, anyone can achieve a similar structure and look with a simple Ikea hack!

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Photography by Vanessa Matsalla

Having a geek moment, but where did you get all of your drawer and cabinet pulls?
 Really love those! Me too! One of my favorite hardware resources, Rejuvenation!

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Photography by Vanessa Matsalla

We need to know more about that bathroom floor. LOVE IT.

These are cement, hand-painted tiles that were imported from Sweden. They were my client’s birthday present to herself. She is hilarious! I remember when the crate was delivered to my design studio. I immediately unpacked a few boxes and arranged the tiles to take a foot selfie with it for my instagram.

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Photography by Vanessa Matsalla

What’s the best design advice you’ve ever been given? 

Truly and simply, that “less is more”. Clients ask me all the time, “There’s this space over here that needs something,” or “this wall needs some art.” Most of the time, a space looks better without having too many accessories and distractions in every corner. 

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